Sadako versus Snickers

A friend in France sent me an email one day and wrote, "You have to watch this Japanese movie 'Ring.' It's very special." Since he likes horror films as much as I do, his words carried weight. But in 1998 it wasn't easy to find a copy, and I had to nose around a bit before finally locating a DVD on amazon.co.uk. 

As you can see from the photo above, it's one creepy-ass film. There's a moment at the end which, if watched in blissful ignorance of what's going to happen, and in a dark room, the hair on the back of your neck will stand up. If for some reason you haven't seen the movie, then watch it without reading anything about it in advance. 

Like all good horror in the past few decades, it was recently turned into a parody where Sadako (the creepy lady with pale skin and long black hair in Ring ) eventually faces off against the Kayako (the creepy lady with pale skin and long black hair from another excellent Japanese horror film, Ju-on [The Grudge]) and her son, who is seen below.

The new film is supposedly funny (in a good way), though I haven't see it yet, so who knows. I guess it's the Japanese version of Freddie vs. Jason, which sucked. Or Alien vs. Predator, which sucked even more. (Frankenstin Meets The Wolfman still remains good fun.) But those films weren't supposedly to be intentionally funny. Shall we next see Michael Myers as a stand-up comedian? Read the rest

Animatronic, maniacally giggling spooky eyeball doorbell

We went to our neighborhood Halloween store yesterday to find cool stuff with which to celebrate the best holiday of the year, and came home with one of these $30 animated, spooky eyeball doorbells, which I am now officially obsessed with. Read the rest

Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" - the pop-up book edition

Pop-up book veterans David Pelham and Christopher Wormell have collaborated on a just-in-time-for-ween edition of Edgar Allen Poe's magnificent torch, 1845's The Raven.

Hyperdontia horror: Syfy trailer for "The Tooth Child is Hungry"

Evidently someone at Syfy is just as fond as I am of googling images [WARNING: POSSIBLY GROSS] for hyperdontia, in which subjects grow lots of supernumerary teeth; "The Tooth Child is Hungry" is an episode of Max Landis's series Channel Zero: it features a kind of dental onesie that I wish I could wear every day. (via JWZ) Read the rest

Watch all of the classic 1980s episodes of Ray Bradbury Theater free on YouTube

The Ray Bradbury Theater was a far out 1980s television series with each episode written by Bradbury himself. With 65 suspenseful (and sometimes terrifying) episodes of dark science fiction/fantasy, The Ray Bradbury Theater shined the freaky flame of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits down the shadowy path of The X-Files and Stranger Things. And now you can watch all the episodes free on YouTube! Below are two to get you started: Marionettes, Inc. and The Playground:

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Returning to the Return of Dracula

I was born in 1958, a tail-end Baby Boomer, and as a young boy—evidently like a lot of others—I faithfully read Famous Monsters of Filmland every month and spent an inordinate amount of time watching horror movies on WPIX channel 11, WNEW channel 5, and WOR channel 9—all local channels out of New York City. Read the rest

Supercut of 1980s film references in Stranger Things

Stranger Things, the supernatural thriller on Netflix, quotes wildly from the great horror/thriller/science fiction films of the 1980s. In fact, spotting those references may be the series' primary appeal. (Ulysses Thevenon)

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George RR Martin's "Fevre Dream": the Lannisters as vampires

I first read George RR Martin's 1982 vampire novel Fevre Dream as a young teenager, around the time I was also discovering Anne Rice and a host of other "contemporary" vampire novels who were reinventing the genre; now, decades later, I've been transported anew to the slavery-haunted riverboat where Joshua York and Abner Marsh tried to tame the ancient vampire before it was too late.

The Perdition Score: Sandman Slim vs the One Percent

It's been seven years since Richard Kadrey blew the lid off urban fantasy with Sandman Slim, a fresh, funny, mean and dirty supernatural hard-boiled revenge story like no other. Now, with the publication of book seven, The Perdition Score, Kadrey forces his antihero to confront his fiercest-ever opponent: his own violent nature.

Mur Lafferty's "Shambling Guide to NYC" is coming to Netflix!

Mur Lafferty, an amazing author and podcaster, had her mainstream publishing debt in 2013 with the wonderful Shambling Guide to New York City, about a travel writer who gets tapped to write a guidebook for spooks, haints, vampires and werewolves. Read the rest

Sickhouse, the Snapchat horror flick released in real time

A Blair Witch Project for the Snapchat generation, Sickhouse originally rolled out on Snapchat star Andrea Russett's account as if it were real and in real time.

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Frankenstein turns 200 this year: write a short story, win cool prizes

Arizona State University, Nanowrimo, and the Chabot Science Center are commemorating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a series of events, including a short-story contest judged by Elizabeth Bear. Read the rest

Amityville Horror house for sale again

The world's most famous haunted house, 108 Ocean Avenue (formerly 112 Ocean Avenue), in Amityville, New York is on the market again. This is the Dutch Colonial home where in 1974 Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed six family members and, four years later, George and Kathy Lutz and their children reported that they were terrorized by evil demons. Their story became the basis for the Jay Anson's 1977 book The Amityville Horror, director Stuart Rosenberg's 1979 film adaptation, and a slew of crappy sequels that followed.

Listed at $850,000, the five bedroom, 3.5 bath home on the Amityville River includes a large boat house and slip.

According to the realtors, "There've been four owners since the murders, and none of them ran out of the house screaming, and there were no strange experiences [such as murder.]"

If I bought it, the first thing I'd do is reinstall the demonic pig'e eye windows.

(via Curbed)

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Monsters from The Grudge and The Ring square off for first pitch at Japanese baseball game

A promo for "Sadako vs. Kayako," a forthcoming movie in which the monsters from J-horror classics The Ring and The Grudge fight one another, saw the two of them playing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball game, with The Ring's Sadako pitching a 96km/h ball to The Grudge's Kayako, who handed off running duties to Toshio. Read the rest

Scottish Terror on Film: Darkfall

This week, Kodak and Kickstarter announced a joint venture to support low budget film projects that want to shoot on celluloid (that means real film, as opposed to digital). Of the four films Kodak is supporting, psychological horror movie Darkfall is the most interesting to me.

Written, produced, and directed by my long-time buddy magician R. Paul Wilson, Darkfall returns to the classic filmmaking techniques inspired by our fellow conjuror Georges Méliès—that means using magic methods and illusion secrets in place of modern CGI. Inspired by classic horror movies like Cat People, The Haunting and Halloween, Paul hopes to produce a powerful experience using psychology, audio effects, and “in-camera” trickery to terrify the audience.

Special effects and cinematic storytelling were pioneered by Méliès, whose life story was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s film, Hugo. Méliès produced and directed over 500 films in which he invented new effects and techniques to tell fantastic stories, leaving an invaluable legacy for future filmmakers. Wilson is a huge fan and, during a visit to an exhibit of Méliès’s work in Madrid, it occurred to him to use modern conjuring methods in the same way.

Paul says, “Filmmaking has evolved at an amazing pace and so has the art of magic, but the two have grown apart, especially with the introduction of digital effects. I began to wonder what Georges Méliès would do with modern magic and the idea grew from there.”

The Darkfall story revolves around how perception can be distorted. It’s a supernatural tale with a killer twist inspired by Paul’s time working on television. Read the rest

The Everything Box: demonological comedy from Richard "Sandman Slim" Kadrey

Richard Kadrey's got more writing identities than anyone has any business having: cyberpunk pioneer (Metrophage); master of hardboiled supernatural fantasy (Sandman Slim); young adult author (Dead Set). Now, with The Everything Box, Kadrey delves into supernatural comedy and shows that he's funny as Hell, and can make Hell funnier than you'd believe.

The Munsters, starring the GOP presidential candidates

Hugh sends us this "beautifully made mashup video of the Republican candidates as Munsters." Read the rest

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