Archive for George A. Romero

Pallor of the Waning Light

Posted in Hallowblog, Word of the Week with tags , , , , , on January 13, 2015 by bluefall8

This Word of the Week entry was originally posted Monday, October 12, 2009. In it, I waxed philosophical on Bram Stoker’s Dracula and George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.

So many of our favorite ghouls, goblins, creeps, and freaks owe part of their terrible appeal to this week’s word. Where would Count Dracula be if he hadn’t featured a ghastly visage? I dare say Romero’s foul ghouls would have enjoyed but a fraction of their eventual fame had it not been for their iconic pallor.

pallor [pa-ler]noun: paleness

Advertisements

Horrorlust Radio Episode #005

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2014 by bluefall8

I’m flying solo without a net in episode #005 of Horrorlust Radio.

In the fifth episode of Horrorlust Radio, I talk about the haunted attractions I’ve visited thus far and those I aim to tour before the 2014 Halloween season is to end; I also answer a few listener questions.

This episode of Horrorlust Radio also features the second installment of Nightmare Fuel and the debut of Dead Files. In Nightmare Fuel, I recount several ghostly nights spent in Lovett Hall, a former high school now part of The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. Dead Files is a segment in which haunted house reviews are read in dramatic fashion and up first is an account from a 2012 trip to Bloodview in Broadview Heights, Ohio.

I also provide my thoughts on the season premieres of The Walking Dead and American Horror Story. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Gerkins’ appearance on the Chop Shop!

I’m actively seeking sponsors for Horrorlust Radio, if you own or operate a haunted attraction or are otherwise involved or connected to the haunt industry and are interested in such an opportunity you can contact me at the following email address: horrorlust@bluestarproductions.net

Email any questions or comments to the address above or feel welcome to post any reactions to this podcast in the comments section below.

HORRORLUST RADIO: EPISODE 005

SHOW NOTES

Here’s a poster from Ed Wood’s Night of the Ghouls, the subject of the latest episode of the Chop Shop which featured my alter-ego Gerkins alongside Uncle Dead Guy.

A bizarre horror film with an even stranger history.

A bizarre horror film with an even stranger history.

Gerkins with Uncle Dead Guy, a match made in Hell.

Gerkins with Uncle Dead Guy, a match made in Hell.

Lovett Hall is a beautiful structure but it’s walls undoubtedly hold many secrets lost to time; by night certain areas, such as the ballroom and dormitories, are creepy indeed.

Lovett Hall originally opened in the late 1930's.

Lovett Hall originally opened in the late 1930’s.

The songs and audio clips featured in this episode are listed below in chronological order:

1. “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (Green River, 1969)

2. Day of the Dead Theatrical Trailer, 1985

3. Unknown Song, Unknown Artist

4. Captain Rhodes argues with Dr. Logan from Day of the Dead, 1985

5. “Labyrinth of Dreams” by Nox Aracana (Grimm Tales, 2008)

Horrorlust Radio is Hatched

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2014 by bluefall8

I’m pleased and excited to bring to you the inaugural edition of Horrorlust Radio! My plan is to release a new episode of this podcast each and every week throughout the Halloween season and then once-a- month beginning in December. Each episode will be featured here on Horrorlust but will soon be on other forums as well such as iTunes.

I’m actively seeking sponsors for Horrorlust Radio, if you own or operate a haunted attraction or are otherwise involved or connected to the haunt industry and are interested in such an opportunity you can contact me at the following email address: horrorlust@bluestarproductions.net

In this frist episode of Horrorlust Radio I’m joined by my brother, Jason, to discuss sensationalism and hyperbole in haunted attraction advertisements. We also debate how those same ads, in addition to various news outlets and previous visits form customers’ year-to-year expectations of haunted attractions.

This episode also features the debut of two original Horrorlust Radio segments, Lost to Time and Oddments & Urban Legends. The former pays tribute to haunted attractions that are no longer in operation, today we lay to rest the beloved Extreme Scream. In the latter segment we debate the merit of various urban legends, focusing this week on whether or not mummies were once used to fuel locomotives.

Also, we delve into the origins of modern haunted attractions and what role the Jaycees has played in popularizing this unique form of entertainment. Finally, we recount the harrowing tale of our fabled 2010 visit to Demonic Demons in Detroit.

Email any questions or comments to the address above or feel welcome to post any reactions to this podcast in the comments section below.

Welcome to Horrorlust Radio.

HORRORLUST RADIO: EPISODE 001 

SHOW NOTES

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a three-part series of children’s books, which as the title suggests, contains spooky stories derived from urban legends and folklore. Written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell, the book was originally released in 1981. The series continued appropriately on October 31, 1984 with the release of More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and concluded with the 1991 release of Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones.

Pure, unadulterated nightmare fuel.

Pure, unadulterated nightmare fuel.

The Woods of Darkness promotional video that was mentioned briefly during the podcast was shot during the course of the 2010 haunt season. The operators there began using it the following year and credited their surge in attendance that season to the video. The Woods of Darkness is located at 11665 Haggerman Road in South Rockwood, Michigan.

Here is a link to that video: Will You Survive the Horror of the Woods?

During the Oddments & Urban Legends segment I referenced a poem by Charles Webb, here’s a link to a Slate.com article where you can not only read the poem but also here the author read it himself: Mummies to Burn

Lastly, the musical pieces and audio clip featured in this episode are referenced below in the order that each played during the podcast.

“People Who Died” by Jim Carroll Band (Catholic Boy, 1980)

“Gargoyles Over Copenhagen” by The Nekromantix (Return of the Loving Dead, 2002)

Peter, from George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978)

“Life is a Grave and I Dig It!” by The Nekromantix (Life is a Grave and I Dig It!, 2007)

Haunt Updates, Haunted Dreams & Haunting Films

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2014 by bluefall8

In this entry, from Monday, September 8, 2008, I recall a vibrant dream about the Fear Finder newspaper. In the years since I have had several similar dreams in which I get a nocturnal sneak peek at the seasonal treasure; my brother believes that it may be an indication of an unhealthy obsession.

There’s also a few tidbits regarding various haunts contained in the second half of this post; originally I provided several links to the websites of a few attractions but those for the Homer Mill and The Haunting no longer function and thus the links have been removed.

The Homer Mill was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of May 16, 2010. The Haunting, which was held at the Lenawee County Fairgrounds, entertained the public for 18 Halloween seasons. The Adrian mainstay closed up shop following the 2011 haunt season; owner and magician Stuart MacDonald now resides in Raleigh, North Carolina where he works for a television station.

Terror Town is still going strong, although the link below will actually take you to an old version of the attraction’s website. I think it’s an interesting bit of Internet archeology.

Last week I had a very lucid dream in which me and Cikalo were gleefully rampaging through the streets of Lincoln Park. We drove recklessly, attempted to exploit ignorant youths by selling them over-priced stolen goods, and utterly neglected the duties of the classroom in which we were both substituting. It was great fun and some would suggest that’s it’s not too far off the antics that will some day undoubtedly be printed in my autobiography.

So after all these shenanigans we found ourselves at some type of strip mall. At this point I lost track of Jason and while I stood against a wall I noticed a man walk by me holding the 2008 edition of the Fear Finder. I suppose some may view this as an unhealthy obsession with Halloween and perhaps if I wasn’t so amused and intrigued by the nocturnal meanderings of my subconscious, I’d be concerned too. But to hell with that, check out what the latest version of the Fear Finder apparently looks like in some deep recess of my brain.

It happened very quickly, some non-descript, average Joe walks by nonchalantly and unfurls the Fear Finder. The paper resembles less its usual magazine style and appears more like an actual newspaper. I have an unhindered view of the entire front page which features a brightly colored backdrop; swirls of blue, red, green, yellow, and orange spring from the page. In the foreground and this is most peculiar, stands a leprechaun sporting a maniacal grin with his arm spread wide aloft his head. Yeah, I also got the sense that it was indeed the evil leprechaun from the series of Leprechaun movies. Fairly wacky stuff. Of course from here I embark on an epic quest to obtain a Fear Finder but just as I spot a CVS (a supplier of the FF) I’m intercepted by some former Borders co-workers. I awoke shortly after, having never obtained the prized haunt guide and reflected on what a truly bizarre dream it was.

In the waking world the 2008 Fear Finder has yet to be released but as one of the operators of the Scream Machine informed me, it should find a Taco Bell near you around the third week of September. Yeah that’s right, I sometimes call haunt operators. What? I also learned that the Screamatorium will not be operating this year and that it was indeed a one time shot in 2006.

I also called the Realm of Darkness where an up beat man ensured me that the show will indeed be under way this season. It’s all new and features over 30 rooms.

It seems every store I enter now has Halloween supplies on display; this makes my ghoulish heart smile. The Halloween USA located on the corner of Dix and Eureka in Southgate is also open and hopefully I’ll be working there part time again this season.

Zioptis has begun posting updates and recently visited the Homer Mill in Homer, Michigan. The haunt has garnered some glowing reviews and certainly sounds appealing. Apparently there is a Halloween themed bar and restaurant attached to the old mill that has a great natural ambience. This past weekend marked the haunt’s grand opening and it seems to be a frontrunner for an early season visit. Tickets are $15 during the month of September and then $20 throughout October. My fellow haunters would do well to check out the Homer Mill website here: The Homer Mill Extreme Haunted House

A few additional haunts have updated their websites, most notably TerrorTown in Maumee, Ohio and The Haunting in Adrian, Michigan. Interested parties can view those pages at the links below:

TerrorTown

The Haunting

I finally watched Romero’s Diary of the Dead and I very much enjoyed the style of his latest project. It’s an obvious departure from the style of each of his previous entries in the Dead series but the desired effect is achieved. It’s a fun, engaging story highlighted by some creative shots, inventive deaths, and a few truly grisly visuals. One unforgettable tidbit is Samuel, an elderly, deaf Amish man who doesn’t put up with zombie bullshit; he’s the kindest, cut throat bad ass ever. There are a number of striking visuals as well, my personal favorite may be the pool laden with the living dead.

Halloween Companion Number 1

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by bluefall8

Here is the seminal post that would spur Hallowblog (and then Horrorlust) into existence — Halloween Companion Number 1. As you’ll soon read, the purpose of this entry was to highlight a creature of the night as well as one horror movie. It only seemed fitting to select the zombie as the featured monster and naturally Night of the Living Dead as the film. This post was originally written on Thursday, October 19, 2006.

Oh the excitement runs rampant! Rampant I tell you!! Freakin’ rampant!!! I mentioned last week that such an entry would manifest and so it is. Let’s dig into this bag of goodies.

For the first installment of the Halloween Companion I’ve decided to give you good people something of double feature. I call it a double feature because the creature and film highlighted in this entry are pretty cozy with each other; bedfellows you might say. C’mon people, consider the source, this one should be obvious.

Our creature…the zombie. (Seriously, did you expect something else?)

A rudimentary definition of a zombie would read, “a person who is believed to have died and been brought back to life without speech or free will.” That definition is not inaccurate but it is limited. It is essential to clinically, that is to say physically die in order to become a zombie. Logic follows that in order to be a zombie you must be reanimated and to be reanimated you must first die. The definition is also correct in saying that a zombie is without speech and free will. Typically the only sounds a zombie can make are moans and other guttural noises. The bit about free will definitely applies to zombies that have been reanimated by means of voodoo or other forms of black magic. This type of zombie is essentially a slave to the one who has given it a second life and when not being ordered to perform a task it will appear catatonic. This type of zombie does not present an inherent threat to human beings; it does only the bidding of its master. Unlike its cousin, that would be zombies in the Romero vein, the voodoo zombie does not feast upon warm human flesh.

And therein lies the great division between the voodoo zombie and the more prominent flesh eating ghoul. Rules regarding a zombie’s behavior vary slightly depending on the film maker’s intentions but as a template I will focus upon the those characteristics that define the Romero zombie, because truly, 1968’s Night of the Living Dead has served as the basis of zombie behavior for a plethora of films about the undead since.

These zombies do not possess great physical strength in fact they are commonly depicted as being physically weak, easily overpowered by would be human prey. Zombies are also typically slow moving, exceptions do exist, for examples of such view the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later. Even Romero strayed from traditional zombie behavior for his fourth zombie film, Land of the Dead although that was more a decision that was necessary to the story arch (the zombies were evolving) rather than a simple twist on an old staple. As if slow, awkward movements and physical prowess comparable to Minnie Mouse weren’t enough of a hindrance the zombie is also a dim-witted creature, again exceptions to the rule exist. With these attributes in mind it brings one to wonder why the hell a zombie is such a formidable foe. Slow, weak, and dumb; indeed it sounds more of an apt description of the kid picked last in gym than that of a vicious, undead murderer. But my friends, to recognize the zombie’s weaknesses and ignore it’s strengths would be foolish beyond a ballot cast in favor of the GOP, okay maybe not that foolish, but it would lead one down a terribly reckless path. Yes, we are faster, stronger, and most importantly, smarter than our hunters and we can wield those advantages against them but not without understanding their strengths and motivations.

The zombie possesses an edge in two crucial areas: strength in numbers and the ability to absorb massive amounts of physical damage. Zombies tend to gather in dense packs, presumably in areas where food (humans) is or was prevalent. They rarely acknowledge each other; doing so only when quarreling over a piece of a victim (a tasty intestine will always trigger a zombie throw down). Zombies also seem to possess some awareness of human presence even when said humans are out of sight, they will also become more active when warm flesh graces their sight. It is advisable that any number of humans avoid large groups of the undead lest you risk infection, which is a topic I’ll come to later. As prior mentioned zombies can sustain large amounts of physical damage without being killed…again. A zombie could have a limb torn off, an eye gouged out, or a spinal column severed, none of these methods will stop the zombie on it’s pursuit for human flesh. To effectively combat the undead one must, to quote many a zombie flick protagonist, “You gotta shoot’em in the head”. Decapitation has also proven to be an effective method in most cases; essentially the rule stands that the brain must be destroyed in order to put down a ghoul.

Thus far we’ve established what a zombie is, its physical traits, its insatiable appetite for the living, and how they are too be guarded against. But why do zombies rise in the first place and why the hell do they want to eat people? Would they devour a friend or former lover from their living life? You bet your ass they would. Zombies are creatures of pure instinct and possess little to no memory of their prior life, they act only on the impulse to feed and possibly a primal desire to multiply, for that is exactly what occurs when a zombie has its prey. A zombie bite is a death sentence, well an undead death sentence if you will. The rule follows; if you are bitten by a zombie you will subsequently join the ranks of the undead. The time table of such a transformation depends on the extent of the injuries. Some have turned from human to zombie in mere minutes while others succumb to the infection in a matter of days. Amputation of the infected area has proven some what effective in suppressing zombie symptoms. These amputees may have been spared for the time being but the trauma of the event combined with whatever bit of infection may have survived the amputations can cause fevers and hallucinations which leads to other destructive behaviors.

So why oh why do zombies rise from the dead and kill the living? Well nobody knows for sure. Many reasons have been presented in movies dealing with these creatures, the most prominent of which are: radiation from outer space, a type of virus usually attributed to some government experiment gone wrong, a plague (presumably from Hell), a judgment from God, or as Peter from DOTD so famously said, “When there is no more room in Hell the dead will walk the Earth.” It is standardly accepted that whatever the cause zombies can infect the living by biting them, suggesting that the virus is transmitted through saliva, this theory has been broadened to other bodily fluids as well, most namely blood.

Now that I’ve made you few loyal bastards suffer through this long-winded lesson about my precious undead friends I’ll conclude by saying that any inquiries regarding the undead can promptly be sent to yours truly. And if zombies do ever rise and you wish to save your mortal ass from becoming a mindless, flesh eating ghoul you’d better seek me out because damn it my vast expanse of zombie knowledge will save your life.

At the top of this I stated that this was a double feature so without further verbal defecation I present the featured film…

Night of the Living Dead. Yes, I know you probably expected it to be Dawn as it is my favorite movie but I certainly have my reasons for choosing the gem that is Romero’s first endeavor into the zombie mythology. Night of the Living Dead has become the rule that all exceptions of the genre are born. There were of course films prior to Night that dealt with zombies but none so memorable, potent, or with such lasting impact. That it is why it became the staple. That is why it is the icon. But NOTLD is not just a classic horror film meant to elicit screams and gasps from viewers; it is also a satire, a stirring commentary about turbulent 1960’s America; a microscope analyzing race relations and social classes of its day. NOTLD is both a horror fans wet dream and a landmark artistic achievement. It is because of the latter that NOTLD remains ingrained in our collective conscious nearly 40 years after Johnny creepily quipped, “They’re coming to get you Barbara.”