If you have followed my site since it's earliest inception, you will notice the reoccurring topics of "horror" and "comics." These interests are my bread and butter in the entertainment industry. I am allured by sequential storytelling and if elements of the macabre are added to a story, I am nearly a fan for life. So when I heard that the Scottish Rite Center in Sacramento was hosting a two day horror convention called "Days of Terror" followed by a single day comic convention known as "Sac-Con," I did what any normal fanatic would do. I took the days off from work.

Here is an account of the two events, back to back: the guests, the artists, and the awesome finds.

Days of Terror

Miss Misery's Days of Terror to be specific. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from this show. In the past Sacramento has hosted the "Sac Sci-Fi Horror Show" and it appears Miss Misery's Days of Terror has taken it's place. Of course there is no problem with that as long as the show offers some amazing guests and key vendors. Certainly the website offered a great line-up of c-list celebrities, but unfortunately there was no big name guests to really draw in the crowds.

Upon entering the building and gazing at the convention floor, most guests could tell things were looking like a ghost town. And not in the way that would cater to most horror enthusiasts. There was simply no one there. The main showroom for vendors featured too many empty tables, many of which were pulled back from the main stage. If I wasn't granted a press pass (which I am very grateful for), I would have felt very cheated for the entrance fee of $20. The average attendee could see what Days of Terror had to offer within 30 minutes.

However Days of Terror offered it's own share of excitement and discoveries. While walking around the floor I came across some extraordinary comic talent and shared a good amount of face time with the lot: Tone Rodriguez, Paul Allen, Gary "Gaz" Gretsky, and Jason Dube. The ever vocal Mel Smith chatted with me about the latest on Dead Ahead 2, his new Creepy KOFY Movie Time comic, and asked me about my plans on a Big Trouble in Little China comic (all currently under wraps). I love Mel. He's one of the most down to earth guys in the comic industry and always speaks from the heart. If you ever get the chance to meet him, do yourself the favor and strike up a conversation.

While running around the vendor room, my cohort Justin Hopper and I found a vendor with an amazing selection of graphic novels for unbelievable prices. All of his paperbacks were $5 and his hardcovers were $10. I wish I brought more cash to throw down but luckily he was there the next day at Sac-Con (let's not get ahead of ourselves). Anyway, I walked away with four League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books, which completes my collection--now I can finally finish up the series before Alan Moore squirts out another. We also found some great graphic t-shirts from the guys over at (their selection is vast and the price is cheap--I implore you to check them out). I found the perfect Return of the Living Dead shirt to wear around this Halloween. I was also pleased to meet one of this year's Face Off contestants Nicole Chilleli who *SPOILER ALERT* recently returned after being eliminated earlier this season. She spoke of working at Safeway in the past but due to her success on Face Off she is currently working full-time in special makeup FX. Good for her!

The remainder of Days of Terror felt insignificant. I wish there was more that stood out, more of a wow factor--God, I sound like one of those crackhead judges on American Idol. But seriously, this Horror show had some good potential. I feel like the show is off to a good start if the show runners decide to return next year. I have three offerings for any future shows: 1.) Add at least two big name guests to the roster (why was Jeffrey Combs at Sac-Con but not Days of Terror?), 2.) Add some panels (were there any this year?), 3.) Get some vendors! If there's empty space, please offer it for a low dollar amount to any creative talent willing to sign aboard last minute (the amount of empty space in the vendor room was pathetic to say the least). Also, did Rebekah McKendry attend the event? I looked high and I looked low but Alas! no Miss McKendry was found.


As weird as Days of Terror turned out, Sac-Con turned out even weirder. But in the best possible way.

According to the Sac-Con home page there were over 1900 attendees at this September's event. And holy crap did it feel like it. I've never in my life walked into a Sac-Con feeling like I was transported to WonderCon. Man oh man, did it feel good! Energy was flowing from the guests, from the vendors, and especially from the attendees. People were not just there, people were happy to be there.

My first surprise of the day was to find the extremely talented independent artist Z. E Pangborn. While on the ride to Sac-Con, I related to my friend Thomas how gorgeous this artist's work was and how happy my girlfriend was with his creations. So happy that she desires to decorate an entire room with his art. How surprised I was to see his work once more at this year's Sac-Con. It turns out that Pangborn is a local to Northern California. If you take a look at how intricate his penciling is you'll immediately know how worthy he is of the comic book medium. If any editors of Heavy Metal are reading this, scout this man's talent now!


The vendor floor at this quarter's Sac-Con was filled with surprises. Comic books, video games, toys--pick your poison, because everything was there. It seriously felt like a mini-ComicCon. I staggered around through the crowds big-eyed wondering where to go first. As luck would have it, I found an amazing Creature from the Black Lagoon toy I had never imagined finding there and then. Maybe at Days of Terror, but not so much Sac-Con. This Creature toy stands more than 12" tall and is a perfect addition to my collection. The most special part about it is that I've seen it being auctioned on ebay before but never realized the superior, gargantuan size. The asking price for this beast was $25. My offer of $20 was gladly accepted.


One of the many talents featured at this Sac-Con was Mick Gray (inker on Promethea and the current Batman and Robin) whom I tend to find in attendance at most conventions in California. Slowly but surely Mick has been kind enough to sign most of my Promethea issues. I promised his wife I would help spread the word about their latest endeavor--to build an eco-friendly solar powered roof. Donations start at $5 and work their way up to $200. Of course there are some pretty sweet rewards if you choose to donate. Check it out here.


While walking around the convention floor I saw many cosplayers dressed as Adventure Time characters who were definitely excited to meet voice actress Hynden Walch (Princess Bubblegum in Adventuretime and Starfire in New Teen Titans). I also overheard one attendee just ecstatic to have met actor Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Frighteners, Star Trek Enterprise). The attendee couldn't stop glowing over his signed Re-Animator poster. I went back into the depths of the vendor room and came out with two more affordable finds. I've longed to read The Upturned Stone by Scott Hampton and bargained the hardcover copy for $5. I also found a copy of Paul Chadwick's Concrete for $4 that I haven't read just yet. Both are well worth the price paid.

All in all, this has been the best Sac-Con I've ever attended. Although Days of Terror was a bit of a bust, the amount of face time with the guests and artists, was well worth making an appearance. To see Sac-Con grow in attendance like this only gives me hope that one day Days of Terror will be a thriving attraction for horror fans in the Northern California area. And hopefully by then, Sac-Con will have grown to a much more appropriate size. You never know. There's no word of WonderCon returning to San Francisco. Someone has to fill it's shoes. 

If there is one maniacally demented cartoon on today's television screens it is certainly Adult Swim's Superjail! Known for its psychedelic battle royale animation sequences (imagine a Hieronymus Bosch painting come alive), applied with some of the most zaniest and disturbing characters in existence, crank that up to eleven and you get Superjail! Fans who have been waiting for Season 3 to premiere will be overjoyed to hear that they are in store for ten brand new episodes, the first airing September 30th at 12:15am on Adult Swim.

Here is the Press Release: The warden is back and the death toll at Superjail continues to rise at an impressive rate! Complete with fist fights galore, baffling love triangles, and psychedlic animation that will melt your face off, season three of Superjail! premieres on September 30th at 12:15am (ET/PT) on Adult Swim.

Time to put on a Cheeseburger album and count this sucker off!

Coming this Saturday August 4th from 12pm-3pm at Heroes and Villains Comics in Pleasanton, CA, late night TV personalities Balrok del Cavo and No Name will attend a premier release of the first ever Creepy KOFY Movie Time comic book. Beloved by many Bay Area horror buffs, the duo screens horror films on Saturday nights on KOFY (TV 20, Cable 13) and provides hilarious, insightful, and some times asinine commentary, much in the vein of Elvira's Movie Macabre and Mystery Science Theater 3000. What's the difference? CKMT features plenty of fresh talent from the bay: comedians, artists, strippers, musicians, scientists, you name it. This makes CKMT one of the most culturally significant variety shows in the area. Suck on that, America's Got Talent.

Appearing alongside the celebrated hosts will be the comic creators Manuel MartinezJohn HagemanLazy BonesSLOBStephon TaylorMel Smith and more show personalities like Webberly Rattenfink. Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to meet this bunch of creative creatures. And with a cover illustration by The Boys' artist Darick Robertson, the comic appears to be an impressive creation all on it's own. For more information on the signing, look down below! For more info on CKMTclick here!

The name "Alamo Drafthouse" holds a special place in the hearts of many movie goers and film enthusiasts. Unfortunately this paramount theater company, whose spectacular offerings in service, swag, and cinema, are limited to their home state of Texas. Only four other states in the country offer an Alamo Drafthouse theater. That is, until next year.

Announced last week, CEO and Founder Tim League confirmed intentions of opening an Alamo Drafthouse in the New Mission theater in San Francisco, CA late next year.

"With the possible exception of Austin, San Francisco is my favorite city in the world. My parents met there, I was born in Berkeley, and my wife was working in the city before I begged her to come help me start my first theater venture in Bakersfield, CA," said Alamo CEO and Founder Tim League. "There is no accident that the first theater outside of Austin that my wife and I pursued is in San Francisco."

Earning the title of "Best Theater Ever" from Time and called "the coolest theater in the world" by Wired, San Franciscans and bay area residents are a lucky few to receive such an honor. 

Congratulations San Francisco, you just leveled up!

In my own personal interest, with an Alamo Drafthouse nearby to my current residence, this should make the procurement of Mondo posters that much easier. For those that don't know, Mondo posters are the artistic and creative brethren to Alamo Drafthouse theaters. Just check out some of their spectacular creations below: 



As I write this, the festivities of Comic-Con 2012 are coming to a close. I'm sure there are many unfortunate souls who could not attend this comic book/entertainment mecca in San Diego (count me in the majority) and most have looked forward to every minutia of news coverage--I would love to see the last five day site-traffic record for Bleeding Cool, Comic Book Resources, IGN, Comics Alliance, and Coming Soon right about now ( I bet I visited each more than 50 times a day).  Now that the road of reportage seems to have come to a close, I would like to recap some of the most significant news I've read in the last several days and give my thoughts on the matter. (*SPOILERS* Some spoilers from the film Prometheus will be found below. This is your first warning. *NOTE* This is a list based on MY interests and opinions. If you saw something at SDCC that made your eyeballs melt out of their sockets, please comment down below.)

1.) Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III Bring New Sandman

What do you get when you mix two of comics most genius and inventive creators to ever touch the medium? Hopefully the answer is this next installment (or possible prequel) to the DC Sandman comics. In my opinion, anything JH Williams III touches is beautifully stylized. I would personally like to challenge the man to draw a crappy picture of something. Maybe an onion...or a dead seagull...or how about George W. Bush taking a shit in a port-a-potty... Anyway, my point is he can't do a bad job and I suspect this new project will be a masterpiece. 
2.) Creepy Movie Announced, Christopher Columbus Directs

Horror anthology films have a manner of failing miserably at the box-office: CreepshowTales from the DarksideTrick R' Treat, and Grind House. Although each one holds a special place in my heart, for some stupid reason many people refuse to see them. Good thing director Christopher Columbus doesn't give a crap about the statistics and has decided to move ahead with turning the classic horror comics into a 4-part anthology film. Now, the question we must all ask, which stories should they adapt for the screen?

3.) Trailer for Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful

It's been three years since Raimi's 2009 film Drag Me to Hell and that's too damn long a absence. Thankfully we have this magnificent little trailer for Oz the Great and Powerful to fill the void Raimi's set upon us. My current fear for Oz is how much influence Disney has on the production of the film. I can already tell from the trailer alone that they're catering to a 3D (yaaaaaaaawwwwnn) audience and are making the film similar to Tim Burton's love-it-or-hate-it version of Alice in Wonderland. Only time will tell.

4.) Quentin Tarantino Makes Django Unchained Comic Mini-Series

Tarantino announced that a 5-issue comic book mini-series of Django Unchained would premiere in time for his movie, set to release on Christmas Day. On one part, I'm completely ecstatic to see one of Tarantino's creations put in the comic medium. My only disappointment comes from the decision for DC Comics to publish the mini-series. Which only means you can bet your sweet, little ass this comic will be loaded with more advertisements than you could possibly imagine.


One of the biggest Comic-Con mysteries to date is finally answered. The rumor of a new American Godzilla movie has finally been confirmed and after years of waiting for some news we can definitely confirm Monsters director Gareth Edwards is leading this production with Legendary Pictures. My only wish is for the trailer to go public and appear sometime this week, or preferably alongside this week's The Dark Knight Rises premier.

6.) Prometheus Toys ***SPOILERS***

NECA toys unveiled a second wave of Prometheus toys to be released some time within the year. I personally LoVeD the film and would be more than happier to own one of the pre-xenomorphs shown down below. The first series is slated for a September release, with the second to follow in December.


7.) Comic Book Men Season 2

Maybe this wasn't announced at this year's Comic-Con but it was certainly confirmed; a second season of AMC's Comic Book Men will appear in October alongside The Walking Dead. And thank goodness! For all the bad publicity this show got thanks to Comics Alliance, I believe this show continues to spark interest in the comic and collector culture. This is just the kind of crazy antic show that comics need to survive in this unemployed-eat-unemployed world. For all the naysayers who believe the show paints a bad picture of comic book shops, how about redirecting some of that rage on the 20 plus seasons of Simpsons who features one of the most damning stereotypes--the Comic Book Guy.

8.) Eric Powell Kickstarts The Goon Film

After finally succumbing to the demand of his fans, The Goon creator Eric Powell announced he will create a Kickstarter page to help finance The Goon film. What sounds like a dubious battle could certainly be the ultimate way to finalize the film. Email to receive a notification when The Goon kickstarter goes live.

9.) Hellboy 3 on the way?

From what I understand, Ron Perlman wants to do it and Guillermo Del Toro wants to do it. But considering Guillermo Del Toro has umpteen projects in the works, the chances of seeing Hellboy 3 a reality sometime soon is too far away. From the way Perlman talks about the story for the third movie it will definitely be worth the wait.

10.) Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

In all honesty, I'm never balls-to-the-wall crazy for superhero movies. Captain America--good movie. Thor--too slow for my liking. The Avengers--fun to watch but could use some editing. The Amazing Spiderman--didn't I see this movie already? One of the recent movie announcements Marvel added to their roster is Guardians of the Galaxy. What exactly do I know about the film? Well, there's Rocket Raccoon and Groot, and some characters you see below. Yup, that's all I really know. From the looks of the concept art alone, this film could mark a resurgence in sci-fi adventure films, which is just what I'm hoping for. Maybe, just maybe, Marvel will trim down on the expected quota of superhero tropes but hopefully this film dives into the territory John Carter and Prometheus began to explore.

This picture of Ron Perlman dressed as the big red guy and Zachary, a Make-A-Wish child, is floating all over the internet by now. Who cares if you've seen it on other sites and it's not that news worthy at the moment--I have to give compliments to Perlman for making this child's wish come true. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

If you are a comic book reader you know that a huge portion of the stories out there revolve around Superheroes. Unfortunately a lot of the more popular stories out there in comic books just aren’t that great.  It feel like the writers and artists in the larger publishers out there just stopped caring about the stories and have focused on shock factor through killing primary characters or getting as many alternate versions of the same titles out there as they can. I have felt this frustrations lately with Marvel and their multiple publications of the X-Men (once a favorite, now hardly a shadow of its former greatness), Avengers, and the seventy-five teams that Spider-Man is now a part of. The characters are still the beloved ones I grew up with in the 90’s and early 2000’s, but recently I have been extremely dissatisfied with their treatment of the characters, stories, and company overall. DC had the right idea in realigning the universe, unfortunately I never really got into DC, so to me that huge event didn’t really concern me too much (however I’m thinking of diving in…Batwoman here I come!) So I have been desperately looking for a superhero story that satisfies my hunger for great characters, unforgettable story lines, and villains that you can understand, but still hate. I never thought that my desires would be met by an Anime that pokes fun at the superhero genre while paying homage to it at the same time. If you haven’t taken the time to catch Tiger & Bunny and are a superhero fan like I am…SHAME ON YOU! Let me introduce you to one of the best animes AND best superhero stories I have come across since Marvel introduced “The Age of Apocalypse”.

The year is “NC 1978” (NC = New Calendar) in Sternbild City (a re-imagined version of New York). The city is a hyper technological megalopolis that thrives on business, money and power. However crime in Sternbild is a huge problem; terrorists, robbers, and psychopaths are using that technology to their advantage taking what they can from the innocent citizens. Luckily several years prior to the main story, groups of super powered people began manifesting a wide array of powers, they were named NEXT. Many of these people used their powers to help protect the city and help the people. As the popularity of superheroes soared, companies decided to jump on the band wagon and sponsor the heroes that were fighting for justice, having the hero sport the company’s name on their costume (some include Bandai and Pepsi). Before too long, a TV company also entered the picture and created a TV reality show called, “Hero TV” that follows the heroes as they fight to stop the criminals that plague the city. Depending on how many people each hero saved, if they caught the criminals, the style in which they use their powers and other factors, they are awarded points. Unfortunately, “Hero TV” cares more about the ratings than actual human lives. At the end of each season they are ranked, and the hero with the most points is crowned the “King of Heroes”. However, just like any good super hero drama, some NEXT believe that they are the next step in human evolution and are fighting to destroy “normal” humans. This is the essence of “Tiger & Bunny”. 

Just like any superhero drama it is the heroes themselves that drive the story. We relate to heroes like the X-Men, Batman, and Spider-Man because under their spandex costumes they are real people with real problems that face real losses after they fight Magneto or the Joker. The characters of Tiger & Bunny are no different. Like many superheroes the heroes in T&B choose to keep their identities a secret for their and their family’s safety. The “Hero TV’ line-up consists of:

"Wild Tiger"
Kotetsu Kaburagi/Wild Tiger – He is the most veteran hero of the group, and the main character of the series. He is the oldest and is constantly referred to as “Old Man” or “Grandpa” by the younger heroes. He has a deep seeded feeling of justice and, against the TV Company’s desires, prioritizes human lives over ratings. After his sponsor goes out of business, he is forced to join another company willing to sponsor him…but only if he teams up with Barnaby Brooks, Jr. (Bunny). Kotetsu is able to increase his physical attributes hundredfold, known as the “hundred Power”.

Barnaby Brooks, Jr./Bunny – He is the newest addition to “Hero TV” and is a break out success after he singlehandedly apprehends some criminals in the first episode. He is the only hero who chooses to reveal his real identity. Barnaby, much like the TV Company, only cares about earning points and getting good ratings. He is forced to partner up with Kotetsu, and because of their opposing views of being a hero they are constantly arguing. However there are other reasons he decided to become a hero, and although he doesn’t let it show, he is suffering and searching for answers about his past. He shares the same powers as Kotetsu, hence their partnering up.

"Blue Rose"
Karina Lyle/Blue Rose – A teenaged piano prodigy who only agreed to become a hero so she could be a pop-music idol. She is the second most popular of the heroes, and is not afraid to remind everyone else about that fact. Although she has a cold exterior she is actually a very fragile and internally conflicted girl. She has the power to produce ice which she uses to freeze villains and propel her by making an ice slide (Much like Ice-Man from the X-Men).

Keith Goodman/Sky High – He is the current “King of Heroes”. He is highly enthusiastic, optimistic, and extremely dramatic. He can fly with the use of a rocket pack and is able to control the wind.

Nathan Seymour/Fire Emblem – A flamboyantly gay hero who uses a highly maneuverable race car to get around. He is highly skilled at controlling his powers, able to produce fire and manipulate it into shapes and forms that can chase after the criminal he is pursuing. He is constantly hitting on the male characters in the show and referring to himself as “one of the girls”. 

"Dragon Kid"
Huang Pao-Lin/Dragon Kid – She is a young tomboy who lives on her own in Sternbild. She is equipped with a long staff and is proficient in Kung Fu. Her powers enable her to generate strong electricity through her body.

Antonio Lopez/Rock Bison – He is Kotetsu’s best friend and constant companion. His powers render him invulnerable to any harm while activated.

Ivan Karelin/Origami Cyclone – He is constantly ranking last in the competition as his sole desire is to be featured in shots and pictures with his many advertisements on his costume to please the companies sponsoring him. Aside from being proficient in ninjitsu, he is able to shape shift into anyone and several inanimate objects.

"Origami Cyclone"
As a whole several of the powers that the characters possess are re-hashes of heroes we have seen before – Strong-Guy, Mystique, Human Torch, Superman – but it is how the characters interact with each other in the field, with their families, and in hilarious scenes in the “Hero Gym” that make them stand apart. What I love about them is their powers are just another portion to the person underneath. Each of the heroes have demons that they are fighting with through the series. It isn’t just the heroes that make the series great either. The series heavily relies on the supporting cast of characters to bring depth that otherwise couldn’t have happened. Despite being an animation I felt like the characters were real enough that I connected with all of them for different reasons, even the villains. This feat is hard to accomplish in 30 minute episodes, but they pull it off.

Tiger & Bunny is a series that melds the best things about the superhero genre that I have loved since I was a kid. There isn’t a character that I didn’t like in the story. Don’t get me wrong I definitely have my favorites (Tiger and Origami Cyclone) but I like some of these characters more than the heroes I grew up with. The series is only 25 episodes, and it uses each of those episodes to push the story forward and into places you never thought it would go. The scripting by Masafumi Nishida, and directing by Keiichi Sato are what made this series the shining gem that it is.  Each episode is filled with revelations and excitement that I haven’t felt from a super hero comic series in quite some time. Unfortunately the series ends on somewhat of cliffhanger. Luckily though, two films are being produced, the first being released in September 2012. There is also a second season that is going to be produced, but no word on when.

"Fire Emblem"

For anyone who is frustrated with the modern day superhero and the stories that are being pumped out of the big names in the industry, this is something you need to check out. Tiger & Bunny takes a leap of faith into a market that is so saturated with superheroes and their related media that it is so easy to conform to the mold that already exists. This series is so drastically different in key points, but similar enough to make it feel comfortable that I found it easy to become quickly obsessed with it. Also much like other superhero stories, it deals with hard topics like abandonment, suicide, love, sexual orientation, murder, and domestic violence with grace and integrity. The excellent blend of super powers, drama, comedy, action, and flawless animation make this series easily one of, if not the best superhero story out there right now. It is available on HuluViz Media, and Anime News Network for viewing.  It is also going to be available on DVD and Blu-Ray in North America, but there is no release date as of this article. I definitely recommend making this one of your must see titles!  Once you start, you won’t stop, and you will beg for more Tiger & Bunny!


Terrible news folks. The visual artist Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, aka Gir, passed away today. Honestly, I was unfamiliar with Moebius until a year and a half ago because I couldn't readily find anything he created to read. As luck would have it, my friend Larry let me borrow a copy of The Airtight Garage and as they say, the rest is history. Sadly, with Moebius' passing, it can officially be referred to as a history. 

For those unfamiliar with Moebius, he was a French comic book artist most well known for his detailed illustrations of exotic and fantastic landscapes. His most well known graphic works were Blueberry, Arzach, The Airtight Garage, The Incal, among many, many others. He also worked as a concept artist for Hollywood cinema for such popular films such as Alien, Tron, The Fifth Element, Willowand The Abyss.

Many current comic book artists recognize Moebius as inspiration for their sense of style and design. These artists include Geoff Darrow, Brandon Graham, James Stokoe, Nate Simpson, and even the legendary film maker Hayao Miyazaki admits his admiration. The fond relationship between Miyazaki and Moebius actually led to a wonderful museum collaboration between the two greats in France titled the Miyazaki-Moebius Exhibition. You can hear Miyazaki discuss Moebius in this video: 

Here is a collected assortment of some, and definitely not all, of Moebius' work:

RIP Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, aka Gir
May 8th 1938 - March 10th 2012

Once again the quarterly San Jose Super Toy, Comic, & Collectible Show is happening for California bay area residents this Saturday. This smorgasbord of a collectible show is likely to fill the needs of anyone suffering from WonderCon deprivation. Special guests include Billy Dee Williams (Empire Strikes Back, Undercover Brother, Batman) ad Yvonne Craig (Batman; the TV series, Mars Needs Women). Tune in to Time Tunnel Toys website for more information.

More 'Pete and Pete' Reunion Clips by Ryan King

"Hey Sandy" performed by the Blowholes.

A couple months ago I posted a video of "The Adventures of Pete and Pete" cast reunion in LA. Unexpected, yet much deserved, the promoters of the show in LA decided to band together once more and send the cast and creators to the East coast last weekend. Luckily a few fans in the NY audience were filming and we poor uninformed saps lucked out again on not missing these rare, sold out shows. Watch the clips and rock out to the Blowholes covering those amazing Polaris songs!

"Waiting for October" performed by the Blowholes.

"Water Please" performed by the Blowholes.

"Summerbaby" performed by the Blowholes.

Heavyweights: Bait or First Class Zombie Killers by Justin Hopper

Looks like you got some breakfast on your shirt, Nick.
Oh, wait. You mean that's not from a jelly doughnut?

Okay, let me set the scene for you. It has become an every week event where I invite friends over to my place to hang out, have a few drinks, and watch some movies (usually horror, but not always). Recently I had one such a night. Drinks were passed out and we had broken off into a couple of smaller groups discussing different things. I was discussing our recent discovery, the anime “High School of the Dead”.  Between the three of us we were talking about our favorite parts and characters of the story. I was particularly drawn to Kohta Hirano, the chubby “Otaku” with a passion for firearms and survivalist training.  I explained that it was awesome to finally have a character that seemed real. He’s a bigger guy, pretty nerdy, and has a crush on the school genius finding it hard to express himself around her. Despite all of this he finds it in himself to protect his friends and other characters that need his help. Upon expressing this to my friends (let’s call them Dale and Glenn), I said, “It’s just nice seeing a character that is a bigger guy that…” 

“Doesn’t get tripped and used as bait?” Dale interrupts.  

I stopped, a little confused at his tone, and continued, “Sure.  Anyway, this big guy,” I point to myself, “is going to survive the zombie apocalypse.”

There is a pause and Dale says, “Riiiiiiight…we’ll see about that.” 

I look over at Glenn sitting next to me (he’s about my size); we exchange irritated glances, and change the subject. Mind you I’m not morbidly obese or anything, but I’m a big guy. This kind of writing off of anyone who has more than 2% body fat irritates the hell out of me. However, it got me thinking; how would I fare in the Zombie Apocalypse? It’s become a hot question as of late thanks to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) putting together a “Zombie Apocalypse Readiness Plan” and our good friend Harold Camping (he predicted the rapture last year…of course we had a Zombie Apocalypse Party to prepare). I decided to look at a few Zombie films and decide how big guys like Glenn and I will fare in the end of times. 

I discussed this premise with a few people throughout the week and the first thing almost everyone said was, “Rule #1 Cardio”. Okay, I get it.  Traditionally big guys don’t move very fast. I know I’m not the fastest bloke out there – but I can run if I need to (I needed to in High School…Damned football players). This Rule comes from "Zombieland." It is an awesome film with a lot of humor, great characters, and Bill Murray. It is actually one of my favorite zombie flicks just from the sheer action and comedy in it. However – this film really doesn’t make my point. Actually it undercuts everything that I wanted to prove about myself and others out there like me. However it is pretty funny to watch that fat guy run and topple to the ground…trust me, I’m not that fat…or that stupid either. However I got to thinking, most zombies (at least traditionally) aren’t super fast running monsters that put Olympic runners to shame. Most are the dead…well, the undead. They are slow moving corpses that by some weird magic, or virus, or bacteria, or fairy have decided to wake up and eat the living. So…let’s look at them.

Kohta Hirano from High School of the Dead
Let’s go where the whole conversation began, “High School of the Dead." As I mentioned above, Kohta Hirano is a chubby geek with a passion for guns.  His Dad passed this passion on to him, and even sent him to America to learn how to shoot. He’s still socially awkward, but he is a true friend with a hawk eye that can kill anything he sets his sniper rifle’s sight on. He is usually removed from the action, however, perched on a building or car sniping zombies, clearing the way for other people to make it to safety. Despite this, he does have the knowledge to survive. He shows this in the beginning by taking a nail gun, seeing its flaws as a weapon, and using scotch tape and scraps of wood from the wood shop to produce a make-shift nail gun-assault rifle. He shows some of his other personal weaknesses as the series continues, but they are slight compared to his overall desire to survive and help his friends as well. He’s a big guy that is smart enough and capable enough to survive for sure!

Frank (Brendan Gleeson) from 28 Days Later
Alright…back to the running zombies… "28 Days Later."  Easily one of the best modern zombie flicks out there. I initially discarded this film as one that couldn’t work in my favor due to the swift “Infected”. We have Cilian Murphy (OMG is he skinny) and a cast of soldiers, with a badass black woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone, and a young girl…and the young girl’s father. It is the father, Frank (portrayed by Brendan Gleeson) that made the light go on. He is by no means a small guy. This dude probably has rugby or wrestling in his past with a love of food.  He dons the SWAT gear and knocks the holy snot out of the “Infected” when the heroes of the film reach his apartment. He’s obviously got the knowledge and wisdom to survive and protect his daughter, having been able to keep them alive in their apartment building for as long as he did. It is very unfortunate that this awesome example meets his end by looking up at a crow and getting infected blood in his eye. Despite this though, he is a big guy and a survivor with the determination to keep his daughter alive.

Pillsbury (Pedro Miguel Arce) in Land of the Dead
It would be sacrilege not to bring up a Romero movie in my defense. However while I was compiling the ideas for this rant, I had so few memories of any characters in his films that were plus size. Of course I had forgotten about “Land of the Dead”. If you remember, there was a Zombie Death squad of sorts. They showed up more toward the end of the film, and one of the members was Pillsbury (portrayed by Pedro Miguel Arce). He isn’t one of the “big” characters (yes, yes, very punny) in the film, but he is definitely one of the best. He has few lines, but his presence is so obvious (partially because of his size) that you would think him a sitting duck to the starving undead. Yet he has a very strong stature, very durable military grade armor, and a very big gun to help him. His primary directive was to help the main character, Riley (Simon Baker), bring the tank named “Dead Reckoning” back before it could be used to attack the city and its dictator of a leader Kaufman (Dennis Hopper).  However the plan was to kill Riley upon getting the tank back, but the unit sided with Riley in the end, including Pillsbury who knocked out and left behind the one hold out loyal to Kaufman. Pillsbury is larger than life, probably pushing Sumo status in his size. He’s smart enough to side with the group that is going to keep him alive and ditch those who are going to be a danger to him and the people he is protecting. Even though his character wasn’t essential to the story like Frank or Kohta were, he still survived the Zombie Apocalypse utilizing his weaponry, size, and comrades he made along the way. Seriously, if this guy can survive, I can too!

Marion (Ross "Mungo" McKay) in The Undead
Now, there is a little known Zombie film that is near and dear to my heart entitled, “The Undead”.  It is a product of those crazy folks from down under, the Australians. It is a quirky horror/comedy that mixes so many genres it really shouldn’t work; oh but it does! One of the main characters is Marion (portrayed by Ross “Mungo” McKay), the local gun fanatic and former alien abductee. Although he may not be the best example for a survivor, he does have his good points. In his house he has a huge cache of guns, many illegal, including pistols, shotguns, assault rifles and so on. When the gore hits the fan, the survivors find themselves in his home waiting for the event to ride itself out, however when they discover that he has plenty of ammo and weaponry but forgot to stock the cabinets and fallout shelter with food, they have to immediately change plans. Sure, the guy is weird, crazy, and not all that bright, but really, he had half of what was needed to keep everyone alive…weapons. Granted, not having food in the shelter was stupid. I do give the guy credit for wanting to blow the undead into the stone-age. Despite his down falls, Marion was prepared for battle where most of the thinner more athletic characters were being eaten by the undead. Unfortunately his ignorance of what is needed to sustain life makes me shake my head, but he survives the outbreak…well, the first outbreak.  Note to self…don’t forget food and water.

Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince) in The Walking Dead
This brings me to my most controversial heavyweight survivor. Anyone who has been watching “The Walking Dead” is familiar with the character driven story that has Zombies in it. This season we were introduced to Hershel’s farm, and Otis (portrayed by Pruitt Taylor Vince). Otis is the good ol’ country boy who was sharing Hershel’s farm, helping provide food and security to the people living there.  During a  chance hunt he accidentally shoots Carl (Chandler Riggs) while hunting a deer. He brings the boy back to the farm where he is cared for. However more supplies are needed for Carl’s survival and Otis volunteers to go to the local High School with Shane (Jon Bernthal). Unfortunately both he and Shane are injured, and Shane shoots Otis as they are trying to flee. Otis is eaten alive so Shane can escape. Otis was quickly a favorite character of mine. He provided for those around him, helped out where he could, and volunteered to help save a boy he could have easily just let die. He knew it was more than likely going to get him killed if he went, but if it meant saving a young boy it was worth it to him. He was a good man, but he was also lethal. Anyone who can shoot a gun like he could, and wrangle “walkers” (it was mentioned recently that he helped rustle the “Walkers” into the barn before his death) was a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately he didn’t see the insanity and selfishness that had started to overtake Shane; however most of the people in the main group hadn’t seen it yet either. Had Otis not come into contact with Shane, he most likely would have lived for quite some time. Notice though, that despite his big stature and lack of cardio (Rule #1) he was able to keep out of reach of the “Walkers”.  It was a bullet that incapacitated and killed him, not a bite.  After the episode that depicted Otis’ death, I watched “The Talking Dead” the show that airs and discusses the events of “The Walking Dead” after it is over. The guests at that time argued that “Fat people should die in a Zombie Apocalypse”. Personally I would rather have someone like Otis, a man who provides for the group’s members and protects them, than a man like Shane, a lunatic who has a distorted view of ownership and a twisted hold on reality who could become my enemy at any point if I pissed him off.

While I believe that if a Zombie Apocalypse does occur, we will all likely meet some sort of gruesome end, I think it would be completely ill advised to write off survivors around you who wear pants a few sizes bigger than yourself. Above I’ve mentioned five characters in Zombie film history that have been indispensible in the survival of some or all of the people in their groups of survivors. Just like other characters in these stories they have qualities that make them valuable to their group’s survival. In the end it isn’t how fast you can run (although it does help sometimes) that decides if you live or die.  Honestly, doing nothing but running can get you killed if you run down the wrong alley. Qualities that will keep you alive in the Zombie Apocalypse are ingenuity (Kohta), determination (Frank), power (Pillsbury), stock of weaponry (Marion), teamwork (Otis), skill (all of the above), and the ability to see what kind of horrors the person next to you is capable of committing.  Should the time come, I believe that Glenn and I can fare pretty well in the Zombie Apocalypse.  Loners won’t survive long, and should you start sacrificing people for your own survival, you will be alone.  This is proof positive that a heavyweight in the Zombie Apocalypse can be more than bait.  I know I’ve got the chops to make it against the Undead, what can you bring to the group? 

'The Secret World of Arrietty' is No Longer Studio Ghibli's Best Kept Secret--Review by Ryan T. King

This past President's day, my girlfriend and I celebrated an unusually belated Valentine's Day. With both of our schedules discombobulated and topsy-turvy, we figured a good ol' fashioned date night was long past overdue. We went out for a few drinks, grabbed a bite to eat, and decided to head over to our local cinema and see the latest Studio Ghibli release, The Secret World of Arrietty. Maybe it was the Irish root beer I drank or the flaming pot of tom yung goong I ate, or hell, maybe it was the pretty girl holding my hand in the back of the theater, but somewhere while watching Studio Ghibli's latest american release, I understood that Hayao Miyazaki and his team had done it again--another instant classic.

Of course this is not the first time I've had this epiphany while watching a Studio Ghibli film. Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Nausicaa, and the list continues on from there. Each one of these films and the others I fail to mention causes my heart to explode with happiness. In all my completely unbiased efforts (hah! who am I trying to fool here), I hope to examine Arrietty and help describe what makes this new feature film immediately timeless.

Based on the children's fantasy novel The Borrowers by Mary Norton, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi and  screenwriters Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Neiwa bring forth The Secret World of Arrietty. The film is a coming of age tale about a secret family of borrowers (little people-but not the politically correct kind) and their teenage daughter Arrietty (voiced by Bridgit Mendler) who live in a house owned by "Human Beans," or normal size people. One day, an unexpected and unconventional friendship begins between Arrietty and Shawn (David Henrie), a teenage "Bean" who has come to live at his aunt's quiet home to get rest before a heart surgery in the days to come. This unlikely friendship leads to the caretaker (Carol Burnet) Haru's discovery of the borrower family inside the home and her personal vendetta to rid and exterminate the minuscule creatures.

The first feature movie goers will notice is the pacing of Arrietty. If you walk into the theater expecting an action-packed thrill ride of surprise after surprise of entertainment, this movie is not meant for you. Calm, collective, insightful-- these are the tones that work best for this film. Imagine, if you will, going outside and tending to a lovely garden. Watching as the greenery sways to a gentle breeze. Feeling the tiny legs of a pill bug scuttle across your hand before rollings itself into a ball. Listening to the noisy calls from a bird on a tree limb in the distance. These are many of the quiet moments featured in the film and for good reason too. From the film's perspective, a tranquil and serene atmosphere is the sole purpose young Shawn is sent to live with his aunt. Director Yonebayashi uses these minimalist techniques to deliver that much stronger of a story. The same way literary master Ernest Hemingway packs enough depth into his stories without the tendency of over elaborating. Every quiet scene in the film works without the use of dialogue or commentary.

Some audience members might feel Arrietty lacks the imagination, wonder, and excitement displayed in previous Studio Ghibli works, like Spirited Away or The Cat Returns. However, the tremendous detail between the size and scope of characters and their surroundings in the film is certain to make the ordinary look extraordinary. One of my favorite moments of the film is entering Arrietty's room and her family's house for the first time and looking at the small amounts of detail. The young girl decorates her room with flowers and foliage from an outside garden, making it look earthy and natural. Later, while further inside the family's home, you notice other small spectacles like a dragonfly's wing used as a fountain pen. Other spectacular moments to notice Ghibli's effortless depiction of size and scale is when the borrowers encounter other animals; whether it's crickets, a cockroach, a bothersome crow, a racoon, human "beans," or the menacing house cat, Nina, all the animals behave in unnatural ways with the borrowers compared to how they would interact with normal humans. This much adds to the excitement and curiosity of following around Arrietty.

Speaking of the character Arriety, the next feature I want to address are the characters in the filmFor a movie without a twisting plot-line, the characters in the film are surprisingly well developed. I've already mentioned the three most obvious (Arrietty, Shawn, and Haru) but everyone else, whether they have larger roles, like Arrietty's parents, Pod (Will Arnet) and Homilly (Amy Poehler), or remain minor characters like Spiller (Moises Arias), who is only on the screen for less than ten minutes, they all manage to feel more than substantial. This leads me back to the comment I made about Hemingway earlier. There is so much to this film, yet so little and it all works in its advantage. But that's not the best thing. Even the cat, Nina, manages small characteristics worthy of noticing and tends to grow as a character. If you don't believe me, watch the movie. I was also thoroughly impressed with Disney's voice casting. Disney normally exceeds expectations with their films and the great quality voice actors and actresses they choose, so when seeing the names Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, and Carol Burnet my hopes and expectations jumped as much when I first saw Billy Crystal attached to Howl's Moving Castle. However, it was such a great and wonderful surprise  when these actor's characters appeared on screen, I hardly recognized the voices attached to them. Once again, Disney has achieved the remarkable and allowed the actors to voice characters they would not normally perform.

Between the pacing, the perspective, and the characters, The Secret World of Arrietty is a film that evokes many thematic qualities most known in Studio Ghibli films. Much like the films Pom Poko, Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, and Howl's Moving Castle, human encroachment is a theme in the film. Viewing audiences will find a cautionary tale in Arrietty between the coexistence of humans and endangered animals and find two sides, each with differing points of view. Shawn is the calm, collective, and helpful human. Haru is the complete opposite: excited, rash, and destructive. Luckily, the team at Studio Ghibli do not excesshit viewers over the head with these two types. It could easily be overdone and certainly done to death. However, they are both subtle and timed perfectly.

To this date, The Secret World of Arrietty is the best minimalist effort of storytelling I've seen Studio Ghibli take part in. The film features everything iconic and wonderful from previous Studio Ghibli films with the help of attempting something bold and new. Keep in mind this film is slow and quiet, yet completely resourceful because of it. Like I said previously, if you're expecting to be swept off your feet and taken to a fanciful imaginary land, this is not it. This is Studio Ghibli taking the original and showing it to you like you've never seen it before. Give it patience like you would a garden and I guarantee you within the first ten minutes Arrietty will grow on you.


In the latest issue of HorrorHound magazine (issue #33), the boils and ghouls that staff the horror themed periodical want to know what your favorite highlights in the horror industry were for the year 2011. The nominations have been separated in eight different categories: Best Original/Theatrical Movie, Best Sequel/Remake Movie, Best Limited Release/Direct-to-DVD Movie, Best DVD/Blue-Ray Release, Best Collectible, Best TV Series, Best Gore Scene, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Director. A list of the nominations is provided below. You can email your pick (one vote per person) for each category to and when you're finished voting, make sure to vote for the Rondos too!

The nominees are:

The nominees are:

The nominees are:





The nominees are:

-Evil Dead 2: Special Edition (Lionsgate)
- Intruder (Synapse)
-Island of Lost Souls (Criterion)
-Mystery Science Theatre 2000 vs. Gamera
-Zombie: Ultimate Collection (Blue Underground)

The nominees are:

-Ghostbusters Ghost Trap (Mattel)
-Jason Voorhees (Sideshow Premium Format)
-The Munsters Action Figures (DST)
-A Nightmare on Elm Street Action Figures (NECA)
-Predator 1/4 Scale Figure (NECA)

The nominees are:

-American Horror Story
-Death Valley
-The Walking Dead

The nominees are:

-Drive-In Massacre (Chillerama)
-Party Attack (Dream Home)
-Human Pinata (Hobo With a Shotgun)
-Centipede Removal (Human Centipede 2)

The nominees are:

-Amanda Heard (The Ward)
-Bailee Madison (Don't Be Afraid of the Dark)
-Lin Shaye (Insidious)
-Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Thing)
-Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman)

The nominees are:

-Joel Courtney (Super 8)
-Nick Damici (Stake Land)
-Micahel Perkins (Red State)
-Min-sik Choi (I Saw the Devil)
-Rutger Hauer (Hobo with a Shotgun)

The nominees are:

-J.J. Abrams (Super 8)
-Jason Eisner (Hobo with a Shotgun)
-James Wan (Insidious)
-Joe Cornish (Attack the Block)
-Kevin Smith (Red State)

Premiers Thursday February 23rd in San Francisco, CA

For those of you unfamiliar with the name Mark Mulcahy, I am about to do you a big favor. Most fans instantly recognize him as singer/musician from the band Polaris--a small lived group that created musical tracks for the Nickelodeon cult classic, "The Adventures of Pete and Pete" (anyone who remembers the theme song, "Hey Sandy," will remember Mulcahy's iconic vocals). As former lead singer of the eighties band Miracle Legion, Mulcahy and his group were often compared and criticized as a copy of R.E.M. and were sadly ignored for any chance of real success. Now, over thirty years in the musical industry, more music lovers are rediscovering Miracle Legion, Polaris, and Mulcahy's solo albums and recognizing his lyrical creativity and innovation in the musical arts. But his art does not stop there.

Premiering February 23rd on the West Coast bay area, Mark Mulcahy and cartoonist Ben Katchor premier their multimedia pop opera Up From the Stacks at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. Set in the 1970's Up From the Stacks is described as a story of "Lincoln Cabinee, a part-time page who retrieves books from the New York Public Library's vast collection. This mundane job unwittingly embroils him in the treacherous business of amusement and vice flourishing in Times Square." As a current employee of a public library, the description had me at "part-time page."

Mark Maculhy (left), Ben Katchor (right)

This is not Katchor's first time collaborating with Mulcahy. The two have worked together on past performances: A Checkroom RomanceNature's WeaknessThe Rosenbach CompanyThe Slugbearers of Kayrol Island, or, The Friends of Dr. Rushower, and Memorial City. Katchor is most known for his comic strips, which have appeared in The New YorkerMetropolis Magazine, and McSweeny's. Word on the street is the performance will consist of Mulcahy, accompanied by Ken MaiuriDavid Trenholm, and JJ O'Connell will sing in front of projected cartoons. Since Mulcahy rarely plays concerts now days, I highly recommend anyone fond of his music make sure to check this out. Tickets are still available and may be purchased here.

P.S. I've also heard a rumor there will be some kind of signing after the show. But you didn't hear that from me...

The 10th annual Rondo Awards are upon us! Announced yesterday is the official ballot for this year's Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards--a horror, fantasy, science-fiction fan-based award ceremony. Created at the Classic Horror Film Boards (CHFB) in 2002 by David Colton and Kerry Gammill, this underground award ceremony has officially hit a decade run. The nominations are finalized after selecting suggestions from the likes of horror fans, pros, and enthusiasts offered year round at the CHFB. The nominees are finalized by founder David Colton (a classic horror fan) along with the help of 20 other classic horror fans from all over the world. Now that the list is available it it up to YOU to decide who should win this year's Rondos. To see this year's nominations and begin voting, look here.

The Rondo award is a miniature version of a Rondo Hatton
bust seen in the Universal film, House of Horrors.

Review: "Chronicle" - Super Hero Origins Done Right! by Ryan T. King

Chronicle available in US theaters now.

I have always loved Super Heroes. The impossibility of having any kind of power that puts you above the rest of humanity has always played a big part in my imagination. The most common question, after you decide what you want your power to be, always is, “If you had super powers would you be a Super Hero or a Super Villain?” I usually say Hero, just because I always like to be the good guy. The film, Chronicle (Released February 3rd 2012) is a film that takes a few teenage boys and puts them in this exact situation. It’s a ride anyone who likes Super Heroes of any kind CANNOT miss!

The story revolves around 3 high school kids; Andrew (Dane DeHaan), the awkward outcast with family problems who has chosen to video tape his life, Matt (Alex Russell), the hipster, kind hearted guy who isolates himself by choice, and Steve (Michael B. Jordan), the school super star. They find themselves bound together when at a rave they are exposed to an unknown force that within a few weeks gives them telekinetic powers that they use around town to pull pranks and jokes on the unknowing people around them. All three slowly become more and more powerful, able to lift heavier objects, create protective barriers, and even fly. As they experiment with their powers, their friendship blossoms into something very believable and touching. However, as their powers grow, one of the boys quickly becomes unstable and starts using his powers against those around him, causing conflict between them leading to an unavoidable disastrous end. 

Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) uses his powers to crush a car.
This film follows the “found footage” genre of cinema that so many films lately have been using.  I actually love this style of movie (Paranormal ActivityThe Last ExorcismREC, and Cloverfield are some of my favorites). This film follows more the Paranormal Activity style of filming where one character uses his camera to film the world around him rather than a documentary or news program. One of the biggest complaints from found footage films is the tendency of the camera being shaky and causing the audience to become motion sick. Chronicle films in such a way that the camera is very smooth through most of the film, only being shaky in certain spots where the action calls for it. Some of the best parts of the film are when the boys are experimenting with their powers on the camera, making it levitate above them causing very impressive camera angles, or using it as an over the shoulder view behind them, much like a video game would be played. The camera is also used as a tool to show how their powers progress. Before they have their powers it is a hand held camera, not so smooth, but as the boys use their powers more and more the camera becomes steady, less like a found footage film and more like an actual movie.

The story is driven by the relationship between the boys, as well as Andrew’s relationship with his family. The time the three spend together playing with their powers and using them to pull pranks elicits comedy that is contrasted by some of the darker tones in the film. This film rattles you emotionally through visions of an unstable family, and abuse that would make the Hulk cringe. Although not always believable, the angst in the film is something that is very real in today’s world, which makes this kind of situation even more volatile for the characters. You find yourself caring deeply for all three of the boys in this film because they are so easy to relate to. It is nice not seeing the over used High School clichés seen everywhere. When events eventually spiral out of control, you can’t help but sympathize with each one of the boys, and hope that they all make it through unscathed. 

French film poster.
The climax of the film is some of the best Super Hero material out there. There are moments that will shock and scare you, and others that make you simply say, “What the fu*k did I just see!?” The grim turn this film takes and how it evolves into a Good V.S. Evil battle is something few films are able to do so seamlessly when driven by so few characters. What really draws me to the film is that the “evil” I spoke of is really misplaced anger, fear and frustration. It is at this point I realize that, even though I always chose to be the “Hero” and not the “Villain”, I can easily see where my allegiance could possibly fall given certain circumstances. 

Chronicle is an amazingly well directed (by relatively new Josh Trank), well acted Super Hero epic that I feel anybody with a desire to have their own super powers needs to see. It’s the origin story so many Super Heroes wish they had. It’s an epic ride that both elates and crushes you as you watch it unfold. This is one of the few movies I have watched where I hope a sequel is on its way, but also one where it was great as a standalone film. Don’t be fooled by the found footage style or the cast of high school kids, fly to the theater and check this one out!

By: Justin Hopper

Screenwriter Tony Puryear Creates "Concrete Park" Graphic Novel for Dark Horse Comics Press Release

New sci-fi epic, Concrete Parkwritten and drawn by Hollywood's Tony Puryear,
appears in legendary anthology magazine Dark Horse Presents February 1, 2012

Los Angeles, CA – Feb. 1, 2012 – Tony Puryear wrote the 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger smash Eraser, becoming the first African American screenwriter to pen a $100 million+ summer blockbuster. He has written action and sci-fi scripts for a who’s who of Hollywood’s A-Listers, from Will Smith to Mel Gibson to Jerry Bruckheimer and adapted storied sci-fi properties like Fahrenheit 451 and Buck Rogers for the big screen. Now he brings that Hollywood horsepower to the world of graphic novels.

Today Concrete Park, Tony Puryear’s first comics project, appears in DarkHorse Presents #8 from Dark Horse Comics, the premier independent comics publisher. “Concrete Park is a sprawling epic” Puryear says, “it’s the sci-fi story I’ve been waiting to tell.” He adds “it’s a perfect fit with Dark Horse Presents, the legendary anthology comic that served as a launch-pad for innovative work by the biggest names in comics, including Frank Miller (Sin City300and Mike Mignola (Hellboy).”

“I’m honored to be in the company of these amazing world-builders, and happy Mike Richardson of Dark Horse believes Concrete Park belongs with them” Puryear says. Richardson says, simply “I love this strip.”

Concrete Park is a dark and provocative near-future story. It takes place in a turbulent mega-city on a distant desert planet (think Cairo or Rio in space). Young human exiles from Earth must fight to make a new world there. They are “young, violent and ten billion miles from home”. In its ambitious scope, it resembles nothing so much as George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones series, but with favelas and aliens, cops and cyborgs, ghettos and gangs instead of castles and armies.

Concrete Park was co-created by Puryear and his wife, the actress Erika Alexander (Living SingleDeja Vu) and her brother, writer Robert Alexander. Puryear handles the writing and art chores on the book, and in a refreshing twist for someone known as a writer, it’s his art that has drawn the most initial acclaim:

Read About Comics said: “(Puryear’s) art... instantly grabbed my attention. His thick, heavy inks are striking, forming his characters with a great deal of confidence and force. Through his art, you instantly get a feel for this near-future (city); the swagger of his characters and their surroundings just bursts off of the page."

About Tony Puryear:
Tony Puryear is the first African American screenwriter to write a $100 million+ summer movie blockbuster. His 1996 hit Eraser catapulted him into a career writing pictures for A-Listers Jerry Bruckheimer (Buck Rogers), Will Smith and Oliver Stone. Puryear’s adaptation of the Ray Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 451 for Oscar-winning director Mel Gibson has circulated in Hollywood for years as a legendary unproduced script. His latest     script is Lady Scarface for the new RKO Pictures.

A talented artist and designer, Puryear was recently honored when his official campaign poster for Hillary Clinton’s historic 2008 presidential run was added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the actress and Concrete Park co-creator Erika Alexander.

To learn more about Puryear's Concrete Park check out his blog now!

To read Go Suck a Comic's review of Dark Horse Presents #8 click here.

Loki--"I have an army."
Tony Stark--"We have a Hulk."
The Avengers, coming to theaters May 4th, 2012

"Brains!"--Tarman, the First Ever Return of the Living Dead Toy by Ryan T. King

Tarman Action Figure from RotLD by Amok Time Toys

Available now is the first official Return of the Living Dead toy of the infamous, gooey brain-eater known as the "Tarman." This action figure was announced midsummer of last year and I've eagerly awaited the day I could put this disgusting, ichor-covered, bad boy on my collector shelf. Since my first viewing of RotLD, I fell in love with this ingenious zombie depiction. The dried husks that were Romero's undead were nothing in comparison to the juicy, slimy, tongue-waggling, and talking -- yes, he actually talks -- creation known by fans around as "Tarman,"

Once trapped in a canister and now sealed in plastic,
Tarman is ready for the collectors.
The action figure comes with several exciting features: a ball jointed neck, shoulders, opening jaw, film replica base, trioxin canister, and a half-eaten brain. The only possible improvement for the toy would be if it featured a sound device. Imagine having a button to access Tarman's iconic one-liner: "Brains! Brains! Brrraaaaaaains!" Yeah, now that would be pretty bad-ass.

The action figure is currently in-stock and available for purchase at Amok Time Toys. Who knows, maybe this will be the first of more RotLD toys? Do I smell a a Trash action figure on the way? Preferably one that features optional clothing and changeable heads (you guys who've seen the movie know what I mean). Just a thought, Amok Time, just a thought. Because if you don't do it and make it official you never know who will...

Custom Made Trash (left) and Suicide (right)
Custom Made Casey (left) and Scuz (right)

Screenwriter Goldman Announces Adaptation of Simpson's Nonplayer by Ryan T. King

By far my favorite comic book of last year is Nate Simpson's phenomenal creation Nonplayer. Sadly, when I use the phrase "my favorite comic book," I mean it in the singular sense. As of this day there is only one issue of the Nonplayer series in print. But that doesn't curve my love for the series, nor does it diminish Warner Bros. Studios from beginning work on an a big screen adaptation.

Finely detailed. A stunning splash page from Image Comics'
Nonplayer, issue 1, created by Nate Simpson.

Although first word of Nonplayer's big screen treatment surfaced in August of last year, news came forth today that The Woman in Black screenwriter Jane Goldman (the pen behind many other fan favorite comic book adaptations: X-Men: First ClassKick-Ass, and Stardust), would lend her talents to Simpson's creation. As of yet, very little is mentioned about the development but The Playlist snagged this quote from Goldman: "I'm working on a sci-fi project for Warners. It's called Nonplayer, an adaptation of a really wonderful comic that just won an Eisner for Newcomer. It's futuristic, it's incredible. Science-fiction is not a genre I'm used to, but it's my favorite." 

"It's futuristic, it's incredible," says Jane Goldman,
screenwriter for the Nonplayer adaptation.
As excited as I am to have Goldman on the front-lines of this ambitious project, my nerdy-sense is tingling. Just what does this mean for the remaining five unpublished comic issues? Will we see them before we see the movie? How long is Warner Bros. willing to wait around for Simpson to finish the project? Obviously the studio and Simpson came upon an agreement for the film treatment since the rights were purchased, but to what extent? I only hope that in the days to come Simpson acknowledges this latest news nugget and gives us insight in the unforeseeable future.

For fans of the comic, the future of Nonplayer looks almost nonexistent in the comic medium. Back in late September of last year, Simpson shared he was involved in a serious bicycle accident leaving him with a broken collarbone and an almost cracked skull. You can read more about it here. Luckily the guy is okay he states at his blog Project Waldo that the work he conducted on the second issue is not worthy of the second issue. So not only was he involved in a serious accident and his arm placed in a cast, but he decided to start from scratch on the issue 2's artwork. The worst possible moment to decide, if you ask me.

Last month, just when you think it's safe for Simpson to go back into the inky-water that is creating comics, he announces "hat in hand" that he's looking for a job to pay some bills as well as cover medical insurance for his wife and him. Nate Simpson goes on to say, "Does anyone work at, or know someone who works at... Because I know a guy... oh, who am I fooling? I need a job." As much as this quote seems to spoil the future comings of any Nonplayer comic book, Simpson quickly dispels the urgency to hyperventilate: "This does not spell the end of Nonplayer -- in fact, this is just about the only way that Nonplayer has any chance of getting finished." Whether or not this is true in fact leaves fans of the single-issue hit with raised eye-brows.

Nate Simpson, creator of Nonplayer,
broke his collar bone last September.
As much of a blessing it is to see Goldman's name associated with the script, I'm sad to say my little heart breaks seeing Warner Bros. push development further in comparison to the original creator's work. All we can hope for is that the executives at Warner Bros. and Goldman are early at work and eager to wait for a finished product before bringing viewing audiences the next epic masterpiece and box-office hit. Wait a minute! Since when has Hollywood ever cared about quality--oh, fudge.  

"The Adventures of Pete and Pete" 2011 Reunion by Ryan T. King

Growing up as a child during '90's meant many things to me. But nothing could sum up my childhood more than watching television shows on the 'ol boob-tube. Call me a lazy slob and I'll call you a lazy slob reading a lazy slob's blog, but as a child, television was my holy grail. It counted for endless hours of entertainment, whether it were video games, cartoons, or movies, it always passed the test--certainly for my parents who only wanted to escape their nagging children.

Many years later, I still hold a certain nostalgia for those classic '90 shows. One in particular, "The Adventures of Pete and Pete," I find more appealing every time I rediscover it. From the clever writing and odd sense of humor, to the spectacular soundtrack (Polaris, Gothic Archies, Magnetic Fields, etc.) and star-studded cast (Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, LL Cool J, Adam West, Sam Rockwell)  this TV show never gets old.

Late last year, the cast and crew of The Adventures of Pete and Pete were reunited for an exclusive interview in front of a live audience. Cast members present included big Pete Wrigley (Michael C. Marrona), little Pete Wrigley (Danny Tamberelli), Artie--the Strongest Man in the World (Tobey Huss), Joyce Wrigley (Judy Grafe), Co-Creators Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, and episode director Katherine Diekmann, along with several other cast and crew thrown into the audience. For fans of the show, many questions are answered explaining the style and approach to the series, from the 60 second shorts to the 3rd and final season--still unreleased on DVD (WTF, Paramount and Nickelodeon?). Hopefully if the new Nickelodeon schmucks get their heads out of their assess and release the final season, they will do the fans a solid and include this reunion with the extras. They owe us at least that much.

"Chillerama"--A Grindhouse Inspired Film by Ryan T. King

"Watching Grindhouse in theaters wasn't merely watching a movie. It was an experience."

I remember reading an offering like this in a magazine (probably from those wise, old bastards at Horrorhound) upon the announced Blu-Ray release of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's 2007 double-feature Grindhouse. Chances are you heard of this film and may have watched a segment of it (it was broken into two films when it hit store shelves, Planet Terror and Death Proof) Remember the girl with a machine-gun for a leg? Ahh, there it is. It's all jogging back to you, I see. The film was Rodriguez and Tarantino's post-modern homage to '70's midnight splatterfest/exploitation films (some of the most vile, disturbing, and head-tilting films to ever exist) and landed a gorgeous NC-17 rating and 191 minute running time. Both rarely unheard of in contemporary American cinema. And for those lucky few who reveled it's cinematic debut in theaters (remember guys, this film actually tanked in theaters), as the quote suggests, it truly was an experience to behold.

Fortunately those good times appear to be had once more with a Grindhouse inspired film, lovely titled Chillerama. The film is broken into four separate segments, written and directed by four different Hollywood filmmakers (Adam Green/FrozenJoe Lynch/Wrong Turn 2Adam Rifkin/Detroit Rock CityTim Sullivan/2001 Maniacs), and has a decent run time of 1hr 55mins. I've heard mixed reviews so far but if the film rings true to the tone of the trailer, I'm all in.

Chillerama is currently working it's way through select theaters (click here for venues) until Image Entertainment releases it to DVD on November 29th. Until then, enjoy the awesome poster art and more bonuses like merchandise at Chillerama's official website.

Sacramento Sci-Fi/Horror Show and Sac-Con by Ryan T. King

Finally, something Cool is coming to Sacramento, CA. Yeah, that's right. Cool with a capital "C." Because where else in Northern California can you find a Sci-fi/Horror convention and a Comic/Toy/Anime show lumped into one amazing weekend? That's right, bitches. The answer is right here.

This September 24th and 25th at the Scottish Rite Center will offer plenty of entertainment, amazing guests, and a glorious safe haven for all Northern Californian nerds for the low admission cost of $6 (children ages 6 and younger are free).

Guests include: 

Mike Mignola---creator/writer/artist of Hellboy, Abe Sapien, B.P.R.D, Baltimore, etc.

Marina Sirtis---actress from Star Trek: The Next Generation and voice of Desmona from Gargoyles

Sean Schemell---voice actor of Goku from Dragonball Z

Timothy Green II---artist of Annihilators, Skarr: Son of Hulk, Swamp Thing, etc.

Tad Williams---New York Times and London Sunday Times bestselling author

Mick Gray---Comic inker on Batman, Superman, Brightest Day, Promethea, The Flash, Green Lantern

Jim Sinclair---inker/illustrator for The Maxx

and one of my personal favorites

Richard Moore---creator/writer/artist of Boneyard, Chip, Gobs, Fire and Brimstone, etc.

If you're still uninterested then I'm afraid nothing will persuade your neanderthal-like mind. For more information on the events, directions, costs, hours, and all that technical mumbo jumbo, head over to and See you there!

The High Stakes and Mistakes of 'Stake Land' by Ryan T. King

Every once and awhile a vampire movie comes along and dashes our seemingly tired expectations of the blood-sucker genre. In the past several years, with all the glittery, sparkly, vegetarian vampire crap conected to the Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, little to no hope prevails for true blood-letting vampire aficionados. A friend of mine recently asked on Facebook, "Anyone else sick to death of vampire movies?" Hell, with Twilight's introduction in our culture we now suffer from other teen vampire dramas, like The Vampire Diaries and True Blood (not to mention MTV's spin on werewolves in Teenwolf--but that's another story), how can anyone not be tired of the undead? However, like the vampire's curse, our hope remains eternal for a truly frightening and provocative new twist for our fanged fiends. This was exactly what I expected with Nick Damici and Jim Mickle's recent vampire film Stake Land.

Released in 2010, Stake Land is the tale of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by "vamps" (as they are generally referred to in the film). A vampire hunter known as Mister (Nick Damici) and his young apprentice/semi-adopted son, Martin (Connor Paolo), travel rough, desolate terrain in search of vampires and relief shelters, avoiding deadly religious fanatics, to ultimately find a safe zone called New Eden. If you think the plot of this film sounds a little true to that of Zombieland well... you are abso-freaking-lutely right. Which brings me to my first problem. 

I hoped to find something new in Stake Land. That's all. Quite simple, really. But the film was hardly anything new. With a wee tad bit of inspection, the film is really a cross genre of two separate titles. For starters we have Zombieland, where two stranded souls (Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg) launch cross country to anywhere and everywhere safe from zombies. Hmm. Kind of sounds like Stake Land. Then there is Cormac McCarthy's The Road, where a father and son stranded in a nuclear winter travel cross country to find food and supplies. Although there are no zombies, vampires, or religious fanatics in The Road, there are certainly cannibal rapists worthy of a couple scares. My point mentioning these two titles, although definitely different in their own ways, is to understand why the makers of Stake Land decided now was the best time to create the film. It's like in 1975 when Spielberg's Jaws hit theaters. Copycat after copycat decided to take on a film about a watery beast (if you don't believe me just check out this website called The Jaws Rip-Off Library). My point being that Stake Land is following a cliche line-up of films which does not allow it to make headway into new territory. Only something new and alluring like decent characters or monster design could lift this film up. Which brings us to problem two.

I was honestly surprised by the lack of creativity in Stake Land's vampire departmentI mean, for Christs sake! Give us, the viewer, the paying audience, something new. These vampires are hardly anything cutting-edge. If anything they look like your average zombie with blood like black ichor frothing from their lips and a couple protruding fangs. The whole concept baffled me. Why not strive for something different and create a new creature design?  And then about half way through the film it dawns upon you how much this film is not about vampires--which is very strange for a vampire movie (the same way Monsters was not about monsters). Instead Stake Land manages to create a new villain--the eerie Klu-Klux-Klan-like religious fanatics as seen behind Mister (Damici) here.

These guys are the real reason to watch the film and they honestly stand out a helluva lot more than the vampires do. The acts of violence committed by these guys are just insane, completely horrifying and believable. Judging by the amount of detail that went into the insignia and wardrobe of these characters, I'm sure the director felt these were the true children of the night. I've got to give credit where credit is due and say these guys did a job well done on this small aspect of the film. However, the characters we are introduced to in the rest of the film have little to no back story. In my opinion this hinders the film completely. It is in characters that horror films strive the most. Without definitive and flushed out characters audiences sadly look upon a world without any dimension. It's a shame that's what these fictional apocalyptic worlds turn out to be and it's a shame that Stake Land is one of them.

Season One of 'Falling Skies' Ends by Ryan T. King

TNT's sci-fi/drama Falling Skies aired its two-hour season one finale yesterday. With an onslaught of Hollywood blockbusters in theaters this summer, like Captain America, Green Lantern, Thor, Cowboys and Aliens, Hangover 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2, and X-Men: First Class, was anyone actually paying attention to their weekly television schedule to catch on to this series? Well, it's okay if you didn't. This post is not much of a love letter to the series, but I'd like to discuss what really thrilled me with this series--the special FX and makeup.

The Falling Skies story is typical. Set in New England, it begins in the aftermath of an alien invasion in a post-apocalyptic world without running electricity. A band of survivors in a military outfit, known as 2nd Mass, search through desolated homeland for rations, artillery, and stolen children. A simple story we've seen one too many times in countless films and television. The series' characters are bland and two-dimensional at best. The main character and widower Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) searches for a stolen son while protecting two others, as well as plays the part of second in command. I can go on and tell you about the doctor, the 1st in command, the three sons, a drone/boy, and the overly religious girl, but out of all honesty, these characters are so flat their titles give away their description in the series. For instance, I can hardly tolerate Lourdes' (Seychelle GabrieleThe Last Airbender) character, the overtly religious girl whose sole purpose is to recite the Bible, sing religious songs, or scowl after girls that are flirtatious. But despite my pithy complaints for Falling Skies, the single reason I watched the series from episode one to episode eight was for the special effect work done on the aliens, or skitters, as seen below.

As of now, there are two types of aliens in Falling Skies. One is a tall, silver alien that resembles a generic grayman design hardly worth mentioning. The second is a fleshy colored, sextopedal (six-legged) alien known as a Skitter. Quite often the skitters appear in a lesser quality form thanks to computer graphics, but some episodes give fans of tangible effects a nicely detailed Skitter puppet/suit. Just look at the amount of detail that went into the Skitter costume! It's special make-up effects like this that put a shame to more Hollywood financed productions, like JJ Abram's monster in Super 8. If it wasn't for this amount of detail put forth in Falling Skies I would have stopped watching somewhere around episode four--yeah, it's that bland and unimportant of a series. Which makes me wonder, why are audiences grifted so often in genres of horror, sci-fi, or fantasy when it comes to special effects? Obviously, the easy answer is CGI is cheap and affordable entertainment, in comparison to long man-hours spent sculpting and casting problematic masks and prosthetics. But doesn't the work speak for itself? Won't audiences ten or twenty years from now catch on and recognize quality when they see it? I can only hope so. Thanks to producer/director Greg Beeman'blog, fans of the skitter costume can see original concept art and sculpting designs featured below.

For more information on TNT's Falling Skies, go to the series' homepage here.

Review: HorrorHound, Issue #30, July/August by Ryan T. King

Recent nation-wide Borders store liquidations brought a certain ounce of glee to me this week. No, not because a chain of bookstores are going out of business, but rather the great deals they have on newly published magazines. All of the periodicals in my local Borders (and possibly yours) are now 40% off! What was once considered over-priced magazines have turned into reasonably-priced magazines. This includes the gem of my purchases and my recommendation to all fans of horror and horror comics: HorrorHound Magazine, issue #30, July/August.

As any avid fan of the horror genre knows, there is never enough horror to go around. Hence the creation of many popular magazines that chronicle the past, present, and future attributes in all things Horror. Such magazines include FangoriaFamous Monsters of FilmlandRue MorgueFilmfax, and Scary Monsters Magazine. Unlike the other fright rags, HorrorHound outperforms their competition in a number of ways. I suggest to examine the following 7 categories in a horror magazine: film coverage, interviews, articles, layout, theme, collectibles coverage, and Easter eggs.

It's hard to imagine a magazine such as HorrorHound worrying about something as excessive as a theme, especially when their particular specialization in a certain film genre already screams thematic continuity. However, if there's one thing I've learned about HorrorHound, its that the creators of this magazine are a very dedicated crew that bring forth a unique vision to their consumers. The latest issue is dubbed a "SPECIAL COMIC BOOK ISSUE" which includes recent and past dealings in the phenomena of the horror comic. Article topics include CreepshowThe Walking DeadFright Night (the remake and original--did you know about the comic series?), I...Vampire, and Men's Pulp Magazines among many others. Included, down on the bottom of almost every page, is a small Easter egg, or featurette, that happens to detail a horror comic book. 

The amount of horror coverage does not end with comic books. The easy to follow layout makes HorrorHound one of the easiest to read and eye appealing magazines dedicated to the horror industry. Inside coverage includes detailed photographs of new films, toys, and DVD releases, as well as memorable collages of old VHS-tapes and special collector pieces, such as Fright Night writer/director Tom Holland's personal collection of Fright Night movie props. New fright flicks are welcomed with cast interviews and director reportage, while classic oldies are graced with lovely feature pages called "HorrorHound retrospectives" that include every and any possible collector memorabilia. Best yet, the magazine contains very little promotional adds that don't deter too much from original content. 

Honestly, I've always had two dilemmas with HorrorHound, and as I write this blog with my copy in-hand, I revoke both problems. My first complaint was in regards to the publication being bi-monthly. Just call me a two-year-old spoiled brat who wants it now, now, Now, NOW, NOW, NOW! Yeah, that's me. But after really getting the chance to look it over, read, and re-read the articles, I can say how much I appreciate every amount of space utilized in the efforts of creating this issue. Not a scrap is wasted. Even the font size changes for certain accommodations. My second pet peeve was and still is a bit personal. $7 bucks for a magazine! Holy crap, dude! Do you think I'm rich or something? Do you think the word "loaded" is tattooed to my forehead? I hope not. Once again, this is a personal issue and most of the time relates not only to this magazine but all magazines. HorrorHound however is the only exception in mind. Every penny I spent on this magazine, even at liquidation prices, was worth the purchase. Enough so that I've decided to succumb to my long time urge of subscribing to HorrorHound. If you're any kind of horror fiend like me, I recommend you do so as well.

As for the next issue of HorrorHound, look forward to an all encompassing issue dedicated to the intergalactic space beings! Special features and topics will surround the following movies: The ThingInvasion of the Body SnatchersWar of the Worldsetc.

More information and subscription orders may be found at HorrorHound's official website here.

"Insidious" is an Insidi-Must by Ryan T. King

Last night I was invited to a birthday party cookout where I expected to enjoy some bar-b-que ribs, grilled zuchinni, and freshly brewed iced-tea. But before I could grab a pair of utensils and dig into my meal, I caught  two words from a nearby group and instantly knew the topic of conversation. Those words were "astral projection."

If this phrase does not send shivers down your spine, chances are you haven't seen the horror flick Insidious yet. Writer and director James Wan (Saw, Saw III, Dead Silence) returned last year with his most recent work Insidious unbelievably flying beneath the radar screen of many horror fans. Like yours truly.

Fortunately, with Insidious' DVD release July 12th of 2011 the wait is no longer an apparent problem.

The film introduces the Lambert family in a moment of transition. The father (Patrick Wilson) spends long hours teaching and "grading papers" at a new school. The mother (Rose Byrn) settles into the family's new house, juggling her three children, and working at home as a singer/songwriter. The eldest son (Ty Simpkins) explores his family's newest house and unknowingly finds (or loses) himself in a different realm of fear and haunts.

Before watching the film, I had expected from trailer viewings a film closely similar to the ongoing exorcism revival (i.e. Exorcism of Emily RoseThe Last ExorcismThe Rite). This brought on a feeling of dread because I did not want ANOTHER exorcism movie. I wanted something new. And to make matters worse, the film is given a PG-13 rating. Everyone knows horror films are better when rated R. Right? Right?

Although the film begins slow, subtle yet big scares manage to bail the film from it's PG-13 gallows and reinstate it among "normal" horror society. Audiences begin to understand this movie is difficult to classify in the horror genre, just like the first installment of Saw is difficult to label as a horror flick. Nods to the classics are given (i.e. PoltergeistThe ExorcistThe Shining) along with some off-kilter grins (Drag Me to Hell, Evil Dead 2), ultimately fusing the film with so many various boogeymen that by the time the film is over you may be left wondering where in your horror film collection you should categorize it.

Which brings me back to the party last night and the words "astral projection." Unless you're down with the black arts, a practicing Buddhist, or read books written by author's with surnames the likes of Ravenwolf or Gardner,  I'm guessing you've never heard of "astral projection." However, you may have heard of an "out-of-body" experience. That's right, it's one-in-the-same as "astral projection." Now in the manner of films, I can't say I've seen or recall a film that encounters or incorporates out-of-body experiences the likes that Insidious does. The only one that comes to mind, but wasn't featured in the movie adaptation, is Stephen King's novel of incorporeal terror It. Other than that, not a one. With all due respect, a big round of applause to James Wan for introducing this little-known spiritual technique into the hearts of movie audiences.

After watching and discussing the film with my friends the comment that stood out the most was that one of Wan's boogeymen in the film happened to look sneakingly familiar, like some unnameable phantom menace.

Fans of Pixar and Studio Ghibli films will enjoy this small short created by a group of french students known as the Goeblins at Goeblins School of the Image.

This short graduation film, titled "Le Royaume," tells the brief anecdote and cautionary tale of one unnatural beaver's encounter with a self-proclaimed King. Impressive storytelling and gorgeous artwork (reminiscent of Disney's concept artists Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle) makes this short easily suitable for all audiences.

And don't worry, you don't need to understand French to enjoy it.

More information on the Goeblins may be obtained at their home web-page, or, for those not blessed with the French tongue, Wikipedia. Concept art like the piece shown below can be found at Sebhary's Blog.