Nicolas Cage Does His Thing In The Trailer For Prisoners Of The Ghostland!

Even though October is nearly over, we still have a lot to look forward to this year.

For instance, just watch this trailer for Prisoners of the Ghostland, starring Nicolas Cage! This film will be available on Shudder in November.

Bruce Campbell and Devon Sawa Provide The Best Customer Service In The Trailer for Black Friday

Yay!  I was just thinking that it would be nice to get a trailer for a new Bruce Campbell film and — surprise! — here it is!

Not only does Black Friday feature Bruce but it also features Devon Sawa, who seems like he deserves to make a bit of comeback.

Here’s the trailer for Black Friday:

Horror on TV: Friday the 13th: The Series 2.16 “Scarlet Cinema” (dir by David Winning)

Tonight, for our horror on the lens, we have the sixteenth episode of the 2nd season of Friday the 13th: The Series!

In this episode, a werewolf-obsessed film student brings his favorite movie monster to life! Needless to say, it’s not a good idea. This episode ends with a clever little twist. Remember it if you ever have a problem with a werewolf in your life.

This episode originally aired on February 25th, 1989.

Lily O’Donnell’s “Sum Musings On Skipping Town, Tackling Ancient Patterns Of Codependency, Trying To Harness Wholeness, & Generally Just Trying To Fucking Cope!” Says — Well, A Lot

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

So, like, no mystery here — you know what Minneapolis-based cartoonist/’zinemaker Lily O’Donnell’s latest self-published number is about just by reading its title. Assuming that is its title. Or that it even has a title. I’m more than a bit in the dark about that, as I am about many things vis a vis this artist, which is kinda strange considering I was just talking to her at the third annual “Insert Name Mini Fest” yesterday.

That’s okay, though — in fact, it’s kinda cool. O’Donell’s life may be an open book — or open ‘zine, at any rate — but that doesn’t mean she’s necessarily dying to interact with her readership on any terms other than her own. Mind you, that isn’t me saying there’s anything remotely Ditko-esque about her, but who knows? Maybe there is. If she starts putting out four-page essays espousing a worldview soaked in Randian…

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The TSL’s Grindhouse: Mulberry Street (dir by Jim Mickle)

Rats are the freaking worst, aren’t they?

Seriously, I can see the good in almost all of the creatures of the world but I hate rats and I hate cockroaches and I hate both of them for the exact same reason. They’re just so dirty! I mean, they are two of the filthiest animals on the planet. Look up the source of any plague that nearly wiped out humanity in the pre-modern era and rats are somehow going to be to blame. I’m very proud to say that there has never been a single rat or a mouse in any home in which I’ve ever lived. (When I was in college, however, I did once see a mouse running from classroom to classroom. Consider that. I keep my home cleaner than the average college.)

Mulberry Street is a horror film from 2006 that gives us an entirely new reason to dislike rats. Not only do they spread the Bubonic Plague but they also turn people into human/rat/zombie hybrids! At least, that’s what happens in this film. Set in New York City during one very long and very hot summer day, Mulberry Street imagines a world in which the rats get tired of hiding in the subways and they finally take over Manhattan. People are bitten. People are transformed into humanoid rats. People go crazy and attempt to infect other people. It get wild out there. They say you can see anything in New York and apparently, you can. Unfortunately, the cost of seeing is turning into a rat. That kind of sucks.

Casey (Kim Blair) has just returned from serving her country in Iraq and she would rather not be turned into a rat. Her father, Clutch (Nick Damici), is an ex-boxer and he would also rather not turn into a rat. In a world dominated by rats, what are the ratphobic to do? Clutch, Casey, and a handful of others barricade themselves inside their apartments and they try to survive the night while the rats scratch at the door.

Yes, Mulberry Street is yet another zombie film. I mean, they may be rat hybrids as opposed to being the undead but, in the end, they might as well be a zombies. However, Mulberry Street works better than the average zombie film because it was shot guerilla-style on the streets of New York City. There’s a raw authenticity to Mulberry Street, with its jittery camerawork and it’s cast of talented but unknown actors. The threat feels real. The struggle to survive feels real. The fears feels real. At no point are you confident that Casey, Clutch , and their friends are going to survive the night. Mulberry Street feels as real as any film featuring human/rat hybrids can. Even before the rats attack, Mulberry Street presents us with a New York that feels sick and dying. In the end, the rats are just the next logical step. The city has devolved to such an extent that an attack of zombie rats feels predestined.

Mulberry Street was well-directed by Jim Mickle. Mickle would go on to direct Cold in July, one of the best modern noirs to be released over the past few years. Be sure to check out both films.

Nothing Ever Made Sense : Cooper Whittlesey’s “Scat Hog” Volume One

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I’m having a damn tough time deciding whether or not the actual contents of Chicago-based cartoonist Cooper Whittlesey’s self-published Scat Hog Volume One are as incendiary as the title would suggest. On the one hand, yeah, this comic most certainly dwells on the more repugnant biological realities of human existence, but only insofar as they’re magnified and reflected in the less-than-grander tapestry of the cultural zeitgeist writ large — in other words, all is scat and all is hog and if you’re in the market for the “fee-good” reading, this ain’t it.

What it is, however, is scathingly — dare I say scatologically — funny more of then than not, and even when it isn’t the deep thread of absurdism that runs through and indeed underpins everything on offer is still more than present, yet paradoxically less than oppressive. Whittlesey has a definite point of view, one grounded in…

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The Disappearance of Flight 412 (1974, directed by Jud Taylor)

Because of recent electrical surges aboard its aircrafts, the commander of the Whitney Air Force Base 458th Radar Test Group sends a four-man crew up in Flight 412 to try to figure out what’s happening.  Colonel Pete Moore (Glenn Ford) and Major Mike Dunning (Bradford DIllman) assume that it will just be a routine flight.  Instead, they find themselves at the center of a government cover-up when Captain Bishop (David Soul) and the other members of the crew spot what appears to be a UFO.  When two jets are sent out to intercept the object, the jets vanish.

Suddenly, Flight 412 is ordered to land at a seemingly deserted military base in the desert.  When they do, the airplane is impounded and the crew is forced to undergo an 18-hour debriefing led by government agents.  The agents demand that the crew members sign a statement saying that they didn’t see anything strange in the air before the jets vanished.  Until all four of the men sign the release, the crew of Flight 412 are officially considered to be missing and will not be released until they agree to deny what they saw.

Meanwhile, Col. Moore tries to learn what happened to his men but the government, led by Col. Trottman (Guy Stockwell), is not eager to tell him.

This movie was made-for-television, at a time when people claiming to have been abducted by aliens was still a relatively new phenomenon.  It was also made during the Watergate hearing and in the wake of the release of the Pentagon Papers, so the film’s sinister government conspiracy probably felt relevant to viewers in a way that it wouldn’t have just a few years earlier.  I appreciated that the movie took a semi-documentary approach to the story but that it tried to be serious and even-handed.  The film shows how witnesses can be fooled or coerced into saying that they saw the opposite of what they actually did see.  Unfortunately, The Disappearance of Fight 412 is ultimately done in by its own cheapness.  The overreliance on familiar stock footage doesn’t help the film’s credibility and there’s too many familiar faces in the cast for the audience to forget that they’re just watching a TV movie.  The Disappearance of Flight 412 doesn’t really succeed but it is still interesting as an early attempt to make a serious film about the possibility of alien abduction and the government covering up the existence of UFOs..  Three years after this film first aired, Steven Spielberg would introduce these ideas to an even bigger audience with Close Encounters of The Third Kind.

Game Review: Dungeons and Deadlines (2020, Miles Matrix)

Stressed out, you lose focus and injure yourself using a stapler. You die from an untreated sepsis, because you didn’t make time to see a doctor.

You lasted 3 days.

That was my fate the first time that I played Dungeons and Dragons, a work simulator that is all about the horror of having a job.

I was so angry about dying of sepsis, I decided to try again.  This time, I said, I no stress.  When the game asked if I wanted to work overtime, I said no.  When the game asked if I would arrive early, ontime, or late, I picked late.

You get fired before the end of the probation period. Idiot.

You lasted 3 days.

Well, that didn’t work.  I decided to try again.  When you play Dungeons and Deadlines, the idea is to balance four ratings: stress, family, health, and esteem.  Keep them balanced and I guess you’ll make it.  Let one get too low or too high and you’ll lose your job or maybe your life.  This time, I was determined to be neither too lazy nor too much of a workaholic.  Instead, my goal was to just do an adequate job and keep everything balanced.

At first, my approach of showing up on time, doing the work, but spending the weekend with my family seemed to work well.  I survived past the third day.  On the 9th day, I was told this:

Elon Musk follows you back on Twitter. You’re so thrilled, you come too quickly when you have Sex with your spouse that night.

My family rating went down a little but my esteem rating went up.  Figuring that I had figured this game out, I continued to play.

On Day 17, I was given the choice of pulling a “work card” or a “life card.”  (This game not only simulates having a job but it also simulates playing a card game.)  Since I was at work, I went the the work card.  I made a mistake:

You finish your task faster than projected. Your supervisor is very happy with you. He also expects more from you now.

Up went my stress level.

You faint. All this stress has finally gotten to you. Your stomach ulcer bursts and you die. Ugh.

You lasted 18 days.

18 days!  To win the game, you have to survive 62 days.  Good luck with that.  As for me, I’m going to keep trying.

Play Dungeons and Deadlines.

Horror Scenes That I Love: The Final Scene of The Birds

From 1963’s The Birds and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this is one of the best horror endings ever.

The birds have won. Or, at least they have until Birdemic….

Horror Book Review: Killer’s Kiss by R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine’s 1997 YA novel, Killer’s Kiss, tells the story of Karina and Delia.

Karina and Delia have always been rivals.  If one gets a good grade, the other has to get a better grade.  If there’s a competition for a prestigious prize, you can bet that Karina and Delia will be at the center of it.  You can’t be friends with Karina if you’re going to be friends with Delia, that’s just a given.  And, since this is an R.L. Stine book, Karina and Delia are especially competitive when it comes to boys!

That’s where Vincent comes in.  When the book open, Vincent is making out with Delia and Delia mentions how happy she is that Vincent chose her over Karina.  Well, it turns out that Vincent is either totally wishy washy or just has a bad sense of humor because guess what?  He didn’t chose Delia over Karina.  Instead, he chose both of them!  Vincent is secretly seeing both girls but you know how it is on Fear Street.  You can’t keep a secret for long.

Soon, Delia and Karina are competing for more than the Conklin Award (which is one of those weird high school prizes that always end up leading to murderous drama on Fear Street).  They’re competing for Vincent, who really doesn’t seem like he deserves all the attention but again, it’s an R.L. Stine book.  When Vincent turns up dead, it not only means that prom night is going to have to be replanned.  It also means that either Delia or Karina is the murderer!  Karina accuses Delia!  Delia accuses Karina!  Who is the guilty party!?

As you may have guessed from my strained attempts to fake some enthusiasm while discussing the plot of this novel, Killer’s Kiss is not one of the better Fear Street entires.  Basically, it’s a book about two rivals competing for the chance to date a complete jerk.  It’s hard to get emotionally involved in something like that.  Beyond that, the whole rivalry between Delia and Karina just feels exaggerated and fake.  They’re both kind of annoying.  I wouldn’t want to know either one of them.  Finally, the mystery itself is pretty easy to figure out.  The novel does end with a bit of deus ex machina that simply has to be read to believed but, otherwise, this is lesser Stine.