Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ash Vs. Evil Dead ~ Season 2 starts Oct. 2

Season 2 of Starz hilariously awesome Ash vs. Evil Dead premieres this Sunday, October 2. If you just can't wait (or don't have Starz) you can stream the first episode at for free through October 9.

If you don't have cable, you can watch on the Starz app available on the Apple App Store, Google Play or Roku Channel Store for about $9 a month. Unfortunately it's not available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu without a Starz subscription. Bastards!

Season 1 has also been released on Blu-ray and DVD and yes, it's worth every penny for fans of the original films.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Halloween at Target

Target finally put out their Halloween merchandise after what seemed like a back-to-school eternity. As usual they have very stylish stuff and while their offerings often overlap with Spirit Halloween, Target's designs are a touch more sophisticated. There's much more products online than in stores so keep a lookout for free shipping offers. Here are some of my favorite props:

Haunted TV
This years hard-to-find and extremely popular prop is this TV. Once activated a face appears on the screen and presses out though a pliable screen, reminiscent of the effect recently used on Stranger Things and Nightmare on Elm Street.

Haunted Eyeball Doorbell
This clever doorbell which appeared last year I think, reveals a glowing eye that looks around. Pretty clever animatronic for $10.

Spooky Clock
No haunted mantle is complete without a squawking, ornate clock. The clock lights up and a red-eyed crow (raven?) sticks it's head out.

Animated Crow in a Cage
This crow squawks, flaps it wings, and it's eye glow red. Impressive for such a little thing. (There's also a smaller version of this at Home Depot.)

Wolf Tombstone
Two of these would be grand on a column at the entrance of any haunted castle. They are quite fierce and oddly disquieting.

Halloween Tin Canisters 
These rusty old tin cans are from their premium online collection ($$$) but would look great in any apothecary scene. You always see bottles (they also have some good choices) but rarely cans. The $44 price tag is a bit much. Etsy to rescue?

Spirit Board Serving Tray
Everyone loves a good cheeseboard with their seance so why not combine the two? This spirit tray in incredibly well built and much nicer than the official Hasbro Ouija tray at Spirit Halloween.

Day of the Dead Wreath
The colorful Mexican holiday continues to be a theme in holiday decorating and Target has this vibrant wreath but I would suggest you not put on the front door. It's fairly light and made of what feels like felt so it probably couldn't withstand the slightest bit of weather.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Blair Witch ~ Review

While Blair Witch is the surprise sequel to 1999's The Blair Witch Project, it's really more of a reboot/remake that maintains some of the original's creepy vibe, and the nausea-inducing camerawork. What has been added is slick production values, a larger cast to kill off, and a couple of neat glimpses of the things that go bump in the night. Unfortunately, it doesn't break any new ground, is terribly written, and as a direct sequel adds nothing to the storyline.

Earlier this year the indie festival circuit was abuzz with a mysterious film called The Woods. Early reviews were calling it one of the best horror films of the year, and went on to say, "[Blair Witch] is that game-changer horror fans desperately have been waiting for." It was an intriguing marketing scheme and with a fantastic teaser trailer. Then in late July, Lionsgate revealed their big secret: The Woods was actually a sequel called Blair Witch. Cue the sad trombone. While all of this had little to do with the actual film, it certainly set up initial expectations and subsequent disappointment – yet another sequel/remake! Let the backlash begin.

Blair Witch is far from original, and it's embarrassing that found footage is still a preferred gimmick. It rarely works. In the face of danger, young people would not keep cameras steady(ish) and pointing at the danger while running madly. And really, who found this footage and where? How did it get there? And why is it so well edited? There's only so far my belief will be suspended. A witch in the woods? Yes. Videos of said witch surviving to be shown? No.

And like many horror films, this film stumbles when characters start making improbable choices (of course I'll go into the woods alone to look for firewood; I hear a noise – let's walk towards it yelling loudly). My eyes keep rolling so many times, I had to close my eyes and let them rest. And do not get me started on the terrible, terrible dialogue.

Blair Witch is a needless update like Carrie, Poltergeist, or The Thing. If you're going to remake something, why not add a new twist, angle, or build out the story beyond what came before. Those seeking anything beyond the first movie will be let down. For those younger viewers who have never seen the original, this movie will be entertaining. Overall though, it's just an epic disappointment.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Don't Breathe ~ Review

The new thriller from Evil Dead (2013) director Fede Alvarez, Don’t Breath stands as a testament to what could be done right with a tired genre. Take the home invasion movie. This grim, humorless and often mean-spirited sub-genre gained some traction with The Strangers, The Purge, and Funny Games but many succumb to breaks in logic or absurd pretense. Don’t Breathe cleverly sidesteps most of the pitfalls with a sparingly tight plot, two well matched leads, and stylish cinematography. As she proved in Evil Dead (2013), Jane Levy once again endures the horror with resiliency and stamina in the face of Stephen Lang’s unrelenting blind man. Just who is the victim here anyway? The twists are surprising and the movie delves into some deeply unsavory elements. The tension never lets up and a few startle scares keep you on your toes.

That said, there is a difference between horror and terror. Terror precedes an experience and fills you with dread and anxiety, whereas horror shows you the fright and lets you deal with the aftermath. Don’t Breath is a terror film that keeps you tense for the majority of it’s running time. It’s much more difficult to enjoy that kind of film, especially on repeated viewings, so while its a well-made film, I don’t think it’s one that I would want to see again.

Don’t Breathe is a smart home invasion movie turned on it’s side. While filled with dread, it avoids the more brooding, sadistic nature of these kinds of films with steady action, incredibly stylistic camera work, and a strong cast. It’s not an enjoyable film per se but rather one to endure and geared towards a very niche audience.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Spirit Halloween 20% off everything 9/5 & 9/6

Here. We. Go. 20% off EVERYTHING at Spirit Halloween today 9/5 and tomorrow 9/6 only. Make sure to sign up for their email newsletter for offers like this, and get your coupon here:

Friday, September 2, 2016

Halloween at Home Depot

Home Depot is typically not the place to get great Halloween decor, but clearly this year the spirits have moved them. They have one of the most unique collections I've seen in a while and they're offering free shipping from their website as well. In store you'll find an intro-level $69 projector kit (12 projections included), a 9-foot inflatable dragon with articulated wings, a still image projector with really creepy faces, a realistic and large lit longhorn skull, and for those who shop online, you can also get a full-size skeleton horse. They've also got a ton of cool lighting, including the popular fire and ice spotlights for $19.98. Run and don't stumble into a store this weekend.