Friday, September 30, 2011

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil: Review

In theaters today is the farce/horror/comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, a hilarious parody of horror movies that is clever, frequently brutal, and even endearing! A bunch of surly college students believe two backwoods hillbillies have captured their friend and will stop at nothing to save her. However, Tucker & Dale are not what they seem. Tyler Labine again upstages everyone else around him just as he did on the CW show, Reaper. I believe Labine could be this generation's Bruce Campbell, and he would be perfect in The Evil Dead remake (yes, it's happening). [A]

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chillerama: Review

Chillerama is low-budget horror-comedy where Grindhouse meets Creepshow. The vibe is ridiculously absurd and definitivelly hardcore – not for mainstream audiences (or tastes). Fans of bad taste, independent, gross-out, or inappropriate films will get a kick out of this "ultimate midnight movie"  – a definitive ode to B-movie horror schlock at its best (worst?). Check their website for screenings around the country (also available via VOD starting today).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mr. Bones

If you love the (now mostly sold-out) Boney Bunch collection at Yankee Candle, you should check out Coynes & Company's other line called Mr. Bones which is obviously from the same artist, available at TheGiftycom and Dillards. Even Bed, Bath and Beyond is carrying some of the pumpkin people which swap out the skull heads for pumpkins. The figure below holds a raven in a cage.

(Photo from

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Red State: Review

Red State is a vexing yet engaging thriller(?) about sex, religion, and politics. Fans of Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats) will wonder why he’s directing a film about three misguided teens, a Fred Phelps-type preacher out to rid the world of gays, and ATF shootout at a compound. While the film looks great, I was never really sure where it was going or what the point was – especially after lead characters started getting their heads shot off. Then there was a crazy climax that too briefly took to a really fascinating turn, only to come crashing down seconds later in the abrupt and unsatisfying finish. John Goodman is exceptional as is the crazed preacher, played by Michael Parks.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn arrives at Bath and Body Works

As the first day of Autumn arrives, now is the perfect time to head out to Bath and Body Works and make your house (and/or body) smell like the season. My personal favorites are the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin hand wash (in the jack-o-lantern bottle), the Acorn & Fig Candle, and the Autumn Room Spray (Autumn is a crisp combo of pomegranate, apple, fig & cedar). Side note, the Pumpkin Caramel Latte sanitizing hand gel is not meant to be eaten. While you're there pick up the vintage-inspired black cat votive.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Target's Gargoyle

Target's Halloween line-up was unfortunately very limited this year – it's mostly kid-costumes and candy (the lynchpins of the retail season). But there is a gleaming black diamond in this wasteland: a very cool, heavy, and expensive Gargoyle that's about 15" tall and costs $20. It's very reminiscent of the gargoyles of Notre Dame de Paris seen below. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nicolas Cage is a confirmed vampire's blog revealed unmitigated proof that Nicolas Cage is a real life vampire. A photograph from 1870 surfaced on eBay last week which features an uncanny likeness to the hammy actor. The blog went on to say, "You all realize that since Cage is obviously immortal, he can keep making movies forever, right?" Now that is scary.

Lowes Branch Art

For the home haunters out there, Lowes had a particularly easy project that could easily cross into the dark side: Branch Art! They used prefabricated dowels cut into pieces and reassembled into wicked looking branches. Spray paint this black, add some spiderwebs and perhaps a battery-operated candle and you've got a pretty wicked wall sconce/modern art piece for a haunted hallway.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Psychoville is a must watch

The UK has produced some good dark comedies in the past but none as amusing, scary, weird, disturbing, and interesting as Psychoville. Thanks to FearNet, the first series is making its way to our TVs and is available onDemand through October. The cast of characters includes a nurse who thinks her doll is a real baby (which may actually be alive), a rich old man hellbent on beating conjoined twins on an eBay bid, a down-and-out clown with a hook for a hand, a psychokinetic little person in love with Snow White, and very loving mom and son serial killing team. Fans of scary movies and the absurd must watch it... now.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rogers Gardens does Blackstone

Roger's Gardens in Southern California is known as "the most beautiful home and garden center in the world". Inside the extensive nursery sits a home goods store featuring everything from candles to accessories and even furniture. The store magically transforms seasonally with the most impressive and elaborate displays I've ever seen. And they love Halloween – this year features an old theater theme! From their website: "Explore the remnants of the abandoned “Blackstone” Back-Alley Theater. Roam dark mysterious rooms haunted by ghosts of performances past. Surroundings of strange objects, unique characters, and theatrical fascination will undoubtedly spark inspiration in artistic hearts. Enter a world of intrigue and bizarre beauty at Roger’s Gardens for a Halloween Experience unlike anything you’ve seen." Thanks to Heather & John for sharing these fun pictures!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Grave Encounters: Review

If you are a casual fan of the ghost hunting tv shows, you may like Grave Encounters, quasi-spoof and horror film in one. The first hour sets up the "found footage" of a douche bag ghost hunter (a clear rip on Zach Baggins of Ghost Adventures) and his witless sidekicks as they prepare to be locked down in a former asylum. The tone is light and amusing as we watch them fabricate every moment for the cameras. (The psychic's readings are priceless!) When the sole girl gets her hair "manipulated" the crew is shocked to realize they may have a real situation on their hands. Unfortunately, the tone shifts inorganically towards the dark side and the movie instantly loses all it's charm and momentum. A couple decent scares round out the second half but I wonder if this would have worked better as either full-on comedy, or full-on horror.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Exorcist... Remake?

I accidentally watched The Exorcist over the weekend. I was programming the DVR and the brilliant opening sequence caught my eye. Before I knew it, I was clutching the couch, unable to move or turn it off. To this day, it remains a powerful, well made film (even without the crazy "spider walk" scene that was originally cut, then re-added to a blue-ray edition in a slightly different version). It was reported in April that Warner Bros is remaking the film for an October 2013 release. However, in a 2009 interview, the original novel's author, William Peter Blatty, revealed that an Exorcist mini-series was on the way. Remakes rarely get it right, but it's interesting to see how the material would be presented today. In the meantime, you MUST check out this STUNNING commercial that pays homage to the film and perfectly captures how a horror film should be made.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Paranormal Witness delivers the scares

Fans of the old show A Haunting are in for a very wicked and frightening treat. Paranormal Witness premiered this past Wednesday and like it's predecesor, this docudrama features a narration by victims of paranormal activity, while dramatic reenactments visualize the story for the viewer. The premiere episode (available onDemand) featured some good acting (on Syfy, really?) and pitch perfect direction that made this the scariest paranormal show I've seen in a VERY long time. The previews suggest that other topics like possessions and UFOs will also be featured.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fright Catalog

One of the best stores for Halloween stuff is Aside from the stellar selection, service, quick shipping, real-time stock checks, and a human being that answers the  phone when you call (!) they just introduced a Haunt Club. Basically it's a paid membership ($10 a month, cancel anytime) that gets you all kinds of discounts, a newsletter with videos, tips, recipes, photos for inspiration, and a community of people who love Halloween. To sweetened the deal, the membership comes with a Haunt Kit which includes their new full-color catalog, as well as a goody bag of movies, CDs, and wine bottle stickers. The Haunt Kit is a limited edition, so sign up now:


While I love decorating the house with fake spiders and webs, in nature they give me the willies. Hanging outside my office window is one very large spider, and I get to stare at it all day long. I've even seen it wrestle and eat an entire fly. Now that is wicked.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Halloween Hay

Have you ever worked on a display, vignette, or village and had a "hole" you couldn't fix or a wire you could't hide? I found a great product at Michaels called Halloween Hay. It's from the same makers of Buffalo Snow, that the fluffy cotton blanket you put under villages. It's fire-retardent polyester batting (yup, the same stuff inside throw pillows) but it's tinted in orange, black, and glow-in-black-light green. I'm using the orange to emulate flames (rolled in little wisps with a touch of starch for hold) in my village display, and using the black hay to fill in some of the gaps and hide the wires.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pumpkin reigns over World Market

A quick trip to Cost Plus World Market turned into an all-out pumpkin smorgasbord. Their "harvest" section contained pumpkin flavored coffee, pancake mix, scones, caramel pumpkin popcorn, syrup, and many kinds of candy, pumpkin bark and pumpkin beer. What intrigued me the most (aside from the Bacon Dark Chocolate or Bacon flavored Torani Syrup), was Frontera's Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa! Renown Mexican food chef, cookbook author, and PBS personality, Rick Bayless has crafted yet another amazing salsa (his entire line is exceptional). The pumpkin flavor is subtle and adds a slight sweetness until you bite into a little chunk then the flavor pops. The chipotle, garlic and tomatillo round out this fantastic Autumn treat.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Apollo 18: Review

Like the "found footage" movies that came before it, Apollo 18 suffers from long, boring stretches and the payoff never quite happens. At least it's got a solid performance from Warren Christie, and the overall production looks plausible. The premise of being trapped in an isolated, hostile environment being able to see the Earth but not get home evoked so much dread. Being on the dark side of the moon opened up endless possibilities. The NASA "coverup" angle was intriguing. Even with all this potential, the movie is still rather dull.