Thursday, June 25, 2009

THE DRUNKEN SEVERED HEAD SHOW debuts this weekend!

The long-awaited dvd release of the THE DRUNKEN SEVERED HEAD SHOW will happen at Monster Bash 2009! Complete with commentaries, (yes, more than one!) deleted scenes and a gallery of production stills! And it's only a 10 minute film!

Even commentary by the ghost of dead movie star John Carradine*!

*Or maybe someone who sounds just like him

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Linda Miller article debuting this weekend!

My article on my friend, the late artist Linda Miller, comes out in SCARLET: THE FILM MAGAZINE #3 this weekend at the Monster Bash convention held in Butler, PA.

Linda's art graces the cover, too:

There will be a bonanza of genre mags coming out this weekend at Monster Bash. As this site notes, "A slew of some of the finest classic monster mags all have new issues coming out all at the same time. The new "Monster Bash" magazine, "Scary Monsters" magazine, "Monsters From the Vault" special Mummy edition, and "Scarlet - The Film Magazine" issue #3 will all make their debut at the Monster Bash in Butler (near Pittsburgh) this weekend."

A feast for the eyes and brain! (Not to be confused with a feast of eyes and brains, which is description of George Romero movies.)

How do you get YOUR copy of the newest ish of SCARLET? You can order individual copies directly from: for those who wish to order with PayPal. The publishers are also accepting three-issue mini-subscriptions as well. To get the subscription starting with the last issue, #2, a check may be paid for issues #2-4 for $25 (U.S., made payable out to "Scarlet The Film Magazine") and sent to Scarlet The Film Magazine, P.O. Box 2092 Cleona, PA. 17042-2092. Or wait until the next issue and subscribe for issues #3-5 for $25. In either case, it's a saving of three dollars over individually bought copies. When subscribing, note which three editions you prefer, #2-4 or #3-5. Outside of continental U.S., please add in necessary postage. Again, sample single issues of issue #2 are $8.95, but please add in proper postage.

SCARLET: THE FILM MAGAZINE is also available in limited quantities at newsstands like Universal Newsstands, as well as specialty stores and online outlets like Hollywood Book & Posters, Creepy Classics, Horrorbles, Midtown Comics, Scary Monsters, Dream Haven,, Dark Delicacies and more. Overseas they may be ordered at Cinema Store & Hemlock Books (both in England).

What are you still reading here for? Go get SCARLET--you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Monster Art of Bob Kokai!

Bob usually uses acrylic paint on canvas to create his lovely portraits of Hollywood's most memorable monsters.

Most of these images have already at the Classic Horror Film Board, but never in one spot where you can admire 'em all at once. So I just HADDA put 'em here at TDSH--with Bob's blessing of course.

If you like classic horror films, how can you not love these renderings of the monsters?

Monday, June 22, 2009


I loooove her dress!

I'm speaking as a Kong fan. And as a zombie lover, too--because that dress sure makes her look like she's some undead thing with a huge gaping hole in its abdomen...

If she just wants to look skinny, she could always eat badly-prepared sushi.

Photo source: Go Fug Yourself

Damn Big Hopper

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thrillerfest is coming to NYC

Literature’s Most Thrilling Artists Hit NYC at the Grand Hyatt, July 8-11

The city’s dark alleys will get even darker when the biggest event of the year for fiction’s most popular genre returns to the Big Apple. ThrillerFest 2009 promises to be the largest yet with over 200 of the best-loved and bestselling authors invading The Grand Hyatt in New York from July 8-11 for a four-day extravaganza to mix and mingle with fellow shock-smiths, budding writers and fans. Actor and author Shane Briant (Worst Nightmares), a friend of TDSH, will be attending.

Now in its fourth year, ThrillerFest is the brainchild of International Thriller Writers, Inc. (ITW). According to Jon Land, Vice President of Marketing for ITW, ThrillerFest is unique for its spirit of camaraderie and openness. "Where else can fans and aspiring writers mix and mingle with some of the biggest names in the business?" he says. "Not only can writers further hone and develop their craft, but they can also learn the ins and outs of the entire publishing business." Land adds how meeting his own idol, David Morrell, at the first ThrillerFest in Phoenix, inspired him to no end, calling it "a dream come true." Land stresses the friendly, informal atmosphere makes ThrillerFest a special experience for readers and fans.

One of the highlights of the event is the coveted ThrillerMaster Award, recognizing outstanding contribution to the thriller genre. This year’s winner is noted author David Morrell, widely considered the “father” of the contemporary action novel with his 1974 debut First Blood (which introduced the character of Rambo to the world). The award celebrates Morrell’s amazing career, spanning 37 years and 28 novels published in dozens of languages across the globe. "He's the finest thriller writer working today," says Steve Berry, one of ITW's current co-presidents. "Every one of us owes him a debt of gratitude and many, myself included, learned how to craft a novel from studying his work. He is, quite simply, the best."

The prestigious Silver Bullet Award, recognizing outstanding achievement in the encouragement of literacy and the love of reading, will be presented to the #1 New York Times bestselling suspense novelist Brad Meltzer (The Book of Fate). Recipients are chosen on an annual basis representing the corporate, literary and entertainment worlds with past winners including authors David Baldacci and R.L. Stine, publisher Tom Doherty, actor Tony Plana (Ugly Betty), the Nestle Company, Capital One and Macy's.

Additional bestselling spotlight guests that will attend are last year’s ThrillerMaster award recipient Sandra Brown as well as Robin Cook, Katherine Neville, and David Baldacci.

The four-day event includes numerous author signings, a complete bookstore on premises, a cocktail party and reception for readers, a roasting of Clive Cussler, and a breakfast featuring first-time authors. The highlight is the annual ThrillerFest Awards Banquet, which this year will take place at Cipriani, one of New York City’s most spectacular event venues.

Some of the biggest names in the genre will be holding court with interactive panel sessions, including Kathleen Antrim, Steve Berry, Peter Rubie, William Bernhardt, James Rollins, Barry Eisler, Andrew Gross, David Hewson, Jon Land, Eric Van Lustbader, Gayle Lynds, Steve Martini, Donald Maass, Joan Johnston and many more.

ThrillerFest runs in conjunction with AgentFest, in which aspiring writers pitch their work to more than forty top literary agents, and CraftFest, offering workshops with best-selling authors. Some CraftFest workshops presented this year are “Living on the Ritz - How to Hit the Times List in Five Years or Less" with Lisa Gardner; “Creating a Series Character” with Lee Child; and “How – and Why - to Write Thrillers for Young Readers” with R.L. Stine.

Registration for ThrillerFest is open to everyone (ITW members and non-members alike). There are three separately-priced packages: CraftFest/AgentFest on Wednesday July 8; the ThrillerFest Conference from July 9 - July 11; and the Thriller Awards Banquet at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. A complete events package is also available as well as day passes. Details and a date/rate schedule can be found at

About ThrillerFest

ThrillerFest was established to bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through the Active Members of ITW; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.

2009 Thriller Award Nominees:

Best Thriller of the Year

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver
The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver
The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross
The Last Patriot by Brad Thor

Best First Novel

Calumet City by Charlie Newton
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Criminal Paradise by Steven Thomas
Sacrifice by S. J. Bolton

The Killer's Wife by Bill Floyd

Best Short Story

Between the Dark and the Daylight by Tom Piccirilli (Ellery Queen Magazine)
Last Island South by John C. Boland (Ellery Queen Magazine)
The Edge of Seventeen by Alexandra Sokoloff (The Darker Mask)
The Point Guard by Jason Pinter (Killer Year Anthology)
Time of the Green by Ken Bruen (Killer Year Anthology)

My super-nemesis

As loyal TDSH readers know, I ran for President last year. I didn't win.

At least I was beaten by a superhero.

At least I think he's a superhero--he looks like a tall, skinny Teletubby in the video I linked to above.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Triple Trivial Thursday, on My Stuff Saturday!

Okay, so I'm way late with the terrible trivia. Well, as Larry Craig said, "Better latent than never."

From the 1964 book Useless Facts of History:

Marie Antoinette had a bigger bust than Jayne Mansfield. (When I read this, I couldn't help but to also think of the fact that both died of trauma to the head, although the rumor that Mansfield was decapitated in her fatal car wreck is untrue.)

Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VII, wore gloves to hide the fact that she had 6 fingers on one hand.

From the website Fun Facts:

The average human body contains enough sulfur to kill all the fleas on an average dog.

Image sources: Here and here.

My Stuff:
I like masks. Here are some thrift store finds of some cheap but charming paper masks for kids.

I wonder how quickly sweat turns them into papier mache...

Friday, June 19, 2009

MONSTER BASH 2009 is nearly here!

Monster Bash, the annual Pittsburgh-area classic movie monster celebration, is nearly here! Held this year on the final weekend of June, it promises to be one of the best! The guest list this year is phenomenal--check it out here.

I can't wait to see guests like Donnie Dunagan of Son of Frankenstein. He's a friendly and no-nonsense sort of guy. He knows how to put his foot down, and he made me the severed head I am today:

Looking forward to seeing Bill Hinsman again, from Night of the Living Dead. Meeting an actor from a pivotal movie in horror history always chokes me up:

And comedian Don Reese will be back. He always makes me laugh--except when he says he wants me to join him for dinner:

Of course, I'll get to see celebrity monsters from the movies:

And visit once again with my friends, like Elizabeth from the Universal Monster Army:

Will YOU be coming to Monster Bash? I sure hope so.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sittin' Up With The Dead

When I was a child growing up in small town Arkansas, with many kith and kin living in the country, I heard from my parents and grandparents about wakes held at home. The practice of family tending to the care of departed relative, and friends viewing the body at the house of the deceased, had only recently become a thing of the past.

Some of the stories creeped me out as a kid, though I delighted in being creeped out.

So I got a laugh out of this Ray Stevens video, Sittin' Up with the Dead. I hope you do too.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Watch BACKMASK here at TDSH

Here is Justin Crimone's short film Backmask, which was made for a recent Pittsburgh Filmmakers contest, where all submitted films had to be under 5 minutes and on the theme of "Urban Legends and Old Wives' Tales." It won second place and $100.

Watch it BEFORE you give in to temptation to find out if your old Beatles record really has John saying "Paul is dead."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I got terrible head on my birthday from a friend!

Oh, it's not what you're thinking, perv. No, I got TERRIBLE HEAD on my birthday last Wednesday:

I don't know what YOU were fantasizing when you read the subject line, but I was fantasizing the style! Because nothing is so stylish as a cigarette-smoking skull with crossbones!

Hey, his eyes light up and his jaw opens and shuts in maniacal laughter:

Not surprisingly, it was made in China; it seems to be a late '80s or early '90s Halloween item.

It also has some mild Engrish as an amusing bonus:

The "voice control" actually means "sound activated."

It has flashing lights--but doesn't make a good "flash light".

And it doesn't make "produce sound", either, dammit. Not once have I heard the noise of celery snapping coming from the thing, or heard it make the sploosh of a watermelon crashing to the floor, or even the wail of a head of lettuce screaming in pain.

Still, it makes me make "hahaha" sounds when I turn it on--it's so wonderfully tacky!

Of course, you could it see as an educational toy with a noble message: "Don't smoke or you'll wind up a skeleton!"

A wonderful present from a thoughtful, loyal friend--Raymond Castile. Thanks, Raymond!

Monday, June 15, 2009

OH HOW I LOVE... and friendly neo-vampire chicks!

I was fortunate enough to meet this well-spoken, delightful and thoroughly gore-geous gal at the recent Wonderfest in Louisville, Kentucky.

Strange But Lovely Creatures: Big Moths

This blog is about my taste in the unusual, in things horrible, strange, or tacky, and about my attraction to low humor. Well, I've got no cheap jokes for this post, but I do have a coupla nice pics of two weird beasties that could bump into you in the night.

I love looking at bugs, and the odder the better. On our trip last month to Kentucky and Arkansas, the Voodoo Queen and I saw some large and lovely moths. Not Mothra size, dammit, but jumbo-sized compared to most we see:

I know the bottom one is a Luna Moth, but not the name of the one shown in the top picture. I have never seen one of its kind before, and have seen a Luna Moth only once before in my life.

I was tempted to capture and keep both as specimens, but was persuaded not to by my better half. In fact we helped the top moth get up off the ground and fly back to patch of eggs it had laid high on the wall of the building we found it at.

Wouldn't want dreams of Mothra hunting me down to make a specimen outta me!

Okay, I lied when I said I had no cheap joke for this post. I remember this old chestnut--

Question: What's a specimen?
Answer: An Italian astronaut!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dracula (Pros and) Con -- Part 1

Back in late April, the first-ever DRACULA CON was held at the Arcadia Theater in tiny, picturesque Windber, PA. (Well, the first event with this name was held; hasn't the venerable Count Dracula Society ever held a vampire or Dracula con of some kind?) The Voodoo Queen and I attended, as it was practically in our back yard.

Having no idea what to expect in a first time event, we were happily surprised to see something parked out front we'd never seen before: a motorcycle hearse! Didn't get a picture in time before it was driven away, so here's one taken from the Dracula Con site:

We'd had just missed an American Red Cross blood drive held next door in conjunction with the event, but were happy to know the event was promoting a cool cause.

Also outside, and in the lobby, were an awesome assortment of various vamps, patrons, and members of the evening musical acts:

Even the ticket-taker for the event was appropriately bloodless:

I was told he'd been a prop in a horror film-- he was certainly a good display to set the mood.

The striking image on his t-shirt was the official artwork for the con:

Wow. Jane had to get the same t-shirt! We also bought a print of this Halloween half-pint. The art was done created by artist Mike Mararian, who we were unfamiliar with, but who instantly became one of our favorite artists!

One attractive vamp arrived AS the girl in the art:

Before the afternoon's guest speakers arrived, attendees were entertained in the lobby by talented closeup magician Mark Swindler:

Unfortunately, there was no vampire theme or horror angle to his illusions, (not even a cape to go with his tux!), but his prestidigitation was impressive, and an amusing feature we hadn't expected at an event like this.

Inside the theater was the event's hostess, an affable jazz singer called Phat Man Dee. She made small talk about the event and sang songs both "on topic" and off. She had a good voice, but was backed by music on a CD, which sometimes worked, and sometimes didn't, as the music wasn't always, well, lush enough to back up her vocals. (Yelling up to the booth to tell them which track to play was kinda jarring, too.) Still, she was a good choice for hosting.

Then it came time for the guest speakers. Dracula Con organizer Blair Murphy, a friendly, energetic, enthusiastic guy formerly in the entertainment biz in L.A., came onstage. (Murphy lives in the town's haunted hotel, the Grand Midway, although closed, Murphy hosts a number of both private and public events there.) He introduced the first guest, writer Rosemary Ellen Guiley (Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits). Ms. Guley is a writer for Fate magazine and a paranormal investigator.

Ms. Guiley was entertaining. She knew how to tell stories, (though she had to rely on her notes from time to time) and related anecdotes from her research on vampirism in history, folklore, and modern culture. Interestingly, she sometimes referred to stories in vampire folklore as incidents in the "vampire cult." Although not a believer in the traditional vampire, she said she believed in vampires that "vampirize your energy, luck, and beauty." She believes in "shadow people in another dimension" who come at night to vampirize and "get established." (Beats having to get a green card, I suppose.)

She did have a sense of humor about the subject. One anecdote concerned an "alleged murder victim" in 1950s Romania who came back as a vampire, and rode in "a car that looked like a coffin." A Batmobile, you might say.

Sexuality, a frequent subtext in modern representations of vampires and other bloodsuckers (hey, the lawyers in Boston Legal are always doin' the nasty), was no taboo subject at the con.

But more on that in Part Two!

My Louisville Hat

I was in Louisville last month during the big equine race, and naturally I had to wear this, a hat I made:

A Kentucky Derby!

Having tiny horses racing around your hat is no big deal, but cleaning the brim afterward is a pain!


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