Now that the first two volumes of Michael Walsh and friends’ Amazing Horror Anthology Comic The Silver Coin are on Comic Shop Shelves, Anthony and Shawn do a full re-read on the series and go in-depth on the Silver Coin mythos. Full Spoilers! We talk about every issue, how they tie together, what characters overlap, and all our theories about the bigger picture of this wonderful Horror Opus!!!
We talk about the third installment in James Wan’s Conjuring series! We stay spoiler-free while we discuss what we liked, didn’t like, and how this new entry in the “Conjuring Universe” stacks up compared to the others. Also discussed: Fried Barry, Black Roses, Army of the Dead, Eve’s Bayou and The Untamed. TV-wise, we cover Little Marvin’s Them, and in comics we talk about Boom! Studio’s cinematic adaptation of Cullen Bunn’s The Empty Man, Horror Anthology The Silver Coin, and Ed Piskor’s Red Room!
A horrifically new literary podcast from the creators of The Horror Vision!
Join Chris and Shawn as they discuss all things Horror Literature/Comics. This first episode we divulge a bit of what led us to Horror Comics, then dive into a bunch of titles we wholeheartedly recommend.
Here’s what we discuss:
Red Mother (Boom! Studios)
Gates of Hell (Eibon Press)
Homesick Pilots (Image Comics)
Something is Killing the Children (Boom!)
It’s the end of the year (finally), and thus, time for the time-honored tradition of ranking our favorite Horror films from the last 12 months!
Tori spent her October doing the unthinkable – watching ALL 9 seasons of American Horror Story start to finish. Hear her talk about the experience. Ray does a tribute to Drive-ins in cinema with Psycho Beach Party and Chillerama, and Shawn watched The Dark and the Wicked! Plus, Joe R. Lansdale’s The Drive-In, The Driller Killer, Shudder’s WNUF Halloween Special, and a bloody lot more. (Really bloody!)
All right, all you hip horror hounds, it’s time for another groovy Cineray double feature. If you are picking up what I am putting down daddy-o’s, today’s recommendation is a couple of films that celebrate the hay days of 60’s drive-in horror movies with a modern twist. But first, perhaps I should offer a little backstory on how all this got started.
Movie theaters are still shut down here in Cali for the most part. Yours truly and Shawn – who is kind of the Horror Vision podcast group CEO – have recently attended a handful of drive-in presentations. For me, it’s been many years since watching a movie from the car, and these recent experiences have rekindled a lot of great old memories. So in celebration of the drive-in experience, today’s double features are Chillerama and Psycho Beach Party.
Before I get into each movie, let me get into a bit of drive-in trivia and the movies of the drive-in. For those too young to have experienced the drive-in experience or did not have one in your area, the drive-in is a pretty different experience from the theater. For one thing, you are in a car with whomever you have come with and are somewhat isolated from the other patrons. This isolation allows you to make comments or even talk during the movie without worrying about bothering other parties (But not too much, Ray! – Shhh!ing Shawn).
The Drive-in was also known as a popular make-out spot, something which both films I will talk about today showcase. And there was a particular type of cinema that thrived at the drive-in. These films were second-run, independent ones, not the big, new releases that played at the then-burgeoning multiplexes. So giant monster movies and the more schlocky or cheesy movies were the more popular fare. Therefore, I wanted to make both films I recommend today homages to that time and those types of films.
First up is Chillerama, a horror anthology featuring the directing talent of Adam Rifkin, Bear McCreary, Adam Green, Joe Lynch, and Tim Sullivan. The connection to the drive-in is both the setting, the framing device, and the subjects of the short films within the film.
The wrap-around or ‘framing’ story surrounds a group of characters at the drive-in for the last night before it is closed and demolished to watch a presentation called Chillerama, a set of short films we as an audience watch along with them, checking in between films to see their story as it unfolds.
The first story in Chillerama is a giant monster movie called Wadzilla, followed by I Was a Teenage Werebear, a monster movie called Diary of Anne Frankenstein, and the wrap-around story called Zom-b-movie. All of the shorts are filled with humor that verges on parody. Sometimes the jokes get a bit juvenile, but ultimately they are all gruesome fun with gobs of modern gore.
Similarly, our second feature, Psycho Beach Party starring Lauren Ambrose and Nicholas Branden, is also infused with a lot of humor. The film centers on Florence, a 16-year-old girl in the 1960s who enjoys going to drive-in movies with her best friend. One night a girl is murdered at the drive-in, and the police investigate. Meanwhile, Florence is invited by the popular Marvel Ann (Amy Adams) to the beach and sees Starcat (Brendan) and his friends surfing. She asks to learn, but they laugh her off. Florence goes to the surf guru the Great Kanaka and, after freaking him out by exhibiting an alternate personality, intimidates him into teaching her. While the bodies pile up, Florence earns the nickname Chicklet as her surfing improves, and she experiences more strange episodes.
These films are enjoyable without any prior knowledge of the genres referenced but even more so with said knowledge. It’s worth your time and enjoyment to watch some old horror movies for those looking for some of that knowledge. Particularly giant monster movies like Them, Tarantula, or similar giant monster movies, Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, the early zombie movies of George Romero, I was a Teenage Werewolf and the teenage Beach movies of Annette Funicello. Knowing these films enhances your perspective of how well these movies reference the material and help with some of the more subtle jokes. The first time I watched Chillerama, I only liked it a bit; however, after viewing a lot more of the material it references, I enjoyed it a whole lot more.
Finally, if nothing else, I hope these films serve as a jumping-off point to consider more of the classic cinema that has become the road some of our beloved movies have walked down. The filmmakers who made movies like Hatchet and Mayhem that we love now grew up on these older movies and informed who they are and what they created. Also, consider finding where your nearest drive-in is and having a night at the drive-in. Besides the other great attributes I already listed, drive-ins usually feature double features and allow you to bring in your own refreshments, which is a tremendous deal over the theater experience. Both of these movies can be found on Prime video, Chillerama is free, but you will have to rent Psycho Beach Party.
One thing this past Halloween really highlighted for me is the fact that there is an abundance of short films in the Horror Genre, and as such, there are more vehicles out there to deliver them to us than I’d ever realized. This includes fests, but also, there are shorts on Shudder, Amazon Prime, umbrellaed within series on streaming services, and online. After attending Joe Bobs Haunted Drive-In on October 27th, I formulated a plan to begin seeking these out and posting them here in a new column.
Welcome to The Short Version!
With the help of The Horror Vision’s new Facebook Discussion Group – I’ve been falling down a bit of an Internet Rabbit Hole on Horror Shorts. Here then, are some of the most recent shorts I’ve seen or trailers for series that host them. Seek this stuff out – there are often times when I don’t have enough time to watch a full flick, and Shorts can deliver the same intensity and wonderment that a full-length does.
To start, here’s what I considered the best of the short films I saw on October 27th at Joe Bob’s Haunted Drive-In:
Next, here are some I’ve found or been pointed at by fellow Horror Vision Discussionairies (yes, I totally just made that word right the hell up. Deal with it!)
Blight was directed by FX gurus Kate Walshe and Christopher Goodman.
Miners Mountain was written and directed by Bennett Pellington. There’s a Part Two in the works, the trailer for which can be viewed HERE.
Next, here are the trailers to two shows I stumbled across on Amazon Prime lately. The First, By Night: Origins is the first in what I hope will be more seasons of an anthology show, each episode unique unto itself and very different in tone and
The Second, a Spanish-produced anthology that continually sees the same actors and creators making low budget but very well executed Horror shorts:
I don’t know much about either By Night: Origins or From Beyond the series, however, both are short enough seasons to knock out in little time, and both definitely pressed the “Happy Horror Joy Buzzer” in me.
More next time in The Short Version! See you then.
Hey fiends! So Halloween has come and gone, and if you were like me, it was somewhat uneventful while you sat at home being safe. But maybe you are not ready to let the season go by quite just yet. So why not take in a couple of great anthologies that are perfect for saying goodbye for the season with Scare Package and Tales of Halloween.
Scare Package is a fun anthology of horror shorts all tied together by a couple of framing devices and tons of fun horror and gore. The film is not just an homage to the horror genre but is also how most horror fans over the age of 30 were first introduced to horror movies, the local video store. The film’s primary framing device is Rad Chad’s video store, where the stories usually have their genesis as either a story or a videotape being played or discussed. Rad Chad is the know-it-all horror guy, and Sam is one of his customers, the attention-seeking horror nerd. Later Chad acknowledges his role as a know-it-all horror guy and that he is a part of a horror movie. Most of the characters in the meta situations are easily recognizable in horror, and the way they are used and displayed is comic and fun.
Many genres of horror are referenced, and usually, every short references more than one. From slashers to monsters to devil worshippers to body melt to black government scientists, so many troupes are referenced and made fun of but in the most loving of ways. The people involved in this love horror movies and wanted to create something that showed that love. There is a fun reference early on to a horror icon who later makes a cameo as a character. Among some of my favorite moments are a short involving body melt and a secret government experiment. There is also a wrap-around framing device and an entertaining character in it.
Tales of Halloween is a lot less meta but still pays its share of homage while utilizing a more cemented location and a fun run start to finish. The film takes place on Halloween in a suburban town. A local DJ, played by Adrienne Barbeau, narrates and is heard throughout the film when characters listen to the radio. For fans of the Fog, you will live the use of Barbary. Some of the stories are very horror focused while others are horror-comedy. Among the genres referenced are urban legends, vengeful ghosts, devils and imps, slashers, aliens, witches, and demons. I tend to like the more comedic, but a couple took me by surprise with their twists.
I think the order of Scare Package and then Tales of Halloween is the better choice because of how the stories are presented. Scare Package tends to ramp up and even ends with a bang. Continuing with Tales of Halloween is a good way to end the night because it’s almost a cool down and all of the tales take place on Halloween night. If you feel ambitious or just have lots of time, you could always make this a triple feature with Trick-r-Treat if you did not already watch it this past Halloween season. I would probably place it right between the two or after Tales of Halloween, but that one I will leave for you to decide.
Finally, both Scare Package and Tales of Halloween are available on Shudder, where I suggest watching them. For one, they are both conveniently streaming in one place, so whether you are watching from a computer or smart tv you can stay in one application. Tales of Halloween is on the main page under a Shudder Halloween and Scare Package is in the separate category Exclusive and Original. But I would recommend looking up the Last Drive-In presentation of Scare Package just to add another element of fun with Joe Bob Briggs.