It's a "Muppet Family Christmas!"



In the spirit of the season (and the fact that I'm currently traveling) I'm going to keep this as short and sweet as possible. The clubhouse has had quite a run this year with an aggressive publishing schedule of (relatively speaking) 1-2 articles daily, 3x the number of club members following along, and several new contributors and friends alike on board. With a new site in the works alongside an official Strange Kids Anthology on the horizon, 2011 looks to be even better and it's all thanks to each and every one of you. Whether you visit the clubhouse to read the latest interview every Monday, enjoy the featured comics, or just like hearing me rant about the good old times of yesteryear I want to take this time to say thank. Thank you, thank you, thank you!





Celebrating the Work of Tod Slaughter in 'The Greed of William Hart'



In celebration of a Tod Slaughter Christmas, currently being held over at From Beyond Depraved courtesy of Jose Cruz, I thought it might be fun to take a look at what many considered to be the actor's final film (at least his last feature film): The Greed of William Hart (aka Horror Maniacs).

Based on the ghoulish exploits of William Burke and William Hare, also known as the West Port murders, The Greed of William Hart is the second film ever to adapt the tale of the two fiends (preceded only by Lugosi and Karloff loosely referenced The Body Snatchers). Originally entitled Crimes of Burke and Hare, the film drew so much controversy in England that it was later retitled for Ambassador's 1948 theatrical release, though the story still maintained its macabre sense of murder, greed, and medical mischief.






Rocking Out with 'Ren & Stimpy's Crock O' Christmas'



Ever since I caught wind that original episodes of The Ren & Stimpy Show would be returning to Nickelodeon (albeit on its sister network, Nicktoons) this coming January I've been in an extra special nostalgia mood. So much that I started digging through my assortment of Ren & Stimpy related paraphernalia for the first time in years. Low and behold what did I find, but a copy of the dysfunctional animated duos Christmas-themed album, Ren & Stimpy's Crock O' Christmas.

With such classic holiday hymnals as 'Decorate Yourself' and 'It's a Wizzleteats Kind of Christmas,' Crock O' Christmas proved to me just why I so fondly remember the adolescent goofballs. Sure, some of the humor is crude, but let's be honest: when was the last time you've heard a fart joke delivered so masterfully as when Stimpy and his son Stinky (the Fart) reminisce in 'What Is Christmas?' I dare you to find a more endearing ode to feline projectile vomit than 'Cat Hairballs' or any album anywhere that has such a love for Yaks.





An Eye-Gouging Christmas Tale of Trees and Revenge



"This Christmas the trees will fight back."

Otherwise known as Treevenge, the film is a veritable PSA for not messing with Mother Nature on Christmas because she will f*ck you up. We're not talking about some malnutritioned hippies with homemade signs here, no sir. Directed and produced by the same team as the forthcoming Hobo with a Shotgun (Jason Eisener and Rob Cotterill) Treevenge is a film whose concept and execution far exceed its low budget. A big hit on the indie circuit when it premiered last year, Treevenge exposes the "horrifying reality of the lives of Christmas trees."

Makes perfect sense when you think about it. But beyond its facepalm plot, this short boasts some of the most insane holiday-themed deaths that I've ever seen. The coup de grĂ¢ce, however, comes around the 14 minute mark when a screaming infant and a killer tree go face to stump... it will blow your mind (literally). If there's one new Christmas tradition you should make this year, it's seeing this film in its entirety.





Simon Pegg and Nick Frost helmed 'Paul' Trailer



They've taken on the horror genre with Shaun of the Dead and buddy/action flicks with Hot Fuzz. Now, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have sets their sights on the sci-fi genre with Paul, featuring the [erratic] comical wit of Seth Rogen as the titular alien and Jason Bateman as a "man in black" among others (Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, Kristen Wiig).

Reuniting once more, Pegg and Frost play two sci-fi/comic nerds on their way to Area 51 where they hope their adventure will turn up some evidence of alien life. Unfortunately for them, it does and it's name is Paul. Like a hyperactive E.T., Paul is a crude, smart-mouth lifeform whose escaped from custody and hitched a ride with the duo in an attempt to get back home. As the trailer boasts, it's the most fun you'll have seeing an alien scratch his balls (okay, so maybe I'm paraphrasing).





William S. Burroughs 'The Junky's Christmas'



Editor's Note: I need to thank T.L. Bugg from The Lightning Bug's Lair for bringing this morsel of holiday spirit to my attention. If you haven't paid a visit to the Lair before, I'd highly recommend it.

So what do you get when you mix copious amounts of drugs with the traditional spirit of goodwill during Christmas? Some would call it a typical family get together (is that just me?), but surrealist author William S. Burroughs calls it The Junky's Christmas. Directed by Nick Donkin and Melodie McDaniel in 1993, this claymation-animated short is narrated by Burroughs himself and was even produced by none other than Francis Ford Coppola.





Do the 'Monster Christmas Mash' and Get Down with Your Jolly Self



We're all pretty familiar with Bobby "Boris" Pickett's infamous album, Monster Mash. It makes sense the monsters would have much to celebrate during Halloween, but what do they do during Christmas? Apparently, if this 70s album release by Peter Pan Records is any indication, they still like to boogie down.

Full of such holly jolly jingles as "The Reason for Treason" and "The Creep Castle Chorus, Marching Band & Dissecting Society," Monster Christmas Mash is more of a fun collection of short skits and spoken word lyrics than it is actual music but it's nonetheless enjoyable listening to Igor and his Master debate the need for being good on Christmas eve or Dracula singing Jingle "Blahs" [Bells].





'ALF's Special Christmas' or The Most Depressing Christmas Ever Told



It's ALF!

Ah, Christmas. It's a time for candy canes, fat jolly men dressed in red suits, and... little kids riddled with terminal diseases?! At least, that's the premise for this ho-hum holiday special courtesy of an 80s era AIDS-phobic mentality and ALF's need to consistently remind viewers that he's the kind-hearted Homer Simpson of space aliens.

Ever since I was a kid, there's been this love/hate relationship with ALF in which my memories of the show are always better than the actually quality of them. Granted, what kid wouldn't love an over-sized, smart mouthed space alien from the planet Melmac who likes to eat kittens and cause unwarranted havoc on the poor Tanner family? Honestly though, ALF was kind of a jerk.






The Zombies are Coming! New 'dARk Minutes' Podcast

Discover The Italian Zombie movie by Thomas Berdinski, in this love letter to 70s and 80s Italian exploitation you'll find humor, gore and over 2 hours of zombie goodness. Check out the movie at http://italianzombiemovie.com/. Be there or be dead. Next, it's a guest review of a famous 80s classic by none other than Root Rot himself from http://thewitchshatblog.com/.



[Download mp3]

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR - GREY
The dark and mysterious Grey is the creator and co-host of the Dark Hours Horror Podcast. The Dark Hours is an exploration of cult cinema from yesterday and today. Each episode is packed with sound clips, horror movie music and contributions from listeners. Segments include The Dark Cut, Dark Detour, Kill the 80s, Girls of Horror and more.






Disney's 'Prep & Landing' Operation: Secret Santa



Okay, so I admit it. Somewhere buried deep within my horror-loving core I've some fragment of spongy, soft goodness. One of the things that brings this out is cartoons, which remind me of simpler times before "real" life kicks in somewhere around 25 or so. The other emotional trigger is animated Christmas specials (sensing a pattern here?). So, when I found out that Disney had created a short follow-up to last year's Prep & Landing special I admit that I did a fist pump of excitement.

Granted, 7 minutes isn't really long and the entire premise would probably make the best kid-friendly Christmas film since The Santa Clause, but its certainly better than nothing. To sweeten the deal it even stars Betty White as Mrs. Clause... come on, Betty White! Grab you hot cocoa and get your "kringle" on, you know that inner kid inside you wants to.





SKC's Geeked-Out Holiday 2010 Gift Guide


Despite all the warm and fuzzy sentiments that emerge en masse around this time every year, we all know what Christmas is really about. Just ask any kid (young or old) and they'll tell you. So to celebrate the commercialization of our youth, I've created a geeked-out guide of SKC's favorite things this year- let's call it a throwback to those wonderful Sears Wish Books in which a child's love could be bought with nothing more than a talking robot or TMNT playset! Now go get your holly jolly jingle on.





Interview w/ Brian Singleton, Director of 'Werewolf Fever'


He's a storyboard artist, photographer, designer, illustrator... oh yeah, and he directs. Yes, creator Brian Singleton is indeed a modern day Renaissance man and with his latest creation, Werewolf Fever, he's out to show that there are still some original ideas out there for horror films.

With a simple setup of a werewolf terrorizing a band of burger stand employees, Werewolf Fever revitalizes the DIY school of film by way of Sam Raimi using its modest budget, unknown cast, and creative fx to great affect over the course of its 60 minutes run time. Here to tell us more about the film is none other than Singleton himself...
You've been working on this film for three years now. How did the concept for this story originate?

I was actually location scouting for a different film I had in mind. It wasn’t working out, so on our way home, we stopped in Renfrew to eat lunch at the Kingburger. We loved the location right from the start, then my friend made a joke about shooting a movie at the Kingburger instead. Then we thought of the werewolf story and I knew it was a great idea. It was the most appropriate monster we could think of to attack that, I went up and asked the owner if I could shoot a werewolf movie at his restaurant.






'God of War' Prepares for some 'Mortal Kombat'



Before the first great Console War of 2005, I enjoyed many an hour of brutal, blood-soaked gaming courtesy of a certain undying son of Sparta (psst, his name is Kratos). I won't even make mention of another PS-exclusive franchise (*cough*MetalGearSolid*cough*) that I miss. Anyway, once I made the jump from Sony's Playstation 2 to Microsoft's much more attractive XBOX 360 I had to bid a bitter farewell to the God of War franchise in exchange for a more diverse catalog of games (hey, XBOX did have DOOM at the time).

Ever since then my gaming has been regrettably Kratos-less and unfortunately that doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon. Revealed at Spike TV's VGA (Video Game Awards) show this past weekend, those crazy awesome bastards at Netherrealm Studios (formerly Midway Chicago) are pulling a Soul Caliber move with the reveal of Kratos as a PS3 playable exclusive (see footage above). All I'm left to wonder is where is the XBOX love people?





Celebrate Vampira's Birthday with 'The Happy Undertaker'







New 'Casper' Cover Uncovered by David Hartman

Original artist is unknown; Harvey Comics 1956.Artwork © Copyright David Hartman
Known for his insane illustrations of all manner of vile creatures and backwoods beasties, artist David Hartman has revealed an appropriately haunting rendition of Harvey Comics' signature spook: Casper the Friendly Ghost. Okay... so it's not technically a licensed remake of the classic character, but can you honestly tell me you wouldn't buy an issue if it looked anything like this?!

[via Covered]





dARk HOurs Episode 17: HorrorHound Weekend Cincinnati (2010)

Horrorhound Weekend recently took place in Cincinatti this past November and Grey has the report STRAIGHT from the floor. Enjoy coverage of Halloween 4 and Reanimator panels; thrill to an Infinite Santa presentation; and learn about the secrets behind the infamous grindhouse classic, Maniac.

Meet new and exciting people and learn about interesting podcasts. It's all here for you and you don't even have to leave the comfort of your own state! Consider it a primer for making your own plans to attend Horrorhound in Indianapolis next year!


[Download mp3]

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR - GREY
The dark and mysterious Grey is the creator and co-host of the Dark Hours Horror Podcast. The Dark Hours is an exploration of cult cinema from yesterday and today. Each episode is packed with sound clips, horror movie music and contributions from listeners. Segments include The Dark Cut, Dark Detour, Kill the 80s, Girls of Horror and more.






(Re)Animations: Infinite Santa 8000



I want to thank Grey and his gang over at The Fear Inside (in addition to James from Planet Terror) for opening my eyes to this little gem of an animated series. On a sidenote, Grey was kind enough to give SKC a shoutout on his latest Dark Hours podcast so be sure to listen for that (located on the left sidebar).

Set in a post-apocalyptic landscape full of mutants, monsters and madmen Infinite Santa 8000 is an independently produced web series that chronicles the exploits of the man known as Infinite Santa and his companion, a young robot/clone girl, as they fight the evil forces of Dr. Shackleton. An interesting setup for sure, but does this Santa deliver the goods?






Interview w/ Sean Szeles, Storyboard Artist on 'Flapjack' and 'Regular Show'


He's worked on a string of fan favorite animated show including El Tigre, The Misadventures of Flapjack, The Drinky Crow Show and Regular Show, but would you believe his dream job was once delivering pizzas? Lucky for us he fell back on his insane artistic skills which have helped Cartoon Network's latest 'toon (Regular Show) earn a nomination for an Annie Award for Best Childrens' Television Production. Not too shabby.

When he's not busy writing songs or directing short films, Szeles enjoys taking care of stray cats, sketching, making with the funny and sipping Kool-aid from complete strangers. Good thing too, cause we just brewed a fresh gallon!
Thanks for taking some time out to share with us, Sean. Would you care to have a seat on our vintage, furry Alf head bean bag chair while we chat? A bowl of candy corn perhaps?

No problem SK, I'm glad to be here in your dungeon. I don't approve of killing any alien life forms and making them into chairs, but seeing as it's that or sitting on the cold, damp concrete- don't mind if I do! No candy for me though, thanks. We're not that familiar with each other and I'm allergic to razor blades, but some mysterious red liquid to drink? Yes, please!






A Very Special "Krampusnacht" Edition of 'The Happy Undertaker'


(Click image to enlarge)

The Happy Undertaker presents Friday's Fables is a weekly column based on The Happy Undertaker series of comics by artist Drazen Kozjan who has illustrated several children's books including Diary of a Fairy Godmother and the Julia Gillian series. Strips premiere every week.
Today's Happy Undertaker tale is based upon the European legend of the Krampus- an evil mythical being whose job was to punish naughty little kids on Christmas Eve. Krampusnacht, or Night of Krampus, is a yearly celebration held on December 6th during which adults used to dress up as wicked demons to scare their kids into being good. Merry Krampusnacht everyone!

For more information on The Happy Undertaker or its creator, Drazen Kozjan, be sure to check out the official Happy Undertaker Blog in addition to his his personal blog, Hypnotik Eye.

Artwork © Drazen Kozjan






Are 'The Walking Dead' Selling Out?


I'm probably going to be lambasted for saying this, but does anyone else feel as though AMC is milking its latest hit series a little too hard? Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed every episode of the series thus far and thought the finale was fantastic, but when was the last time you EVER saw a commercial for a Season 1 pre-sale for show before its finale has concluded?! That's an ad for a product that won't be released until March 8, 2011. March 8, 2011!

I'm sure you've heard by now that the show will make its return for another season, amidst a writer shakeup that sent the internet a buzz last week or so ago.We know the show is a hit with viewers (both horror fans and mainstream audiences), but is it really that necessary to pimp it out quite so hard. Sure, maybe its simply because of the holiday season, but if the Blu-Ray/DVD doesn't even come out until March how great of a gift is a pre-order- really?

What say you, are The Walking Dead selling out?





Splatterhouse: Behind the Blood Featurette



Bet you thought the Splatterhouse brew-ha-ha was over, eh? Despite critical reviews by some of the internet's largest gaming sites (go suck an egg IGN and Kotaku), my passion for splattering is far from extinguished. Luckily, Namco Bandai is more than willing to feed my need with two new videos they released this past Friday featuring a behind the scenes look at both the art and history of Splatterhouse.

You might recognize Dave Wilkins (Art Director) who was kind enough to stop by and lay some knowledge of the game on us way back in July (click here to see that interview). Dan Tovar has also been a driving force behind the new game as Producer. It's a shame what happened to this stellar team of creators (if you haven't heard, Namco sent 90 employees packing recently including the entire Splatterhouse dev team), and there's absolutely no reason for it to be garnering such bad reviews. On the bright side, reader reviews on many of these same sites seem almost entirely positive.





2 Friends. Hordes of the Undead. 80s Style Comedy.



Harold and Kumar. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. The Blues Brothers. The world of film is full of buddy comedies that feature living, breathing best buds. But what about zombies? I mean, they can't ALL be mindless brain munchers... right? Introducing Deadheads, the first feature length film by brothers Brett and Drew Pierce. Having cut their teeth on the indie anthology, Secrets of Fenville, the brothers have set their sites on the zombie sub-genre.

Despite a rise in popularity for the "bullet sponges" in the past few years, it's hard for anything new to standout, but if this teaser trailer for Deadheads is any indication of the caliber of work that the Pierces can produce then horror and comedy fans have something to look forward to in 2011.
Deadheads a return to the great comedy/adventure films of the 80's like "Back to the Future" and the "Goonies". The story follows two zombie slackers, Mike and Brent, who find themselves surprisingly reborn from the dead amid a disastrous zombie outbreak. After discovering an engagement ring in his coat pocket, Mike enlists his new found zombie pal, Brent, to embark on a quest in search of his lost love.

What ensues is a hilarious cross country road trip as these two reformed flesh-eating pals hitchhike cross country as they are pursued by a team of zombie killin' bounty hunters!
The film is currently listed as being post-production which is promising for a 2011 debut. You can bet that this is one I'm keeping my eager eyes on.






Trailer Terrors: Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)



"He kind of plays it fast and loose." 

Call it a guilty pleasure, but there's something about this time of year that puts me in the mood to watch a boatload of Chevy Chase films. Of course there's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but more than that I'm talking about Chase's classic fare like Caddyshack, Fletch, Nothing But Trouble, and (yep, you guessed it) Memoirs of an Invisible Man!

As one of the less fondly remembered Universal Monster, the Invisible Man has always had it kind of rough in terms making a lasting impression upon the horror world. Despite being the butt of many a joke, the Invisible Man does manage to work his way back into the Hollywood every so often (Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Hollow Man, several TV series) and in 1992 it just so happened that he fell in the lap of Chevy Chase by way of of John Carpenter. Yes, my friends, that same "master of horror" who brought us Halloween and They Live directed a comedy starring Chevy Chase as an Invisible Man. Can't get better than that, right?






Doctor Octoroc Presents: After These Messages



Artwork by Jude Buffum
Do you like cartoons? How about video games? Even old school TV commercials? Well of course you do, that's why you're here!

Well, as luck would have it that there's a new album that's just for you and it's not even the best part: you pick your own price! Composed by Doctor Octoroc and featuring a super-rad cover design by Jude Buffum (seriously, this guy's work is just downright cool), After These Messages features over "30 tracks inspired by classic TV shows, cartoons and commercials. Each track is arranged as the theme song for a theoretical 8-bit video game, much like titles found on the Nintendo Entertainment System."

Check out a preview above and then get your copy!





Beware the Bearded Man... 'Rare Exports' Full Review


Hey there fellow strange kids! I just wanted to let you know that I recently had the opportunity to review the upcoming film, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale for Bloodsprayer.com and although I can't re-post my review here I can share a snippet of my impression...
As Jalmari Helander’s first feature length film Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale offers an impressive ensemble of unknown talent emphasized by a solid script and foreboding score, all of which have been deftly honed over the course of his previous short films (Rare Exports, Inc. and Rare Exports: The Official Safety Instructions). On some levels it’s comparable to John Carpenter’s The Thing, by way of The Monster Squad, and though the film doesn’t spend too much time explaining it’s premise we are given enough visual cues to allow our imagination to fill in the gaps.
Suffice it to say, I thought the entire film was fantastic! If you want to check out the entire review, head on over to Bloodsprayer and share your thoughts.





dARk Minutes: Do You Walk or Run, Forida Possum?

Grey returns with a zombie infested edition of his dARk Minutes podcast feature (located on the left sidebar). This time Grey is joined by renowned author and extraordinary Canadian, Florida Possum. Together they embark on a journey across borders to explore the zombie phenomenon in France and then Germany. Is this trip worth your time? Tune in to find out.

<----------------------------------

Also be sure to check out the awesome, action-packed web series Infinite Santa 8000 by Burnt Reindeer Films. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, "everyone must kill to survive, even Santa." There's mad scientists, cyborgs and (of course) Santa all wrapped in an ultra-violent sci-fi bow.

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR - GREY
The dark and mysterious Grey is the creator and co-host of the Dark Hours Horror Podcast. The Dark Hours is an exploration of cult cinema from yesterday and today. Each episode is packed with sound clips, horror movie music and contributions from listeners. Segments include The Dark Cut, Dark Detour, Kill the 80s, Girls of Horror and more.






Trailer Terrors: Robot Jox (1990)



During the 1980's, and early 90's, the BattleTech franchise dominated the geek market with arena-style combat between monolithic robots called BattleMechs. From board games to video games, BattleMechs laid claim over aspiring computer engineers everywhere and formed a devoted and obsessed fan base that couldn't get enough of the series. It was no surprise then, that in 1990 Hollywood tapped in to the market with the full-feature film Robot Jox.

Directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) and co-written by Gordon and Joe Haldeman, Robot Jox hit the scene and then was quickly forgotten. The movie typically gets bad reviews, scoring only 4.7 stars on IMDB, but I personally enjoy Robot Jox despite it being low-budget and outdated. For some reason it still manages to keep me entertained and more so than most current films. It's like a hybrid between Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots and the movie Best of the Best. OK, I know that sounds bad, and maybe it's just the nostalgia from me remembering how much I loved robots as a child, but Robot Jox is a very fun, if not funny, movie to watch.






Kicking off Christmas with the Crypt Keeper



"Make the Yule time gross and gnarly..."

Start your engines! Today marks the first day of December and the beginning of many "25 Days Of" style countdowns on televisions to remind us of the impending awesomeness that will ensue. AMC has been broadcasting Scrooged with a 4-night marathon, CBS aired Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer last night on prime time, and it won't be long before TBS brings the season home (ad nauseum) with 48 hours of A Christmas Story.

While all of that is good and well for about 90% of the general population, what you may ask does Christmas offer the non-conformist? Well, as luck would have it, there's the creeptastic caroling of John Kassir as the Cryptkeeper, whose holiday-themed album Have Yourself Scary Little Christmas includes such classics as Deck the Halls with Parts of Charlie, 'Twas the Fright Before Christmas, and my personal fave Revenge of the Cryptkeeper. Released way back in 1994 I had completely forgotten about this lost little gem until I saw a promo for it mischievously thrown in at the end of a sixth season Tales from the Crypt episode (see above).






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