Thursday, August 13, 2015


This is a found footage movie, and the set-up is simple: Aaron answers an ad placed by Josef, a man who is dying of cancer.  As a father-to-be, he wants someone to record a day in his life, so his son will be able to see the kind of man his father really was.  Josef even references the film My Life, in which Michael Keaton does pretty much the exact same thing.  I kind of chuckled, because I love the idea of someone taking life cues from a subpar Michael Keaton movie.  But I digress.

Listen guys, there's this movie called Game 6...

We all know where this is going.  We know that someone is the titular Creep, and we’re pretty sure that someone is Josef, mainly due to his penchant for jumping out at Aaron from hidden corners and wearing a cheap werewolf mask he calls “Peachfuzz”.  The clues are subtle, but I was able to pick up on them.

Pictured: Maybe a Creep. It's hard to tell for sure.

Eventually, Aaron picks up on these clues and decides to leave Josef, a grown man who thinks it’s acceptable to say “tubby time” in the presence of another human being.  I thought this would be the finale: a game of Peachfuzz and mouse in an empty house.  I was mistaken.  The movie went in a slightly different direction at that point, and I was happy that I did not have to sit through 30 minutes of seeing the camera look over a couch slowly, then run down the steps.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

For spoiler related reasons, I won’t get into where the movie went from there.  It was an interesting little twist, but it didn’t add much to the movie.  I understand that this was not an action-filled gore-fest, but there was a ton of dead time in this movie.  I feel like they thought it was creepier than it actually was.

This was an extremely small movie.  There are only two actors listed: Patrick Brice (Aaron) and Mark Duplass (Josef).  We actually hear a female voice over a phone at one point, but we never see her and the voice is uncredited.  To love a movie like this, you have to connect with the characters.  Or, at least, not actively loathe them.  That was a test this movie failed for me.  Mark Duplass was basically his same character from The League, only with eyes that were slightly more dead.  He still had that same smarmy look, and I couldn’t shake it.  He didn’t scare me.  He annoyed me.

*Adrian Peterson joke*
Aaron wasn’t much better.  After escaping the house, he had a number of moments where he is just talking to the camera, and he came off as a vlogger talking about what kind of dinner he was going to make that night, only with worse decision-making.

"Went to the store to buy parsley, but they were out. Hashtag parsley life."
I understand what is going on here.  In this era of sequels, remakes and reboots, we have a tendency to champion anything that is new.  Creep is a perfectly fine movie that grabbed a lot of hype for being small and original (or, at least, a new take on an old story).  There's nothing wrong with that.  Had I stumbled across this myself, I probably would have enjoyed it a little more than I did.  But, even then, I don't think it would have grabbed me as much as it seemed to grab others.  It's worth watching, but don't expect anything mind-blowing.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Michael Bay's "The Birds"

I’m a member of a pretty stupid horror group on Facebook.  I don’t know why I’m still a member there.  I probably just don’t think very much of myself as a person.

Anyway, there was a recent post where someone was talking about the news of the remake of The Birds.  It went something like this: “ZOMG Michael Bay is remaking The Birds.  I bet there will be exploding birds.  LOL.  Why do they keep ruining such great movies.  My childhood is ruined and I hate everything.”  I did a quick Google search for “Michael Bay Birds Remake”, and there are hundreds of scorching hot takes, all basically saying the same thing.  “This is bad.  That’s bad.  Everything is bad.  Michael Bay is bad.  Explosions.”  And so on.  So I thought I would offer my take, even if the news is a few months old by this point.

I am no Michael Bay apologist.  He made some movies I legitimately enjoyed (Bad BoysThe RockThe Island and the first Transformers movie, mainly), but he has his share of terrible movies as well (Pearl HarborArmageddon, every Transformers movie after the first one and probably Pain & Gain, though I refuse to watch it).

My personal feelings about the movies he has directed don’t really matter, though.  He’s not directing this movie.  His production company – Platinum Dunes – is producing it.  There is a big difference between “Michael Bay is directing this movie” and “Michael Bay is producing this movie.”  In fact, you could just leave Michael Bay completely out of the discussion; that’s how little his directing history has anything to do with this.
Here is a list of movies Platinum Dunes has produced, along with a few thoughts I have on them.

2003 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Remake)
It has a completely different feel from the original, but I think that helps it.  I really like this.  It’s not a great movie, but it’s a pretty fun movie.  

2005 – The Amityville Horror (Remake)
One of my favorite remakes.  I enjoyed this version better than the original.  Ryan Reynolds is fantastic.

2006 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
I don’t know that I would slap the “fun” label on this, but I like it pretty well.  Some familiar faces (mainly Jordana Brewster and Matt Bomer) certainly don’t hurt.  I didn’t really need to see the origin of Leatherface (especially a Leatherface that is nastier than he is in the original), but it didn’t bother me.  There were some moments in this that made me squirm.

2007 – The Hitcher (Remake)
Haven’t seen this one, but it’s on my list.  For Sean Bean and Neal McDonough if nothing else.

2009 – The Unborn
Fun fact: my brother snuck me into the theater to see this movie, as it had sold out before I got there.  I hated this when I first saw it, but it has grown on me over the years.  That’s due to the laughable dialog more than anything else.  I quote this movie way more than I should.

2009 – Friday the 13th (Remake?  Sequel?  Reboot?)
A perfectly fine little slasher.  I really liked their attempt to tie it in with the original series.  That was a nice touch.  I’ve seen this movie quite a few times, yet I have a hard time remembering exactly what happens.  Not a bad movie, but far from a great one.

2009 – Horsemen
Haven’t seen it.  I’ve heard good things, though.

2010 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (Remake)
I don’t understand the hate for this movie.  I guess Robert Englund is so closely associated with Freddy Krueger that putting someone else in the role was never going to be well-received.  I liked how it skewed darker, especially given how comical the Nightmare on Elm Street series got as it progressed (New Nightmare being the exception).  I liked this movie.

2013 – The Purge
Love the concept.  Hated the family this centered on.  They made terrible decisions and I honestly didn’t care if they survived the night.

2014 – The Purge: Anarchy
Better than the first one, in that we get to see more of what happens during Purge Night, but it still falls victim to the “no characters to love” problem.  There wasn’t enough carnage to overlook the fact that the characters were all awful (Frank Grillo’s rugged handsomeness notwithstanding).

2014 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Pretty terrible, but this movie was not made for me.  It was made for children.  And, judging by the theater I was in, it seemed to go over pretty well with that group.  (I will say that I absolutely loved the little scene of Will Arnett eating a sandwich with mustard and Parmesan cheese.  They should call that thing a G.O.B., guy.)

2014 – Ouija
Haven’t seen it.  I may see it at some point, but I haven’t gotten to that point yet.  By all accounts, it’s a perfectly fine starter horror flick for teenagers.

2015 – Project Almanac
Haven’t seen it.  Haven’t talked to anyone who has seen it.  The trailer made it look awful, but I really have no read on this.

That’s not a bad list.  Not a single movie on that list makes me mad that it exists.  One that I love, a couple that are not very good, and the rest sit right around replacement level horror (or slightly above).

So relax.  Michael Bay is not going to ruin The Birds, mainly because he’s not going to have anything to do with it other than helping to fund it.  If the mere idea of The Birds getting remade makes you angry, just don’t go see it.  Show your support (or lack of support) through your money.
If The Birds is bad, you’ll have to find someone other than Michael Bay to blame for it.  I understand that he’s easy to make fun of, but all I’ve seen so far are the same lazy jokes.  And they don’t even apply here.

The Birds probably doesn’t need to be remade, but I could say that about a great many of movies that have been remade.  Some of them are good.  Some of them are bad.  Not a single one of them has ruined the original for me. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we’re living in a great era for horror.  There are great independent horror movies being released through VOD all the time.  The “direct-to-video” label is no longer a curse.  Find something you love and support it in any way you can.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Apologies for my time away.  I have excuses, but they’re not particularly good ones.  But I’m back and hoping to be updating this on a regular basis.  I’m sure this is great news for the 2 of you who actually visit this site.

One of the main complaints about Willow Creek (the Bobcat Goldthwait directed found footage Bigfoot movie) was the extreme lack of Bigfoot.  There were noises (so many noises) and a naked lady who may-or-may-not have been part of Bigfoot’s harem, but Bigfoot himself is never seen.  I kept saying, “Well, at 80 minutes, at least it’s short.”

Then Exists came along.  It’s 81 minutes, and we get heaps of Bigfoot.  So much Bigfoot, you guys.  On top of that, it was directed by Eduardo Sanchez, who pretty much gave birth to the modern found footage genre (for better or worse) with The Blair Witch Project.

The set-up is easy enough: a handful of teenagers spend a weekend in a remote cabin.  They hit something with their car, but they never figure out what it was.  Then Bigfoot shows up and lays waste to everyone and everything. 
Did you like your bike?  Too bad, because Bigfoot will crush the frame into a tangled heap and throw it right at your door. 
Try to make an escape?  Bigfoot will run you down, break your legs and throw you in a prison of his own creation.
Hide in the cabin?  Bigfoot will rip every door off its hinges and destroy everything you love.
Find an empty RV to hide in?  Bigfoot will find you, push the RV down a hill, then jump off the ropes and land a killer finishing move (this was my favorite scene in the movie.  I rewound it at least twice).

The People's Bigfoot

It’s a tornado of destruction, and we get to see all of it, thanks to an overeager stoner with dozens of GoPro cameras at his disposal.

It’s not an amazing movie, but it’s a really fun movie.  The acting is solid, but the characters aren’t particularly great.  The dialog was fine, but nothing to write home about (I tend to write home whenever I see a movie with great writing.  I write to my old address, so now some stranger receives these transmissions).  I went into this movie wanting nothing more than a rampaging Bigfoot, and I got exactly that.  

Do you like the idea of watching a movie about a rampaging Bigfoot?  Of course you do, because you love beautiful things.  Watch this movie.

Rating: 4/5 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It Follows: Surviving "The It"

This post will contain spoilers.  So, if you haven't seen It Follows, you should probably go see it immediately, then come back for this. 

I've been thinking about this movie non-stop since I've seen it.  One of the ideas I've been kicking around lately has been the best way to get rid of The It.  Paul driving around the ruins of Detroit trolling for cheap hookers seems like a pretty good idea at first blush (plus, his undercover knit cap was pretty killer).  That prostitute will likely have sex with another man within the day, thus getting two people between Paul and The It.
But there are a few problems with this.  For starters, neither the prostitute nor the john know anything about this sinister being stalking them.  You remember how quickly Greg - the Johnny Depp/Skeet Ulrich looking neighbor - was killed?  They will be killed at least that quickly, because they don't know what's coming for them.  So it buys time, but not a ton.  I've thought about the rules for this, and I like to think of it like a game of tag.  Let's take a look at the prostitute.  Once she has sex, she has passed it on.  It's not like she's a carrier and passes it on to every guy she has sex with.  You can only pass it on when you are “it”.  She'll transmit it to the first guy she has sex with, but then it's on him.
And who is this guy?  I don't know, but I can tell you this: he's not coming from out of town to sleep with a prostitute, so he's from Detroit, or somewhere in the surrounding area.  There's a safe bet that the guy paying money for a Detroit hooker isn't rolling in females, so he's not likely to pass it on anytime soon.  If he does, it's likely to be someone else in the area. 
My point is this: none of these people know something is after them, and none of them are leaving the area.  So The It will just be circling around in the Detroit area, knocking all these people off.  Perhaps The It will never be able to untangle the sex-web (sorry for saying "sex-web") to make its way back to Paul and Jay.  Maybe the prostitute just keeps having sex before The It kills her, and it never comes back to Paul.

"Hey pretty lady. What's your sign?"
Again, not a bad plan, but I believe there are better plans.  Here are the two I have come up with:

1. The same plan as Paul's, but with a slight twist.  Buy a ticket to Vegas and locate a prostitute.  There are people from all over the world looking for prostitutes in Vegas.  Have sex, and within 15 minutes of leaving The It has already moved to someone past the hooker (15 minutes is a rough estimate.  I really have no idea.  I assume the turnaround time for sex in Vegas is pretty short).  Unless it ends up landing on someone in the city of Detroit, it will likely never find its way back to Paul.  If this goes according to plan, there will be a string of infected people placed across the globe.  It may track down and kill someone in Florida, only to have to walk to Italy for the next one.  It's pretty cost-effective, too: I just checked and you can nab a nonstop flight from Detroit to Las Vegas that costs around $300.
For good measure, drive a couple hundred miles outside the city a day or two before your flight leaves.  This will ensure that you will not be a nervous wreck in the event of a delay in your flight.  You don’t want to be sitting there on the flight, only to see a naked family member shambling by your window.

2. Take to the road as nomads.  Put some space between you and The It and relax for a bit.
The average walking speed of an adult is 3.1 mph.  The It seemed to move slower than that, but that's what I'll use for my calculations.  Let's assume that the average speed in a car is 60 mph (I don't know if this is correct, but they'll be driving an older car, and this will help account for stops for food/bathroom, as well as highway construction).  This plan revolves around just taking off for a while.  The goal is to put as much distance between you and The It as you can, while still being responsible for your own mode of transportation.  No getting stuck on planes or boats or anything.  Everything is within your power this way.
I looked at some cities far from Detroit and saw how much time you could buy.  I didn't dig too in-depth, but I did look at a few.
I always loved Colorado, so my first stop was Denver.  Denver is 1,269 miles from Detroit.  Driving straight through, it would take 0.88 days, while walking would take 17.05 days.  So you could kick back in Denver for roughly 2 weeks before having to skip town.
What about something a bit more remote?  Carson City, Nevada looks really nice, and it's a town of only 55,000 people.  Why is this important?  The fewer people in a town, the less chance there is of The It blending in.  You could buy yourself 28 days in Carson City before The It came calling.
Let's go further west.  I've never been to California, but it looks lovely.  Carmel-by-the-Sea looks like an incredible city.  More importantly, the population is less than 4,000 people and you could buy yourself 31.85 days.  That's my pick.  Live in Carmel for a month.
There's a downside to this one, and it's obvious: money.  So much money.  You're essentially homeless for a month.  Maybe you could work out some kind of employment deal in Carmel.  "I'll work for an entire month, but then I'll be taking a month off."  That seems unlikely, and you're still paying for quite a bit of gas every month (rough estimates put that cost around $250 a month), as well as the constant threat of old rust bucket falling apart during one of your monthly excursions.
So, really, unless you have a ton of money, this isn't really feasible.  But it sure is a nice thought.

California dreamin'
For Paul?  I think option 1 is the way to go.  Sure, the knowledge that you will likely have killed numerous people will be on your conscience, but Paul has already determined that he's willing to make that call.
So, while option 2 is more noble, option 1 is slightly more permanent and much more manageable in terms of cost.  If The It is after you, you'll have to determine what you can afford and what your conscience can carry.

Do you have other ideas for how to survive?  Leave them in the comments.

While we're here in the spoiler zone...
I've read some people talking about how they didn't like the ending.  The more I think about it, the more I loved it, and the more I believe it's the only way they could have ended it.  The idea that you'll always have to look over your shoulder is a terrifying one.  Sure, Paul passed on the disease, but it could still come for him and Jay at any moment.  Is that person walking behind you The It, or just a harmless neighbor?  You'll never know, and you'll always be wondering.  That's how they live their life now: in constant fear.  Even a nice walk down the street could end in your demise.  It makes the mundane a source of constant terror.  Even though the movie had ended, their horror did not.  True horror is not in eluding the killer, but the knowledge that he could pop back up at any time.  Every moment in your life is plagued by this thought that something is after you.  That something is around the next corner.  If you become complacent, you die.  If you focus on it too much, it will consume you (like Laurie Strode in H20).  That’s the feeling the ending conveyed to me, and one of the main reasons I can’t stop thinking about this film.

Also, while I love the idea of Paul and Jay sharing this curse, I can't help but wondering how their relationship will hold up.  Jay never seemed completely into it.  Will she find herself feeling trapped in a loveless relationship merely because of this common experience?  "He can help keep me safe, so I guess I'll stay with him."  How long will that last?  A year?  Less?  At some point, bitterness will start to creep in and this It will threaten to tear them apart without ever being present.
To be clear, I don't want to see this movie.  I don't want a sequel that deals with their relationship issues.  But these characters felt so real, so I can't help but wondering what would happen to them after the credits rolled.

Friday, April 3, 2015

It Follows

I'm having a hard time organizing my thoughts for this movie, so I'm going to give you a mish-mash of unconnected thoughts.

- It’s hard to ignore the obvious Halloween references throughout the film.  All the wide shots from a steadicam.  The calm, tree-lined suburban streets with more than a hint of evil lurking.  The pulsing synth.  The fact that the supernatural killer is referred to as “The It” in interviews, which is pretty close to “The Shape”.  I kept waiting for Michael Myers to pop out from behind a row of shrubs.

 - With all the style – all the window dressing – it would be easy to miss the fact that this, at its heart, a slasher movie.  There is an unstoppable force heading right towards you at a slow pace.  It never runs.  It never wavers.  If it is shot, it falls down, gets back up and keeps coming.  Jay is our final girl.  Unlike the stereotypical final girl, she has had sex.  But, like the stereotypical final girl, she has the attention of the killer and does what she has to in order to survive.  The plot of the movie is summed up in the title: It Follows.  And, like our favorite killers, it never stops.

- I’ve heard a lot of talk about the unnecessary nudity in this.  It’s true that there is a decent helping of nudity in this, but I would not call it unnecessary.  None of the nudity is alluring.  It is all courtesy of The It, and it is all ugly.  It is all uncomfortable.  The It is, in essence, an STD, and it chooses (at times) to manifest itself in forms of twisted and ugly sexuality.

- I love the slasher aspect to this.  I also love the fact that it is always walking.  There’s never a fear that it’s going to be hiding in the closet, waiting to pop out at you.  It doesn’t try to hide.  There is no fear that it will suddenly be in hiding in the backseat of your car.  It doesn't work that way.  It doesn’t sneak around.  It just keeps coming.  Like a slasher or a zombie, it is relentless.  You need to sleep.  To rest.  To take a break.  It doesn’t need that.  While you’re sitting still, it’s getting closer.  And there’s nothing you can do about it.

- I like to think that they cast the actor who played Greg because he kind of looked like Johnny Depp, and they wanted a nod to Nightmare on Elm Street.

- I mentioned the soundtrack earlier, but I'd like to bring it up again here.  It was composed/performed by electronic artist Disasterpeace, and it sets a perfect tone.  It goes from minimal and creepy synth tones to full-blown noise explosions.  He draws a lot of comparisons to Carpenter's scores here (I have to believe a lot of that was at the behest of the director), but he is able to put his own spin on it.  I am currently listening to this.  It is storming outside and my back is to an open door.  I am looking over my shoulder every 30 seconds or so, just making sure The It isn't creeping ever closer.

- It was interesting how differently this thing was dealt with.  Hugh/Jeff (although I thought he looked more like a Ricky/Wesley) had sex with Jay and took off.  His thought process was solid, if a bit cold: if The It kills the person it is tracking, it will then go after the previous infected person.  (An added note: only those infected at some point can see The It.  So, if you haven't been infected, you will just watch your friend freak out, but you won't actually see anything.)  If he passed on The It to Jay and stuck around only to watch her die, he would be next on the list, and The It would have a very short trip to kill him.  For Hugh, the disease was one of isolation.
Jay and her friends took it another way.  They looked out for her, whether they actually knew what they were looking for or not.  A couple of them offered to have sex with her, in part because they were horny teenagers, but in part because they really did care about Jay.  For them, the disease brought them together.  I found it interesting the different ways these groups dealt with this killer stalking one of them.  I'm pretty sure it's some kind of "glass half full or half empty" thing, but with a disturbingly naked and placid killer slowly creeping closer to you.

I want to get deeper into this, but I can't really do that without doing some major spoilers, so I guess I'll refrain from doing that.  The hype for this movie has grown pretty large, but, just like The Babadook, I feel this movie is able to avoid being a victim of its own hype.  It's a terrific movie with a great style, a huge nod to the past and a pretty good sense of humor.  It's not quite the movie I thought it was going to be, but I'm perfectly okay with that.

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Walking Dead: A Letter to Deanna

Hello Deanna.  I traveled with Rick’s group and kind of hung out in the background.  I now live in a house on the edge of town.  Don’t remember me?  I get that a lot.  I’m basically like Buddy in Community.
You don't know me, and, really, I don't know you too well, either.  I know you're a former congresswoman and once dreamed of being a poker pro.  "I'm good at reading people," you said, and I believed you.  I shouldn't have, but I did.

Rick and his people have done some bad things.  You knew this.  They told you as much.  Did you know they violently killed a group of people in a church?  That it was basically a re-creation of the final scene in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes?  Did you know that Rick killed his best friend?  That Carol burned two people alive and shot a little girl in the back of the head?  No, of course you didn’t.  You didn’t know the specifics.  You didn’t want to know.  The world is different outside the walls.  When you agreed to take them in, you knew they were good people at heart, and that the group of them sticking together and forming a loving family unit was difficult under such circumstances.  That Rick must be a great leader, and, no matter what he did, he did it for the good of his family.  Right decisions sometimes masquerade as bad ones, and it takes a great leader to know the difference.

While they were out there fighting and killing and dying, you’ve been sitting behind these walls, trying as hard as you can to stay blissfully ignorant of the horrors on the other side.  People left the confines of your idyllic community for supply runs, but you hadn’t really taken in anyone who had survived in the wild for years.  You didn’t see what they saw.  You didn’t know what they had to do.  Even good people can’t be good on the other side.  The nice ones – the immediately trusting ones – have long since died out.  Likely eaten by the not-so-nice people.  Surely you’ve seen Mad Max before this all went south?  You know what even a good man must do to survive out there.

Still, you said you were good at reading people.  Did you bring this group in just to turn on them at the first sign of savagery?  Do you trust Father Gabriel?  That dude killed his own congregation by locking them outside the church.  He has burned his collar and ripped pages out of a Bible, and then he comes ranting to you about how Rick and his group are Satan.  Tell me poker pro, do you trust that man?  Can you read him?
Can you read him like you read Nicholas?  The coward who caused the death of Noah?  Poor, sheltered Noah (who somehow learned how to use a gun in the short time he lived in Alexandria).  His face is in pieces because of Nicholas.  Do you trust him?  Do you get a better read off of him than you do from Glenn?  Either Nicholas is the best actor in the world or your career in the world of poker would have lasted a grand total of 5 minutes.

Finally, let’s talk about Pete.  I have some questions:
1. Why is chocolate kept under lock and key, while Pete somehow has unlimited access to alcohol?  Does he have a basement full of it?  Does he brew his own?  Are there prohibition tunnels under Alexandria?
2. What’s the point of keeping a surgeon in the town if he’s drunk all the time?  Like, all the time.  Who feels comfortable with that arrangement?  “Tara has a terrible head wound that the surgeon must check out.  I guess we’ll leave her in the shaky and drunken hands of abusive Pete.  Surely nothing bad will happen.”  Having a surgeon who is drunk all the time is worse than having no surgeon at all.

Perhaps Rick’s suggestion of killing him sounded a bit extreme, but what’s the alternative?  You suggested exile, but I’m with Rick on this.  Maybe he’ll die out there, in which case a death sentence is no different.  Or maybe he’ll find some others (say, the people who are carving Ws onto the heads of zombies), group them together and take down your little town.  Outside of a single sniper, you have no other defenses.  A well-organized group that knows the town’s weaknesses could overtake Alexandria with minimal casualties.
Rick is there to provide a perspective that is different from the people who have lived in Alexandria for years.  Granted, it’s kind of tough to take the advice of a man who waves guns at people in the street while being covered in the blood of his neighbor, but just because his methods are questionable doesn’t mean his logic is.
(By the way, do you know what the Pete solution should be?  Cut off his supply of alcohol and put him in a house by himself.  Is he still abusive?  If yes, kill him.  If no, then you have a non-drunk surgeon living in the town.)

I can only imagine how hard losing a son must be, but, for the sake of your community, you need to keep a level head.  Danger is right around the corner.  You can’t pretend that everything is fine, because it’s not.  If there’s one thing in this new world you need to learn, it’s this: if you have something nice, there is always someone who is going to want to take it from you.  You think Rick is bad?  Wait until you see what happens next.  You’ll be turning to Rick for guidance quicker than you know.  This time, listen to him.  He might be insane sometimes, but he understands how to survive beyond the walls better than you could ever hope to.  Just ask all the people with him.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Transmissions from ScareFest 7

Most of these words are true.

On September 13, 2014, I attended ScareFest, a horror & paranormal convention held in Lexington, KY.  This is the 7th year of its existence.  I happen to live in Lexington, KY, and I have no excuses for missing the previous 6.  Before my Wizard World experience, I had never been to a convention.  I attribute my attendance to ScareFest this year to the great time I had at Wizard World.  Still, it's ridiculous that this convention takes place in my town and I had never been.  I have brought shame upon my family.

Unlike Wizard World, I would be flying solo.  So I got up, threw on my Zombie Fights Shark t-shirt (seemed festive), and made the 10 minute drive to Rupp Arena.  Home to the Cats, and, on this weekend, home to the ghouls.

I parked a few blocks away and walked.  On my way through the parking lot, I passed many cars with bumper stickers.  The Misfits.  Necronomicon.  Michael Myers.  Jason Voorhees.  Zombies.  I looked around and smiled, knowing I was about to be among my people.  By the end of the day, I would be adding a new bumper sticker to my car, signaling to the others that I belonged.

Hail to the '01 Chevy Prizm, baby.

It wasn’t hard to find the entrance: all I had to do was follow the screams.  I found myself traveling in a group of people dressed as various characters from The Walking Dead.  “Those screams aren’t real, right?” I wondered aloud.  None of them looked up at me.  They just put their heads down and shuffled forwards.  If I were to die, I would do it with characters from a show I sorta-kinda like sometimes.

Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line were playing a concert at Rupp Arena later that evening, which gave the crowd a bit of a weird mix.  I saw people dressed as monsters, bloody clowns and zombies walking among people wearing cowboy hats, boots and tight jeans.  The Grim Reaper made small talk with John Wayne while waiting in line for food.  It was strange and beautiful.

I never did discover the source of the screams, but I found the ticket window, grabbed my wristband and headed through the doors.  A skeleton stared at me from above as I walked underneath.  I thought it kind of looked like me, though that could have just been my brain playing tricks.

I stepped inside the doors to find a young child being attacked by Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, while Billy the Puppet sat on his tricycle grinning like an idiot.  I thought about stepping in, but I’m only one man.  That kid lived enough of his life to enjoy it, but not long enough to be cynical.  I hope you find comfort in the next life, young man.

As it turns out, I could probably find him in the next life, as the next thing I saw was a sign for the Ghost Hunter Shop.  Books.  Vests.  Smudge sticks.  If you’re looking for ghost hunting supplies, they had it there.  The Ghost Hunter shop is owned by Patti Starr, who puts on ScareFest every year.  They have a website as well as a physical location here in Lexington.

I poked around in the shop a little, but I had no haunting in my own home and had neither the time nor energy to hunt for them elsewhere, so I shoved off to the main floor. 

Ah, the main floor.  What joys would I find there?  Would I find something to love immediately, or would I have to wait a while?

I would find something immediately.  Just Betelgeuse and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man hanging out together.  I tried to get up close enough to hear what they were talking about, but I’m not good at sneaking.  I also couldn’t stop singing, “Tale as old as tiiiiiiiime.” 
I thought ol’ Puffy would be taller, but I had only seen him on TV.  All celebrities are shorter in person.  Apparently Stay Puft and Keifer Sutherland are the same size.

I found out early that security would not back down from anyone.

I happened upon Michael Myers.  I don’t even think it was someone dressed as Myers: I believe that this was the real Michael Myers.  I followed him around for a while, observing his movements.  He never spoke a word.  He walked around the floor, looking around him.  I can only assume he was looking for a gaggle of babysitters.  While he was stalking them, I was stalking him.  Eventually I walked up to him.
Me: Can I get a picture with you?
MM: [Nods head]
Me: So, you just don’t talk then?
MM: [Shakes head]
Me: Halloween: Resurrection was really terrible, huh?
MM: [Nods head violently]
Me: You…uh…you going to kill anyone here?
MM: [Dead silence]
Me: Alright man.  I’ll catch up with you later.

I saw him after that from time to time.  Still walking the floor.  Still not talking.  Occasionally he would stop for pictures with people, but he never spoke a word.  I saw a woman walk up to him and ask, “Can I get a picture with you, sweet pea?”  It killed me that someone referred to Michael Myers as “sweet pea”.

My encounter with Michael Myers spooked me a little, but it didn’t last long.  I looked to my left and saw the table for the Western Kentucky Ghostbusters.  I tried to calmly walk over, but I’m pretty sure I ended up awkwardly jogging.
“Hey.  Are those proton packs?”
“Yes.  For $1 you can wear one and stand next to Vigo the Carpathian.”
“You mean Vigo the Butch?”
I giggled and threw some money in the pot, and was then armed with my very own proton pack.  As I waited for the people in front of me to finish with their pictures, I kept repeating to myself, “Bite your head off, man.  Bite your head off, man.” 
It was finally my turn.  I walked up, powered on my proton pack and said, “Only a Carpathian would come back to life now and choose Lexington, KY,” then muttered a few lines about Carpathian Kitten Loss.

I tried to look tough, but instead just came off as looking vaguely indifferent, and quite possibly like I’m a little sick.  I think I looked quite dashing in that proton pack.

I walked off and came across two very pale people pushing a stroller.  “Oh, lemme see the cute little baby.  Who’s the cute baby?  Is it you?”


While I was still trying to rub the evil out of my eyes, I felt someone push me in the back.  Before I could execute a super-sweet roundhouse kick, he was past me.

It was Sean Astin, traveling with a security guard.  “Gotta get back to my table.  Mr. Frodo needs me,” I heard him say softly to himself.
“I kind of thought you’d be talking about D-Bob.”
“Nothing, Mr. Austin.  Go tell them about how you hope they won’t be able to get their balls out.  Give ‘em hell, sir.  Goonies never say ah he’s gone.”

A voice came over the speakers.  “Cary Elwes is back at his booth, so if you want his autograph, it’s as you wish.”  I cackled loudly.  I looked around for anyone to share my laugh with, but all I could find was this guy.

He didn’t find it funny, but I doubt he really found anything funny.  The blood of the innocent, maybe?

I saw Dick Warlock – legendary stunt man, and Michael Myers in the stellar Halloween II – wandering around his booth while wearing a terrific jacket.

I thought about trying to steal it, but I figured he would snap my arm in 6 places without breaking a sweat.  I backed away slowly.

I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to pay money to meet any of the celebrities today.  Sure, there were people I loved, but I didn’t feel like waiting in line and spending a bunch of money just to have an awkward interaction with someone I’d never see again.
But then, as I was walking along the back, I spotted Caroline Williams, most famous for playing Vanita “Stretch” Brock from Texas Chainsaw Massacre II.  There she was, standing in her booth all alone.  I had no choice, really.  I had to say hi.

I walked up and chatted with her for a while.  She struck me as a genuinely sweet and caring woman.  I got my picture taken with her and walked off.  I’ve always been a fan of her work, and I’m an even bigger fan of her now.  I now have an autographed picture of Caroline hanging out with Tobe Hooper, Tom Savini and Nubbins hanging up in my home office.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.

I made new friends (who would gladly kill me at a moment's notice).

I found Salvatore blood. 

How much do you think Salvatore blood goes for these days?  More than I thought it would.  Sure, it promises immortality, but there's a decent change you'll turn into some version of The Ripper.  Or, at the very least, have someone screaming, "FLIP YOUR HUMANITY SWITCH," at you when you're trying to go to sleep.  It's my switch, buddy.  I'll flip it when I want to.

I found the disembodied head of Bughuul.

I saw someone getting a picture with Nick King, the guy who played Bughuul.  "Do you want me to hold the mask?" he asked the person?  No.  I just want to take a picture with the guy who played Bughuul but have the mask nowhere in sight.  I'll look back in a few months and think, "Who was this guy?"

I saw Universal Monsters rising from the ground...

...and others trying to end their miserable existence. 

It's not your fault you have an abnormal brain, buddy.  I'm sure you still have something to live for.  What about that girl you've been talking about?  The one with the cool hair?  Maybe try giving her a call.  I think you can build a life together.

I stopped to take a picture of an odd spectacle, only to have a fella in a Jayne hat come up afterwards and basically demand money for taking the picture.

Jayne don't mess with mudders.

I spotted a stormtrooper and Sam, just hanging out

I wanted to get in closer to hear what they were talking about, but Sam tightened his grip on his lollipop.  I quickly turned and walked in the opposite direction.  I put a Jack-o’-lantern outside my house on Halloween.  I have no quarrel with you.

When I turned the corner, I ran into this:

“Hey Scoob!  SCOOB!  Here's a mystery for ya.  Why did 6 hate 7?  Huh?  Hahahahahahahaha!  Try running around robbing banks all wacked off of…hey…I was having a conversation here, officer.  About what?  Well, that’s between me and my friend here.  Where are you taking me?  What is…is that a chloroform rag?  You’re not a real cop, are you?  AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE!”

The rest of the day was a haze.  I’m pretty sure I saw Corey Feldman walking around with a scantily clad angel, but I could be mistaken. 

For all I know, I’m still there, somewhere in the halls of ScareFest.  Maybe I’ll be there forever. I don’t mind.  There are worse ways to spend eternity.  I’ll see you all there next year.