Artist Travis Falligant got hooked on horror at a young age like the rest of us, with the original Scooby-Doo movies. After years now creating artwork and graphics for HorrorHound magazine and consistently updating his blog and store with great character art, he has created a unique new series.
Travis Falligant’s “New Scooby-Doo Movies” brings the gang back together for a great art series, forcing our meddling old pals to come face to face with some modern day monsters. An idea so great in its simplicity and full of endless possibilities, it is no wonder this unique work is appearing everywhere online, drawing Falligant attention from horror luminaries such as Wes Craven, Rob Zombie, and Bryan Fuller.
In a recent interview with our friends at iHorror.com, the artist says “The Scooby Doo series started with me rewatching the old cartoons and wanting to see the gang go up against my fave horror icons. I use screen grabs of certain scenes and of the Scooby gang in various poses. I then illustrate the new monster/slasher/villain they are going up against, trying to stay in the style of the old artwork used in the series. I finally marry all of those elements in Photoshop and add grain and blur to the images so they look as though they were scenes taken straight from the show.”
He has no plans to sell these amusing pieces, as he uses the original artwork in this labor of love which was solely created for the amusement of online junkies like us! He encourages you to download and share these pieces around, use them as wallpapers, generally enjoy them!
However, many of his other horror-themed pieces are available to wear, look at and lay on top of at his RedBubble store.
He is continuing the series and has some surprises in store for Scoob and the gang in the future.
Their latest adventure is called “The Terrible Texas Terror”- Scooby and the gang travel to Texas to compete in the state chili cook-off and run afoul of the Sawyer family, a kooky bunch of locals with a secret in their sauce…
Stay tuned to Travis Falligant’s blog and Facebook page for more updates!
I can’t wait to see the next Scooby Doo Lost Mysteries!
Who would you like to see appear in upcoming works?
When I was growing up in the 1980s, anything “retro” obviously meant a throwback to the generations before I was born, which didn’t mean a lot back then. I was your typical self-centered child, who believed that history started on the day I was born.
Now, all these years later and just slightly wiser, the term retro brings me right back to those childhood days of secretly watching horror VHS tapes, collecting Garbage Pail Kids and melting the heads of my G.I.Joes.
Nowadays, I fall for anything that reminds me of that sweet sweet wasted youth…
Suddenly, along comes the Strange Kids Club, with an idea that combines all of the things I lovingly reminisced about above. They have successfully evoked a strange neo-nostalgia for the whole time period!
They have set about creating an original new series of monster-themed trading cards to make all of us greying geeks giddy with excitement. The series is called “Closet Monsters” and boasts designs from a wide array of some of the best horror artists working right now!
Updated with new monsters weekly, the plan is for this unique collection of monsters to eventually be printed as physical trading cards!
Check out the collection below of some of my favorites in their current line-up, complete with amusing stories behind why each of them came to be hiding in your closet.
Be sure and swing by The Strange Kids Club website to check them all out!
Also, I have linked to current pages for all of the artists who have worked on this project, and just in researching this post, I have discovered some new and fantastic artists here.
So do yourself a favor and follow those links and do some good old-fashioned web-surfing.
There are some seriously fantastic, subversive, and unique artists on this project.
You won’t regret it!
“Boogary Bill” by Lou Rusconi.
“Compiled of all your nose pickings that are flung about, this creature has pulled himself together to form one being: BOOGARY BILL! Nothing to fear from Bill, look, has all of your favorites toys and just wants to PLAY!!!”
“Count Vonrape” by Makinita. “Not much is known about the Count, aside for his Snuffleupagus fetish, a flair for the theatrical and an obsession with numbers. For the most part the Count prefers to hide in the shadows, counting his many victims and dreaming of one day making it to Broadway.”
“Flloyd comes from a distant planet. Classified as garbage he was dumped on Earth to fend for himself. Sadly he didn’t really understand the human art of “Wearing Clothes.” He’s always looking for a new ‘suit.’”
“Referred to as a ‘Penanggalan’ due to a resemblance to the flying vampire-head creature from Southeast Asian mythology, this Closet Monster is actually more of a Cthuhlu/Gieger/8th Dimension sort of devil-spawn. It floats around, scaring the begeebus out of people, forcing them to look for hidden genitalia, and generally getting up to no good.”
“Hansel is a tobacco chewing leprechaun that was cursed from drinking stagnant water from a tainted wishing well. He lost his arm to a goat and then traveled to the future to have a robot arm installed. Today, with his stick of justice, he seeks the goat that took his arm. He’s also a Shriner.”
“Eech & Fangface” by Eric Pigors.
“EECH & FANGFACE live 6 feet under, down at Rotting Caskets Funeral Home where they take care of the freshly buried corpses. Well… in their own sick way, which is stacking them up inside their hide out, underground coffin #13. They like reading to their newly decayed friends, especially their favorite spooky book,’GHOULISHLY GHASTLY DEADTIMES STORIES’ from their creator UNKLE PIGORS.”
“When a certain thrash metal cassette (Slayer) is inserted into his back, mild mannered Teddy transforms into a maggot-ridden monster from Hell! Attacking the other toys he finds in the closet, Deadly dismembers them and uses them as his trophies.”
“A poor fellow who went insane after playing too many zombie video games, Intes-Stan now thinks he IS a zombie. He is confused however, and eats his own guts instead of munching on hapless victims, making him a perfectly safe and fun playtime companion!”
“Kreap was once a violent demon with powerful horns. In an epic battle the magical ice cream wizard of Neptune saved the universe by turning those horns into ice cream cones. Without his horns Kreap was unable to keep up his pitch-black aura and his evil powers vanished. The curse that the mighty wizard brought upon him left him unable to return to the demonworld. Candy and the color pink are not very popular over there. He now wanders through the shadows trying to find a way to lift his curse. His revenge will be served ice cold.”
“Time makes monsters of us all. Especially if that time is spent drinking windex and freebasing flea powder. This bunny had it all: adorable fluff, a great catch phrase. But that all melted away and left nothing behind but a hideous ghoul. When this bunny finally OD’ed he went straight to hell, then was immediately kicked out when they found him snorting up all of the lava and brimstone. Now he wanders the earth, scouring children’s closets for his next fix. Maybe he’ll find it in that juicy skull of yours!”
“Wretch Armgone is all that is left of your beloved Stretch Armstrong. Once a favorite beloved toy, Wretch has been transformed, deep in the recesses of your closet, into a rotting, goo-spilling toy-corpse bent on revenge! You should have taken better care of him, because now he’s going to take care of you.”
“Pumpkin carvers beware! This freaky, knobby skinned creature can be found roaming around in gourd patches among the pumpkins, which he considers family. When eager children come to pick out a Jack O’ Lantern the Gourd Goblin instantly goes nuts, jumping out from his hole with ferocious speed and razor sharp claws to rip each kid’s face off and paste it on one of his pumpkin pals.”
“Ron, a once top tier elementary school cafeteria worker respected by parents for developing a healthy lunch program for the students. Until one day when the kids revolted and a quickly escalated melon balling fight went out of control leaving Ron with the loss of his lower mobility. Due to severe cutbacks, no wheelchair could be provided to Ron but instead an old bathtub long abandoned by the phys ed department.
With no one to take control of the kids dietary needs the school moved in another direction; installing deep fryers. After years of exposure to the grease, Ron’s body is now covered in self erupting zits and he wears a mask to hide his true emotions. He is now referred by the children as Ron Pussman.”
“My name is ZombieYeti and this is my self portrait. I imagine if I were stuffed in a closet I would have to pee in the closet if there were no bathroom.* I also like circus peanuts. *This is in fact the truth. I tried it shortly after writing this.”
“Billy Skinsuit” by Trevor Henderson.
“Billy Skinsuit is a tiny, mummified corpse that lives like a parasite! He infests various creatures around the galaxy and wears their slowly decomposing corpses as suits!
He does this to use their vital fluids to rejuvenate his shriveled and puny body, and to get close to his next victim. If you find Billy in your closet, you should feel very special! He’s traveled a long way to see how it feels to experience life in your skin!”
“Billy is your everyday, average spawn of Satan who decided the 5th wasn’t fun enough for him- so now he lives in random kids closets, terrorizing youngsters late at night- waking them up with scratching at the closet doors—slowly opening the doors to reveal his crimson smile, and dark, dark empty eye holes.
Fun Fact: Bloody Billy’s shoes aren’t actually shoes but are his actual feet. Oddly enough, one foot prefers to eat rats….and the other foot, baby humans.”
“Little Ike Rust always had a runny nose and crusty eyes. He was constantly teased at school for his sniffling, eye rubbing, and general oozing appearance.
One morning Ike Rust woke up with a case of eye crust so bad that his eyes were stuck shut. The children of the town all pointed and laughed as he stumbled down the street searching for someone to tell him where he was. Blinded by eye crust, Ike Rust wandered into what he thought was a doctor’s office, but actually turned out to be a cave full of hungry bears. And while the bears did test and treat Ike for several of his diseases and infections, they also ate him.
Now the ghost of little Ike Rust and his eye crust seeks his revenge. Waiting in your closet until you get up to pee in the middle of the night, Ike Rust sneaks over to your bed, rubs his eye crust on your blankets, steals your eye drops, and farts on your pillow.
So when you lie in bed late at night and hear a faint noise in the distance that sounds like: “Ah! My eyes are so itchy!” You’d better hold it in, because Ike Rust may be waiting to share his crusty eye infection with you.”
“Pikkels are known to dwell in moist, damp closets, living off the fungus growing on their backs and shoulders. These monsters prefer closets with lots of secrets, so it’s best to keep your stash somewhere else, unless you want it covered in Pikkel juice.”
“Soozey feeds on every nasty thought you’ve ever had, every guilty pleasure that you’ve hidden inside a dirty box and forgot all about, but soon enough she’ll be able to escape from the closet, and the only thing to satisfy her appetite will be the same filthy brain that created her. Yes, the one inside your skull!”
“Johnny’s parents asked him where he’d been getting his new toys. When he answered, ‘My closet.’ his parents scolded him for lying. ‘I’m not lying!,’ Johnny proclaimed. ‘The funny man in my closet gave them to me. He said it makes him happy.’”
“The failed first attempt by toymaker Aleister Rothman to create a living, breathing “doll” to compete against Xavier Roberts’ popular line of Cabbage Patch Kids, Double Dewey was the result of a malicious ex-assistant’s reprisal. After being fired by Rothman the sour subordinate poured a vial of his former employer’s “Creature Serum” into Dewey’s test tube and the resulting monstrosity was hidden from public view in the second bedroom of Aleister’s condo. Poor Double Dewey – will he ever know the outside world?”
“Pumpers was once actually a magical elf who helped fix people’s shoes until the day he decided to fix the neighborhood’s 10 year old miscreant: Blottnickel. Blottnickel thought it would be funny to trap poor little Pumpers inside the shoe he was selflessly trying to fix, and then stick in the microwave for a good 30 minutes.
Pumpers who had then become a radioactive bubbling blob, slithered away and hid inside another pair of Blottnickel’s shoes, patiently awaiting his moment of revenge. However, before Pumpers could react, Blottnickel thrust his foot into the shoe, squashing the radioactive slime that Pumpers had become. Immediately they fused into one single hideous, radioactive, mutant being known simply as Pumpers Blottnickel.
Today, Pumpers Blottnickel can usually be found leaking and pulsating in closets with old worn-out shoes.”
“There have been many different tales told of this particular gaming system. Some say it’s host to a 1,000 year old evil genie. Others claim it’s possessed by the angry spirit of a worker who was crushed on the assembly line. Still others say it was just “born” evil. The only thing anyone really knows is that anyone who plays it gets a disturbing phone call from the 1-900 Pretendo hotline and dies seven days later.”
“The unwanted remnant of a past lunch, a lone pickle lies buried within the dank and odorous closet in its skull emblazoned lunchbox tomb. The unique chemistry of putrid undergarments and a rotten vinegar soaked cucumber gives rise to the unmentionable Salty Pickens. Armed with a spatula and improper attire, he longs to join humanity… By replacing you!”
Hellraiser has spawned eight sequels over the years, not including the piece of trash Revelations, and has made “Pinhead” one of the most iconic of all the horror villains of all time.
It has one of the biggest cult followings ever and has actually influenced our culture in more ways than one. Many people will tell you that they like Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 better and actually prefer it over the first Hellraiser film. Then again, many people will also tell you that the first film is by far superior.
I find myself stuck somewhere in the middle. I don’t feel that either film is better or worse than the other. I tend to think of this film as more of a great companion piece to the first Hellraiser. It is the only one in the series that continues the story of its predecessor and it is the start of the ever growing mythology that has become the Hellraiser universe.
The film once again stars Clare Higgins as Julia and Ashley Laurence as Kirsty. The newcomers are Kenneth Cranham as Dr. Channard and Imogen Boorman as Tiffany. Pinhead is played by Doug Bradley, Chatterer by Nicholas Vince, the female Cenobite by Barbie Wilde, and Butterball by Simon Bamford.
“We have eternity to know your flesh.”
The first Hellraiser film gave us the love story of Julia and Frank and the “super butcher” order, also known as the Cenobites. Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 puts the tragic story of Julia and Frank on the back burner and changes gears a little, favoring to focus more on the Cenobites themselves. As viewers we get to see just how “Pinhead” was created and also get to see a new Cenobite being created as well.
The film is a direct continuation of Hellraiser. In fact, the beginning of Hellbound is the ending of Hellraiser. After Kirsty defeats the Cenobites and sends them back to the labyrinths of Hell, she is sent to a mental institution where she meets Dr. Channard. With the exception of a single doctor, his colleagues and a police detective, not believing a word of her fantastical story, assume she has lost her mind. She almost wonders herself after having a vision of what she thinks is her skinned father appearing in her room, and with a bloody fingertip writes the words, “I am in Hell help me.”
This begins her voyage to Hell and save her father.
It turns out Dr. Channard wants to embark on a voyage of his own. We see throughout the film he has been obsessed with “the box” and the pleasure and pain aspect it synonymously represents. He has the mattress that Julia died on delivered directly to his home. What unfolds is actually one of my favorite scenes in the film. Dr. Channard brings a patient, known as Mr. Browning, to his home from the mental ward. The acting here given by Oliver Smith, is second to none. This is one of those scenes you won’t soon forget. The patient is restrained by a traditional straight jacket and constantly repeats the words, “Get them off me, get them off me!” Releasing the patient from his restraints, Dr. Channard sets Mr. Browning on the mattress and gives him a straight razor to relieve himself from his mental affliction. Mr. Browning then cuts himself repeatedly from chest to groin. That’s when we see a skinless Julia rise from the mattress, and after a short struggle, consumes the patient much in the same way Frank did his victims in the first film. What follows is a unique journey from the maze like corridors of the labyrinth of hell and back.
“Our mind is a labyrinth.”
Just like the first Hellraiser, this film is packed with highly quotable lines, from beginning to end. Tony Randel did a masterful job of creating Hell on celluloid, particularly how he makes Hell seem “personalized.” We get a glimpse of Frank’s Hell, and I must say, it is quite suiting. We learn from the first film that Frank is a lustful being always looking to satisfy his every sexual desire. There are small arch ways on each side of his room in his personal part of Hell. Inside each hole is a sliding table with writhing, voluptuous women moaning in ecstasy, that he is completely unable to touch or even see outside of the sheet that has been placed on each. If he tries to remove the sheet, there is nothing there anymore, only a slab where the womanly shape had been. Frank’s quote regarding this is wonderful. “This is my Hell. They are here to tease me. They promise forever and never deliver.”
“Oh my God!” “No, this is mine. God of flesh, hunger, desire. My God Leviathan, Lord of the Labyrinth.”
When the film was released, screenwriter Peter Atkins received loads of hate mail from fans that were outraged that “Pinhead” and his three Cenobite cohorts, were so easily defeated in their battle. Peter Atkins said it was because they had become “spiritually weakened” by Kirsty when she reminded them that they were once human, while Dr. Channard had already completely left his humanity behind. A lot of people who have seen Hellbound multiple times complain of a somewhat muddled storyline.
One main reason is because Andrew Robinson refused to reprise his role as Larry Cotton, which forced hasty script rewritings. Andrew has stated that he withdrew himself from the production because he was told he would be making less in Hellbound than he did in Hellraiser.
If you’re a long time fan as I am, you’ll remember an image on the back of the original VHS jacket depicted Pinhead and the female Cenobite dressed as doctors. There are some that think this had become a deleted scene. Doug Bradley enlightened long time fans on his official website by stating that the scene had never been filmed, nor completed. The day they were to shoot that scene, the special effects were not working properly and eventually it was decided that the scene be abandoned.
Tony Randel made an excellent decision by bringing back Christopher Young for the soundtrack. He did such a masterful job in Hellraiser and it actually became a highlight of the first film. He does such a great job of showing us balance in his score, a mix of beauty and terror, light and dark. He even went so far as to incorporate morse code for “GOD” with Tibetan horns when Leviathan is first shown.
I have had the absolute pleasure in chatting with both Nicholas Vince (Chatterer) and Barbie Wilde (Deepthroat). They are both great actors and are both authors that have recently published books, all with fantastic success and excellent reviews and they have taken time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions for me.
Barbie Wilde interview :
Death by Stereo: The Cenobite you play ultimately became known as “Deep Throat.” Is this a nickname that happened on set during filming? Or was it created by fans of the films?
Barbie Wilde: “Deep Throat” is the nickname that the Image Animation makeup crew gave to the Female Cenobite character. If you look at the credits from the first film, Pinhead was “Lead Cenobite”, Chatterer was “Chattering Cenobite”, Butterball was “Butterball Cenobite”, etc. By the time the second film rolled around, the decision was made to give the Cenobites their makeup crew names for the credits. However, the American production company thought that “Deep Throat” was too rude to use in the credits (because of the notorious 1972 film, Deep Throat, starring Linda Lovelace), so I was lumbered with the rather dull name of Female Cenobite.
Death by Stereo: Did you do anything specific to prepare for the role?
Barbie Wilde: I read Clive Barker’s novella, The Hellbound Heart, as preparation for the role. The makeup and the costume were really helpful as well. Looking into the mirror and seeing myself as a Female Cenobite for the first time was really empowering.
Death by Stereo: Were you ever asked to reprise the role of the Female Cenobite in any of the subsequent films?
Barbie Wilde: The whole production moved to Hollywood and Doug Bradley was the only Cenobite who was asked to come on board.
Death by Stereo: Do you have a favorite Hellraiser film?
Barbie Wilde: I’ve only seen the first two. I love the first Hellraiser movie. I think that the character of Julia is absolutely brilliant. All that twisted sexual obsession for bad boy Frank! And of course, the first time the Cenobites enter is a pretty gobsmacking moment. Of course, a lot of fans prefer Hellbound, as it delves into the Cenobite-Hellraiser mythology in more detail.
Death by Stereo: Clive Barker has recently said that he is very interested in remaking the first Hellraiser film. Would you be interested in appearing once again as a Cenobite for the remake should Clive ask?
Barbie Wilde: If Clive wanted me to be in a Hellraiser reboot, then who am I to say no?! Of course, I’d love to appear in anything that Clive was involved in.
Death by Stereo: How did you get the part of the Female Cenobite?
Barbie Wilde: My acting agent was approached by Doreen Jones, the Casting Director of Hellbound. I met with Tony Randel and I got the part. It was probably one of the easiest auditions I’ve ever gone to! And who knows, maybe Tony was impressed that I knew what the word “cenobite” meant. (It means a member of an order.) He thought it was a word that Clive had made up.
Death by Stereo: What was your favorite experience/memory on the set?
Barbie Wilde: The camaraderie behind the scenes. We all spent a heck of a lot of time being prepared for our roles in makeup and costume: my prosthetic makeup took four hours to apply; I think Doug’s took five hours; Ken Cranham’s took six. We kept our spirits up by telling stories, singing (I know all the hits from Cabaret) and dancing. There is some footage up on Youtube of Simon “Butterball” Bamford doing the CanCan in his costume. Fabulous!
Here’s Part One of the Hellbound behind-the scenes video filmed by Geoff Portass:
And here’s Part Two:
Also, I’ll never forget my first day of filming. My flight back from the States was delayed 24 hours, so I had to go straight from the airport to Pinewood Studios, then sit in the makeup chair for four hours, get into costume, then wait around for six hours until I got in front of the cameras to film the first big Cenobite scene in Channard’s study. By that time, I was not only jet-lagged and exhausted by not having any sleep for 24 hours, but my mental state was altered beyond belief. I really did feel like a demon from hell!
Death by Stereo: What are you working on these days?
Barbie Wilde: I’m writing a screenplay based on one of my short stories, ‘Zulu Zombies’, which appeared in Fangoria’s Gorezone #29, as well as the anthology, Bestiarum Vocabulum, which is published by Western Legends.
I will be appearing (for the first time in 16 years) in a brilliantly written, unusual British horror anthology movie called Bad Medicine, written by Amazon #1 horror author Dave Jeffery. I’ll be playing an unconventional therapist. I’m also co-writing a musical drama for both stage and screen called Sailor. It’s about love, revenge, death and redemption, set in the ruins of post-War Marseille.
Death by Stereo: Your book The Venus Complex is getting rave reviews all across the board, including our review here at Horror Homework. Do you prefer writing as opposed to acting, and why?
Barbie Wilde: I love writing, although it’s not an easy process for me. I can’t really compare acting and writing – they are so different. (Yet at the same time, complement each other perfectly.) I’m excited to be acting in a movie again after all these years, but I’m equally excited to be writing a movie screenplay.
Death by Stereo: Is there anything you’d like to say to all of the Hellraiser fans out there?
Barbie Wilde: A big “thanks!” to all the fans who have loved Clive Barker’s Hellraiser mythology. It’s a testament to Clive’s genius that people are still intrigued by this most imaginative and seductive of horror stories.
For news, reviews, interviews and convention appearances, you can check out Barbie’s website here, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!
To check out Barbie’s books and stories, please go to her Amazon USA Author Page.
Nicholas Vince interview :
Death by Stereo: Your makeup is considerably different from the first film. I saw an interview regarding the first film and you mentioned the makeup process, when finished, was tough to see through. Was the change solely for you to be able to see better?
Nicholas Vince: There was a combination of things. It really was a tough makeup to wear, akin to sensory deprivation as I couldn’t hear, speak or see when wearing the original makeup. So, the guys at Image animation suggested making alterations. Also there were sequences in Hellbound where Chatterer was running after Kirsty down the corridors under the Channard institute. Obviously, I’d need to be able to see to do those. We filmed them but they didn’t make the final cut.
Death by Stereo: Did you have any say so in the final look of the character on the second go round?
Nicholas Vince: Nope. I was just happy to be able to see.
Death by Stereo: Did you do anything specific to prepare for the role?
Nicholas Vince: Just the same as when I played him the first time – chattering my teeth to the bathroom mirror.
Death by Stereo: Were you ever asked to reprise the Chatterer role in any of the subsequent films?
Nicholas Vince: They were all filmed in the USA and I wasn’t asked.
Death by Stereo: Do you have a favorite Hellraiser film?
Nicholas Vince: Hellraiser and Hellbound. Hellraiser, as it’s a domestic drama with monsters and Hellbound for Kenneth Cranham’s wonderfully creepy Dr. Channard.
Death by Stereo: Working on the first and second Hellraiser, what was different for you in regards to taking direction from Clive and Tony?
Nicholas Vince: I’d not met Tony before, whereas I’d known Clive for years. They also had a very different style.
Death by Stereo: I’ve heard you say you actually had an accident on set with a large hook. Can you tell us about that?
Nicholas Vince: We were filming the sequence where Chatterer is hit in the chest by a tentacle fired from Channard’s palm. I was standing in front of a spinning pillar and at the top was a piece of wood sticking out with a chain and 12” rusty hook – a rice hook I think. As I opened my mouth to scream, the point of the hook went between the false teeth and into the roof of my mouth. It only went in about 1/4” so it was very lucky I was wearing the false teeth or it might have been a lot nastier.
Death by Stereo: Clive Barker has recently said that he is very interested in remaking the first Hellraiser film. Would you be interested in appearing once again as a Cenobite for the remake should Clive ask?
Nicholas Vince: If Clive asked, I’d probably walk into a cage full of lions. No, strike that, probably bad to give him ideas. Yes, whatever Clive asked me, I’d probably do it.
Death by Stereo: What was your favorite experience/memory on the set?
Nicholas Vince: Just being back with the gang who’d made Hellraiser and then meeting Barbie Wilde.
Death by Stereo: You have had excellent success with What Monsters Do and Other People’s Darkness, both have great reviews have been well received. Do you prefer writing to acting? Why?
Nicholas Vince: I prefer to doing everything possible. Acting gets me out of the house and it’s really interesting to work with other people’s words, and other actors. I find it very inspiring. At the same time, I love writing. I always wish I was doing more, but as I’m an author publisher, I spend a fair amount of time concentrating on marketing the books etc. And walking the dog.
Death by Stereo: Did you read Clive’s novella, The Hellbound Heart, prior to working on the film?
Nicholas Vince: I suspect I will have read the book after making the film as I have a memory of reading the standalone version, but honestly, I’m not sure.
Death by Stereo: Is there anything you’d like to say to all of the Hellraiser fans out there?
Nicholas Vince: Yes, thank you! It’s been an amazing couple of decades and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of you in a couple of weeks at Texas Frightmare and later at Atlantic City. And, I’m also looking forward to the 30th anniversary of Hellraiser in 3 years time.
So that’s it Hellraiser fans! Be sure to check out Nicholas Vince’s and Barbie Wilde’s official websites for great Hellraiser memorabilia and upcoming projects. Be sure to friend all the Cenobites for the most current news and places they will be.
Nicholas Vince even does Google chats with fans on occasion! Until next time hellions!
By 1981, shortly after the birth of the slasher genre, it was already ripe for parody.
In came Student Bodies, to fill that void.
Filmed quickly during the writers strike at the time, producer/director Michael Ritchie was forced to use the notorious pseudonym Allen Smithee. The uncredited writing team of Mickey Rose and Jerry Belson are actually successful at making the movie pretty damn funny, mostly thanks to some great one-liners and oddball ideas.
Filled with rapid fire gags and pot-shots at the obvious tropes of the genre, this entertaining flick gave us the very first “horror comedy”!
The story follows the footsteps of a killer known as “The Breather”, shown mostly in Halloween-style first person view along with the sounds of his ridiculously heavy breathing.
The killer is stalking the students of Lamab High School, ridding them of the harlots and bimbos, and no one seems to know who he is.
We are introduced to Toby, the obvious Jamie Lee Curtis final girl stand-in, and her slutty friends. The killer makes ominous phone calls to the victims, hissing his threats through a rubber chicken, you know, to disguise his voice. The film makers even give us an on-screen body count, and various hints at who the suspects may be.
Everyone is a suspect, from the principal to the nurses to the horsehead-obsessed woodshop teacher, and especially the goofy double-jointed janitor.
The Breather even breaks the fourth wall at one point, speaking directly to us, the audience, complete with drum rolls : Hello, it’s me, The Breather. You’re probably wondering who I am. Who could I be? Could I be the innocent looking Toby? Would you trust a girl who looked like Prince Valiant in a plum sweater? Maybe I’m Dr. Sigmund; a man who was once arrested for corrupting the morals of a hooker. Then there’s Malvert; with an I.Q. of a handball and the personality of a parking meter: violated! Could I be the principal Mr. Peters; a man who keeps cheese in his underwear to attract mice? Let’s not forget Ms. Leclair; English teacher by day and English teacher by night. Ah, Miss Mumsley; She’s eats 12 prunes a day and nothing happens. Nurse Krud and Ms. Van Dyke; what’s in a name? Everything! And then there Dumpkin; a man who sleeps with nuts in between horsehead bookends.
The gags are all over the place, and they stick more often than not.
Some very memorable lines and sound effects get some good laughs. This is goofball humor along the lines of other 80s comedies like Airplane and The Kentucky Fried Movie, with a horror theme.
The kills range from death by paperclip to chalkboard eraser, and all of the male victims are put in trash bags to suffocate.
The off-the-wall sense of humor drips from every scene.
Along with fart jokes and blatant references to then-current horror flicks like Halloween, Friday the 13th and Carrie, the writers even throw in some Laurel and Hardy inspired dialogue :
Toby: Who could have done these murders? Hardy: I don’t know. It could have been anybody. Toby: Well, it can’t be ANYbody. It’s gotta be somebody. Hardy: Of course it’s somebody, but that somebody could be anybody. Toby: Well, look, we didn’t do it, right? Hardy: Right. Toby: So you can’t say it could be anybody. WE’RE anybody. Hardy: True, but we’re also somebody.
The film was released to a disappointing reception in the theaters, but went on to gain cult status after multiple repeats on late night cable TV, since it featured no nudity or profanity and very little on-screen violence.
In fact, the hilarious scene below was shot and inserted into the film just to secure the R-rating for the theatrical run. Seriously.
It even ends on a series of trick endings, running the gamut of well-worn genre tropes, very insightful for the time.
All in all, Student Bodies is a fun and funny throwback to the 80s!
Check it out on Amazon Streaming.
You’ll never guess who the killer really is…
Thanks to Fangoria‘s recent effort to get some lost classics back up on big screens, I got the opportunity to check out Silent Night Deadly Night at my local theater last night.
When this film released in 1984, it caused a huge controversy with it’s ad campaign. The image of Santa Claus weilding an axe scarred so many impressionable little minds upon the release.
You have to think back to the 80s (or imagine them for you youngsters) when the entertainment choices presented to you were just a fraction of what we have easily in our grasp these days. You had only a few channels on the TV to choose from, and a severely limited choice of programming on those channels.
So pretty much all of America was watching the same channel when those commercials appeared, and caused a huge uproar.
The advertising campaign was so controversial, in fact, complete with protests and picketing, that TriStar Pictures pulled all ads for the film six days after its release. And later, they pulled the film from theaters to appease angry parents.
As you might expect, the film didn’t get a ringing endorsement from other critics. It is easy to forget how slasher movies were often thought as so awful at the time as to be barely a step up from pornography. Such was the hatred of slasher movies by 1984, many local critics simply refused to review them.
Siskel & Ebert got in on the bashing of the film, calling it “sick and sleazy and mean-spirited”. They even go so far as to condemn the movie as one of the “most contemptible films ever made” and try to publicly shame all the producers involved in the making of the film, as you can see in the video below.
The film was later re-released by an independent distributor in the Spring of 1986 with an all-new ad campaign that edited out all close-up shots of Billy in the Santa suit with weapons. The new ad campaign smartly took advantage of the previous controversy, building it up as “the film they didn’t want you to see”!
The movie itself is a wonderfully 80’s hour-and-a-half of goofy fun. It gets off to a great start with a classic opening sequence where 5-year-old Billy is traumatized when his mute paralyzed grandfather starts telling him about Santa Claus punishing naughty kids on Christmas. As soon as Billy’s parents come back in the room, he is silent again, only alive enough to terrorize the child.
Later that night, the family is heading home and has the misfortune to run into a desperate criminal dressed as Saint Nick who punishes Billy’s “naughty” parents right in front of him.
Obviously scarred for life by this ordeal, we see Billy a few years later at a strict Catholic orphanage getting punished by some very nasty nuns.
They even force poor little traumatized Billy to sit on Santa’s lap, which goes over about as well as you would think…
Cut to 1984, and 18-year-old Billy has apparently come to grips with his demons, and gets a job in a toy store. While not exactly a well-adjusted young man, he seems to be getting by in the world, as you can see in this gloriously 80s montage, complete with the forgotten Christmas classic “The Warm side Of The Door”!
Later, during the holiday shopping season, his sleazy boss promotes Billy from stock boy to (you guessed it) department store Santa. Billy’s descent into madness is confirmed later at the toy store’s employee Christmas party. He has a few drinks and losses his shit, and the rest of the film follows Billy’s rampage through the town.
Overall, Silent Night Deadly Night is a fun slasher film, and is well-deserving of it’s re-release treatment!
If you get the chance, definitely check it out on the big screen.
Check the full listings here to see if this holiday classic will be hitting a theater near you.
If you are not lucky enough to see it in theaters, you can find a 2-pack DVD set with the film and it’s (inferior) sequel for just $8.99 here.
Fun for the whole family!
“One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires.”
Remember when vampires were cool? Not these love stricken, glittery, beautiful, girly bitches or so called vampires, but the bad ass motorcycle driving, almost 80’s hair band, wanna eat you kind? With the influx of vampire media flooding the mainstream with things like, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the new Dracula series, Twilight, invading our psyches, it’s possible to forget. Or maybe it isn’t. You ask someone what their favorite vampire movie is and there’s a good chance they will answer with The Lost Boys. There was something about this film that really stood out not only among the 80’s movies in general, but also the continually growing long list of vampire movies and TV shows as a whole. It spawned two direct to video sequels, Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst. Let’s take a look at why this film has withstood as one of America’s favorite vampire films.
“Maggots Michael. You’re eating maggots.”
One of the first things to come to mind is the blend of comedy and horror elements throughout the film. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film does this in such a way that it does not hinder or hold back the horrific scenes in any way. It made vampires fun while still making them terrifying. All throughout are unforgettable one-liners. One of my favorites was when Sam shoots an arrow through the chest of Dwayne, sending the vamp flying back into the stereo, making it and him explode, and Sam saying “Death by stereo!” Yes, that is where my pseudonym comes from. And now you know.
“My own brother, a goddamn shit sucking vampire! You wait ‘till mom finds out buddy!”
The screenplay went through several changes before transforming into what we saw in the theatres and on video. The original screenplay was written by Janice Fischer and James Jeremias and was about 6th grade vampire kids, the frog brothers were chubby cub scouts, and star was originally a boy instead of the love interest she ultimately turned out to be. James Jeremias’ inspiration came from the Peter Pan story. Peter could fly, visited Wendy and her brothers at night, and never grew old. So he asked himself, what if Peter Pan was a vampire? Hence the title, The Lost Boys. Keifer Sutherland’s character, David, was originally named Peter. And there were other nods to Peter Pan in the shape of naming the characters after the children in the story. Many changes took place over a period of time including the names of the people in the script. The Frog brothers, Edgar and Alan, were name after the notorious author of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Executive producer Richard Donner intended to direct the film himself, but as production became sluggish, he moved on to direct Lethal Weapon instead and hired Joel Schumacher to replace him. Joel Schumacher hated the original material and said the only way he would sign on would be if he could change the main characters to teenagers, believing this would be more sexier and interesting overall. The changes were obviously made and what we have left is the final film. The film grossed over $32 million.
“Great! The bloodsucking Brady Bunch!”
There was also a novel written and released to accompany the film by Craig Shaw Gardner, who received a copy of the script to adapt from. It was released in paper back and is 220 pages long. Though a short read, it contains several scenes later dropped from the film such as Michael working as a trash collector to make money to buy his leather jacket. It also expands the roles of the opposing gang, the Surf Nazi’s, who were seen as just nameless victims in the film. It includes several tidbits of vampire lore, such as not being able to cross running water and salt sticking to their forms. It has since become a collector’s item among fans, with a price range of anywhere to $20 for a well read and battered copy, to $150 for copies in good condition.
“Now you know what we are, now you know what you are. You’ll never grow old Michael, and you’ll never die. But you must feed!”
While he may not be the main character, the star of the film has got to be Keifer Sutherland as David. His charismatic character is fun to watch, being a terrifying vampire one minute and sinisterly messing with Michael’s head in the next. Corey Haim’s character, Sam, also brought some comedic relief at times and his interactions with his brother, Jason Patric’s character Michael, in most scenes, were downright funny.
“Bad breath, long fingernails? Yeah his fingernails are a little bit longer, um, he always had bad breath though.”
Now time for the Did You Know part of the article. Kiefer Sutherland was only supposed to wear the black gloves he sports as David when riding his motorcycle. However, while messing around on the bike behind the scenes, he fell off, breaking his arm so he had to wear the gloves throughout the entire movie to cover his cast.
The movie was filmed in Santa Cruz, CA. Santa Cruz in Spanish means “Holy Cross,” which is an interesting connection given the vampire subject matter and their vulnerability to crucifixes.
The Lost Boys was Corey Haim and Corey Feldman’s first film together, which marked the start of a popular 80’s trend “The Two Corey’s” in which they both starred together in a number of teenage films.
The merry-go-round sequence foreshadows the order in which the Lost Boys will die. Marko dies first, Paul second, Dwayne third, and David last.
Edgar Frog predicts how each of the vampires will die saying, “No two vamps die the same way, some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, and some implode.
In the vampires cave you can clearly see a poster of Jim Morrison. He recorded the original version of “People are strange” with The Doors. And later when Star and Laddie are being carried into Sam’s room, you can see a poster of Echo & The Bunnymen who recorded the version of the song used in the film.
David is impaled on a pair of antlers and doesn’t disintegrate like the other vampires. Despite what Max says later, David is not really dead. This was intended to be picked up in the sequel “Lost Girls,” which was scripted, but never made. The Wildstorm comic’s mini-series “The Lost Boys: Reign of the Frogs,” helps bridge the 20 year gap between films. It’s implied that David not only survived the impaling, but went on to create Shane, the head vampire in Lost Boys: The Tribe.
“Holy shit! It’s the attack of Eddie Munster!”
So all in all what do we have? A delightful and memorable vampire romp right out of the 80’s.
“You’re chasing that girl aren’t you? Come on admit it. I’m at the mercy of your sex glands, bud.”
Let me take a brief moment to apologize. I had a short interview with Corey Feldman scheduled for this feature about his experiences on the film and his most memorable moments during filming. But due to his new book releasing and him touring to promote it, the chat got pushed back to some time in November. But don’t worry, it is coming and will be added to the article as soon as it happens.
“Death by stereo!”
The Lost Boys (1987) stars: Jason Patric (Michael Emerson), Kiefer Sutherland (David), Corey Haim (Sam Emerson), Jami Gertz (Star), Corey Feldman (Edgar Frog), Dianne Wiest (Lucy Emerson), Edward Herrmann (Max), Alex Winter (Marko), Billy Wirth (Dwayne), Jamison Newlander (Alan Frog), and Barnard Hughes (Grandpa).
Keep away from Pumpkinhead,
Unless you’re tired of living,
His enemies are mostly dead,
He’s mean and unforgiving,
Laugh at him and you’re undone,
But in some dreadful fashion,
Vengeance, he considers fun,
And plans it with a passion,
Time will not erase or blot,
A plot that he has brewing,
It’s when you think that he’s forgot,
He’ll conjure your undoing,
Bolted doors and windows barred,
Guard dogs prowling in the yard,
Won’t protect you in your bed,
Nothing will, from Pumpkinhead.
Pumpkinhead was the directorial debut of special effects legend Stan Winston.
After years of creating the monsters we all know and love from Aliens, Predator, Monster Squad and many more, he took the reigns to bring us the tale of Pumpkinhead, which was allegedly inspired by the poem above by Ed Justin.
The film stars Lance Henrikson as a proud hillbilly dad who, thirty years prior, witnessed a vengeful monster terrorizing a horrified man. Now in “present day” (1988), his character Ed Harley is all grown up with a child of his own and a tiny general store located in the middle of nowhere.
When a group of irresponsible and cocky college kids decide to stick their necks in his woods, things suddenly go terribly wrong. A terrible dirt bike accident kills Ed’s son, and the guilty college kids panic and take off.
Desperate, Ed seeks out the help of a terrifying old witch named Haggis, who lazily warns him that vengeance will come with a terrible price. She directs him to an old pumpkin patch where he is to dig up a disfigured body and bring it to her. The witch then uses blood from father and son to resurrect the creature’s corpse, and unleashes the demon on the world.
Soon after the demon is conjured, both Ed and his victims are wracked with guilt and regret, but it is too late to stop the monster. In fact, we learn that the only way to stop Pumpkinhead is to kill the summoner as well, as they are slowly becoming one and the same. So, in order for the demon to die, Ed must die as well.
This one has gone on to achieve a cult status, mostly based around the design of the menacing creature. A sequel titled “Pumpkinhead 2 : Blood Wings” went direct-to-video in 1994, and two further sequels were produced for the sci-fi channel in 2006 and 2007.
Also, a comic book series was begun and quickly abandoned in 1994 after publishing only two of the four planned issues.
Some impressive figures have been sculpted over the years of Pumpkinhead the demon, including awesome pieces from McFarlane Toys and Sideshow Collectibles.
Musical tributes to this flick include a great Misfits tune from 1999, and a nod on the just-released “Pagan Holiday” by Harley Poe.
And some nice fan art and re-imagined posters have popped up celebrating this lost classic of the 80s!
This one is a classic, and a must-watch for this time of year!
If you have never seen this overlooked gem, it is time to do your homework!
Get the collector’s edition here, or check it out on streaming Netflix.
No matter how old you are you know who Stephen King is. For him to say, “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker,” speaks volumes.
Hence my introduction to the movie, Hellraiser.
In 1987 Clive Barker had his directorial debut with his film, Hellraiser. Based on his novella The Hellbound Heart: A Novel, the story centers around 4 main characters, Julia, Frank, Larry, and Kirsty.
The film has an originality that is not commonly matched. There are many things that separate this film from other horror movies. Take the story for example, it is essentially a forbidden love story. Even through all its grotesqueness and taboos. Julia ends up having a passionate affair with her to be husband, Larry’s, brother Frank. It is clearly unlike anything she has ever experienced before, hence her willingness to do the unspeakable things she does for the man she lusts for and all his sexual depravity.
But what kind of Hellraiser fan would I be if I didn’t mention everybody’s favorite, the Cenobites. Clive did an amazing job imagining these “super butcher,” denizens of hell. From the costumes, to the ongoing torture of varying degrees, that each one has. Though Clive did not originally name the Cenobites individually, the fans took to these demons and gave them all nicknames that have stuck to this day. “Pinhead,” “Chatterer,” “Deepthroat,” and “Butterball.” The cenobite imagery is where some of the taboo nuances and symbolism come into place, among the other things, like the innuendo of Frank wanting a sexual relationship with his niece, Kirsty, and Frank and Julia’s love affair, etc.
In a way, I feel this is almost two separate movies. The love triangle of Julia, Frank, and Larry and the drama that ensues with that and Kirsty, the Cenobites, and the common thread, skinless Frank, with the gore, dread, and horror that follows those characters.
The acting was pretty good for the time. Clare Higgins as Julia was my favorite. I feel she did a phenomenal job in playing the originally naïve, then reluctant seductress turned murderess psychopath. Andrew Robinson as Larry also did a good job. I feel like he played down his character on purpose just enough, in order for Sean Chapman’s character, Frank, to seem more enticing, exciting, and sexual. Ashley Lawrence playing Kirsty hit most of the high notes, but fell flat and lacked motivation in a couple of scenes, but overall did a good job. Doug Bradley even with minimal speaking parts brought something special to the “Pinhead” character. He made him feel like he was a “worldly” character, like he had seen and done it all. I can not imagine anyone else portraying that character. Even though it was tried by Dimension in the most recent sequel, and failed miserably.
Christopher Young and his orchestral score beautifully complimented the film. While not the original choice Clive had in mind, he made a good decision.
The film was released in both the US and the UK and was met with mixed reviews. The majority of the negative coming from critics residing in the US, in particular one Roger Ebert, who basically said the film was made with “no wit, style, or reason.” I couldn’t disagree more. The low budget of the film forced Clive to face some major decisions and get creative with his cinematography. The film was made for around a million dollars and was somewhat of a big box office success, grossing around twenty million dollars.
Talk of a “remake” by Dimension, has floated around on the internet for years now. Even a “re-imagining” of Pinhead was screen tested and the video can be found on several websites. But to me, a remake is wholly unnecessary. The film is perfect even with all its problems and imperfections.
The movie itself has left its imprint in pop culture. From body piercing to full body suspension and the like. There are also countless comic books and graphic novels, some done by Clive Barker himself to flesh out his world and mythology even more, highly collectable action figures, and cenobite busts. Hellraiser costumes are also a Halloween favorite.
As I’ve watched the film over the years, I have posed many questions to myself. Like, how powerful is the sexual experience? Is there a line to be drawn? Can pleasure really be derived from pain? What is people’s obsession with this film that has made it such a cult classic?
Without a doubt this is my favorite horror movie. The imagination it took to flesh out all of these characters (and demons) that spawned eight sequels, is nothing short of amazing, and is rarely seen in the film industry these days, especially in the horror genre. If for some reason you have yet to see Hellraiser, do yourself a favor… Watch it! Or the Cenobites may just “Tear your soul apart!”
In 1982, director Frank Henenelotter had an idea to make the “stupidest movie ever”.
He enlisted some help and threw together a script about a guy carrying around a monster in a basket, and shot it all for around $30,000, in the hopes that no one would ever see it…
The story concerns a man named Duane Bradley, and his visit to New York City. He arrives with only one piece of luggage; a large wicker basket. It’s eventually revealed that Duane carries around his deformed and angry formerly conjoined twin, Belial, hunting down the doctors that separated them to exact bloody revenge!
The 80s earnestness in the performances (especially Kevin Van Hentenryck as wide-eyed Duane) and the no-budget effects are what makes this one a cult classic. Belial is a lumpy mass of foam latex, brought to life with a combination of off-screen puppetry and stop-motion animation. But he is a living breathing character, and you will find yourself cheering on his quest for revenge.
As Belial continues his rampage, wiping out the doctors that separated the twins, Duane finds himself falling for a young receptionist, and trying to have his own life. But the connection between him and his brother is too strong, and as goofy as the film is, it actually has a lot to say about attachment and jealousy in personal relationships.
Some bonds simply cannot be broken…
Basket Case became a cult classic, and spawned two increasingly weird sequels in 1990 and 1992, following the further adventures of Duane and Belial, as they are taken in by a community of freaks, under the care of kindly Granny Ruth and her grand-daughter.
The special effects team really goes wild in the sequels, crafting a whole family of deformed weirdos.
Of course, Belial is still the star of the show, and he gets increasing upgraded in his iconic look, especially into part 3 : The Progeny, where the family of “unique individuals” travel south, where Belial is going to become a proud monster father of an ungodly brood.
Of course, a beloved film like this weirdo classic has no shortage of fan art!
Check out some great examples here :
The 1980’s belonged to John Carpenter.
After redefining (or defining) the slasher genre with his masterpiece Halloween in the late 70’s, Carpenter kept hitting them out of the park all throughout the decade of greed, with one classic after another!
The Fog (1980), The Thing (1982), and Prince Of Darkness (1987) are all bona-fide cult classics, and Carpenter closed out his reign of the 80’s with a subversive look at the corporate society building up around him in 1988 with today’s 80s Baby, They Live!
The idea for They Live came from a short story called “Eight O’ Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson, originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the 1960s.
The more political elements of the film are derived from Carpenter’s growing distaste with the ever-increasing commercialization of 1980s popular culture and politics.
He remarked, “I began watching TV again. I quickly realized that everything we see is designed to sell us something… It’s all about wanting us to buy something. The only thing they want to do is take our money.”
To this end, Carpenter thought of sunglasses as being the tool to seeing the truth, which “is seen in black and white. It’s as if the aliens have colorized us.”
After a budget of approximately three million dollars was raised, Carpenter began casting the film. For the crucial role of Nada, the filmmaker cast professional wrestler Roddy Piper, whom he met at WrestleMania III earlier in 1987.
For Carpenter it was an easy choice: “Unlike most Hollywood actors, Roddy has life written all over him.”
Carpenter was impressed with Keith David’s performance in The Thing and needed someone “who wouldn’t be a traditional sidekick, but could hold his own.”
Carpenter wrote the role of Frank specifically for the actor.
One of the best parts of the film has to be the legendary 5 minute fight scene between these two actors!
Carpenter recalls that the fight took three weeks to rehearse: “It was an incredibly brutal and funny fight, along the lines of the slugfest between John Wayne and Victor McLaglen in The Quiet Man.”
Although it was not an immediate commercial success, the film has gone on to cult status along with most of Carpenter’s early projects, and inspired tons of fan art and retro posters. Check out some great examples below!
Awesome cover for the Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray!