Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The frog is on the pumpkin and I'm feeling fine! For the fifth time!

Did you know frogs appreciate good music? It's true. Yesterday, a frog (the Frog Queen no less) jumped on a bandwagon! The TDSH bandwagon-- and I didn't even know there was a parade!

Her Clammy Highness joins an amazing four others on that horn-tootin' bandwagon! Yes, I've picked up my FIFTH blog endorsement-- and it comes from that ribbet-ing royal, the Frog Queen of the popular Halloween and Home Haunt blog, Frog on the Pumpkin.

I'm humbled.

Especially since she only became a frog after kissing me.

(Obviously I'm not humbled enough, since I'm yappin' so much about it! Aw, it's the liquor talkin'.)

Click HERE and you'll be transported to her crazy-cool and crafty pad, located just around the corner from the Davis Graveyard. Give her a kiss and change her back into a beautiful redhead.

Just don't let her husband Jeff see!

The blog
Frog on the Pumpkin joins The Roads of Autumn Dusk, The Skull and Pumpkin, Love At Home and Know Joe Moe. I always knew the world was "headed" towards madness!

Vote for TDSH
here or here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Castle Curse

As usual with me, I'm late in posting. This 1973 story from DC's Secrets of Sinister House is my very first comic book scan post, and I'd meant to have it loaded and ready* last month, just after Universal's The Wolfman was released. Oh well. It certainly has a Universal feel (elements of both the 1935 Werewolf of London and the original 1941 film The Wolf Man are present), but it has a darker ending than would have been done in the 1930s or '40s, and was a sign that restrictions of the Comics Code Authority had loosened.

This has never been posted on the 'net before, as far as I'm able to discover. Of course, all rights to the art and text are retained by others and are presented here temporarily. Written by Steve Skeates, with impressive art by Alfred P. Acala. Enjoy.

* Sounds like a description of me!

Relevant link-- Alfred P. Acala:

Related link-- Steve Skeates:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Rondo talk with CINEBEAT's Kimberly Lindbergs

Above: Kimberly Lindbergs. Below: KL with the Pigumon monster from Ultraman.

Life is so unfair, and that's a fact. Just look at the beautiful woman in the two pics above. That's Kimberly Lindbergs, the writer behind the amazing Cinebeats.

Sheesh! You probably read her blog frequently, and say to yourself, "Self, why does one person get so much in the way of looks, intelligence and writing skill when *I* HAFTA LOOK LIKE A GNOME AND SWEAT TO PRODUCE A MIDDLIN' BLOG LIKE THE DRUNKEN SEVERED HEAD??!!"

Or is just me?

(I must say, I do look like a cuddly gnome, at least.)

Anyway, my first set of "Rondo rondo" questions were sent to her, but I didn't hear back. So I sent the second set. No reply came back-- at least not by the deadline I mentioned. Until today! Seems my messages got sent to her e-mail's trash folder. Talk about an advance in artificial intelligence!

As before with the responses from all the other Rondo Award "Best Blog" nominees, TDSH is lucky to have her here. So without any further delay for fol-de-rol from me, here's Kimberly Lindbergs' answers to BOTH sets of "Rondo rondo" questions!

Why do you think you were nominated?

I'm not exactly sure to be honest but I suspect it's because I love horror films and I occasionally write about old movies that a lot of other bloggers don't cover.

Let's say you win. What will be the first thing you do?

Be very, very surprised and then quickly thank the voters.

Let's say you DON'T win. What will be the first thing you consume to console yourself?

Drink red, red wine from my skull cup.

Other than B-horror movie actor Rondo Hatton, who do you think the award looks like?

A shrunken head.

What person you've never met has been the biggest influence in your interest in horror?

Without a doubt the deceased horror host of Creature Features, Mr. Bob Wilkins.

What should I wear to the award ceremony?

Nothing. Let it all hang out and show the world the real you!

Which would rather have-- a place in the Guinness Book or a Rondo? If the former, what category would you appear in?

When I was about 9 years old a friend and I tried to win our place in the Guinness book by staying up in a tree for as long as possible. We only lasted about 12 hours until our mothers forced us to come down but for years afterward I was disappointed in myself for failing to make into the Guinness book. At this stage in my life I'd much prefer to win a Rondo award for my writing efforts. Having a bust of Rondo Hatton sitting on my mantel would be an honor.

You got nominated. What do you think your blog avoids doing that annoys people at other blogs?

I have no idea. I tend to write too much and when I do write it can occasionally involve typos, bad grammar and random punctuation mistakes. All these things undoubtedly annoy a lot of people! I can only assume that people come to Cinebeats for the coverage of films, actors and directors that are rarely mentioned anywhere else. I often champion the unknown, the unloved and the forgotten.

What is your super power? How can you use it to improve your chances of winning?

My superpower could be my ability to find something worthwhile to say about films that a lot of people find utterly unwatchable. This is probably what got me nominated in the first place.

Is appearing at TDSH the the lowest point in your virtual life? If not, what was?

Absolutely not. Spending an entire day watching Sims 2 music videos on Youtube was probably the lowest point of my virtual life. And that was mainly due to the fact that a lot of Sims 2 players seem to enjoy listening to Hannah Montana and Lady Gaga.

[There goes all your last minute votes from fans of Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga!]

Name one change that you think would improve the Rondo Awards.

If you asked me last year I might have said that I'd like to see more women nominated for various awards but this year I noticed that there seemed to be a lot more women nominated for Rondos. Go ladies!

Name any one food item-- and how many of that item do you think you could stuff in your mouth?

Pocky. I can probably stuff an entire package of Pocky into my mouth at once. Maybe even two!

Would you do that on-camera if it would get you a Rondo?

No. Nobody wants to see that. Least of all me!

What is something you'd say in your acceptance speech?

In honor of Mr. Rondo Hatton himself: "YOU GIVE ME THE CREEPS!"

How might you improve your blog in the coming year?

How about more horror film coverage? I spend 75% of my time watching horror movies but I only devote about 50% of my blog to writing about them.

Really, truly, totally optional question. If not you, who in your category do you hope will win?

I'm going to have to say Curt of Groovy Age of Horror or Stacie at Final Girl. Curt's blog helped inspire my own blog and he's been extremely supportive of me ever since I started. As for Final Girl, Stacie was the first female horror movie blogger I ever came across online and one of the the funniest. Both of them have inspired a lot of other people and they deserve some kind of special recognition for their blogging efforts. I would have said Frankenstenia but Pierre's already got my vote in two other categories so I figured I'd share the Rondo love a bit.

Thanks again Max and best of luck to you with your own Rondo nomination!

Same back at ya! And thanks! I'll need it with so many nominees as excellent as yourself in the running!

And check out my Q & A with other beautiful, smart, talented women like Stacie Ponder of Final Girl, Rhonny Reaper of Dollar Bin Horror, Kerry Kate of Obscure Hollow, and Tenebrous Kate of Love Train For the Tenebrous Empire, who join six smart male bloggers at this post:

A Rondo rondo II: Night of the Nominees

Below is a link to a post with six smart and talented men, so the pics of the nominees may or may not be one of the attractions of the post, depending on what you like. But, as with link above, the answers are interesting and fun:

A Rondo rondo: Nattering With Nominees

First in these interviews, I was and am VERY HONORED to start these Rondo-related interviews with the popular, insightful and talented Joe Moe:

Talking with Dread Central's JOE MOE

Read 'em all, if you haven't already.

My e-cup runneth over!

And you're thinking "I thought you wore a D-cup! Ha ha!"

No, you perv, I refer to my endorsement cup! I've just been told that I've been endorsed for both "Best Blog" and "Best Article" Rondo awards at The Skull and Pumpkin blog! Right on tthe heels of this endorsement!

Mike C. is the saloon keeper behind The Skull and Pumpkin, and the genius behind an animatronic Halloween version of Forrest J Ackerman (the beloved former Famous Monsters magazine editor, for you young kids not in the know.) Right now this fine, frightful figure is being readied for display at Monsterpalooza, the giant genre con that's happening April 9-11, 2010.

Video of the talking Forry skull can be seen here; a thread at the Universal Monster Army site on this inspired, affectionate Ackerman animatronic can be read here.

Thanks, Mike, for the endorsements and for keeping Forry with us in a way he would have loved!

Endorphins and endorsement

Yesterday a talented artist and former Rondo nominee I respect told me that he enjoyed my blog more than some of the other, more serious and reputable blogs nominated this year, and visits mine more often. Wow. Because, he said, when he visits TDSH he "is always entertained." My posts may be "serious or goofy," as he put it, but visiting my blog "is always fun."

In the words of the Invisible Man, that "seemed to light up my brain!" It really made my day.

And then, on top of that, the fine, thoughtful and fun Halloween blog The Roads of Autumn Dusk endorsed TDSH for "Best Blog" in the Rondo Awards! That made my week! Thank you, tROAD!

Here, click on this picture below to find yourself traveling the shadowed, fall Roads into the October country...

Rest in peace, Dick Giordano

This is a post I don't want to have to make, but one of the mainstays of the comics world, and someone whose work was part of my childhood, died yesterday at age 77, about the age of my dad. Dick Giordano was a legendary artist and editor at Charlton Comics and DC Comics in the 1960s and 1970s, and his work at DC was large part of my comic book experiences when I was first getting into comic books. I'm sorry to hear he has passed on.

Giordano was an influential figure, helping to launch the comic book careers of artists and writers like John Byrne, Jim Aparo, Denny O'Neil, and Steve Skeates. He steadily rose up the editorial ladder at DC, until in 1983 he became Vice President/Executive Editor, a position he held for ten years. He also helped initiate the practice of paying comic artists and writers royalties based on comic book sales.
Read an interview where Giordano discusses changes in the industry during his career here at the blog 20th Century Canny Boy, where I got the image above.

Here's a Giordano self portrait I borrowed from this page of the official Dick Giordano website:

Read why Giordano wrote columns for DC for free, and why he always resisted being titled "editor-in-chief" while there at this link to an interview with the artist.

This Giordano-inked panel comes from

And this one that he pencilled is from Comic Book Resources:

The 1973 Batman cover below was inked and possibly pencilled by Giordano. It has his initials only, but comicbookdb credits the art solely to Nick Cardy; image source

By accounts a very nice guy and well-liked in the industry, he will be missed.

Additional sources: Wikipedia, Newsarama, and the Classic Horror Film Board.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Synchro-- what?

A definition from Merriam-Webster's Online: "Synchronicity: the coincidental occurrence of events...that seem related."

So I'm feeling a bit blue and battling insomnia in a house with just me in it, 'cause my Voodoo Queen's still gone to Florida caring for an ill family member -- been nearly two months now. And I start looking over my recent blog posts to see if there's any typos to correct or tweaks to make--yeah, I was REALLY BORED--and I read this quote , "It might be a good idea for you to wear pants." Of course, I laughed, like I did the first time I read it.

And then I went to read old posts I hadn't seen yet at some of my favorite blogs. FIRST thing I hit was this video at the Frog on the Pumpkin:

Which led me to discover THIS, my new VERY FAVORITE VIDEO (Caution-- the lyrics are NSFW!):

It's got everything: Intoxication! Lyrics about a curse! The devil and that ol' demon alcohol! And the mellifluous sounds of accordion, trombone, pennywhistle and Irish war drum!

THEN I read this in an e-mail from a friend--

"As we get older we sometimes begin to doubt our ability to "make a difference" in the world. It is at these times that our hopes are boosted by the remarkable achievements of other "seniors" who have found the courage to take on challenges that would make many of us wither. Harold Schlumberg is such a person.

I've often been asked, 'What do you old folks do now that you're retired'? Well... I'm fortunate to have a chemical engineering background, and one of the things I enjoy most is converting beer, wine, Scotch, and margaritas into urine.

"Harold should be an inspiration to all of us."

See? Synchronicity!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Rondo rondo II: Night of the Nominees

You meet the most interesting people in this bloggin' hobby. Last week, in "A Rondo rondo! Nattering With Nominees!" I asked some questions of some of the people vying for the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award, and the feedback was fun. (See also my Q & A with past winner and current nominee Joe Moe.) Enjoyable enough to send a new set of queries to all the other "Best Blog" nominees! All but a couple responded.

This go 'round features these e-endorsed, enthusiastic explorers of the eerie:

Tim Lucas of Video Watchblog, (left) and Paul Castiglia of Scared Silly (right). I've got 2 pics of Paul because both of these photos that I found of him made him look like a severed head. I like that. I wonder if we're related...?

(Left) Rhonda Kachur "Rhonny Reaper" of Dollar Bin Horror.

(Right) Kirk Demarais of Secret Fun Blog.

(Left) Kerry Kate of
Obscure Hollow. (Right) Tenebrous Kate of Love Train For the Tenebrous Empire.

(Left) Stacie Ponder's stand-in at Final Girl.

(Right) "Karswell"-- Steve Banes of

(Below, center) Pierre Fournier of

Now on with the gabfest and convivial drinking... minus the drinking. (Sigh.) Getting together virtually sure can be enjoyable, but I couldn't even offer skittles and beers!

1.) Which would rather have-- a place in the Guinness Book or a Rondo? If the former, what category would you appear in?

Tim Lucas: I should already be in the Guinness Book for having the most Rondo Awards received by one person to date (11). One more Rondo would give me a stronger foothold in the Guinness Book, which I can't say for the Guinness Book, so you see where I'm going with this.

Paul Castiglia: Ron-do! Ron-Do! Ron-Do!

Rhonny Kachur: Although a Rondo is a HUGE honor, being in the Guinness book would be so cool. If I keep going at the pace I am, I could be in the category of largest creepy doll collection :)

Kirk Demarais: I would like to hold the world record for receiving the most Rondos. Hmmm, is that joke too obvious? What the heck, I'm sticking with it.

[Hey Kirk-- Stick with the obvious. It always works for me here!]

Kerry Kate: A Rondo for Best Horror Blog.

Tenebrous Kate: Good question! While the allure of stomping all over a schoolgirl's record of Most Slugs On The Face *is* pretty tempting, I think the Rondo would probably be more meaningful for me. Also, a lot less slimy. I hope.

Stacie Ponder: I'd rather have a Rondo, as it's specific to horror. I used to love Guinness Book when I was a kid and it was mostly full of freaks (I'm allowed to say that, because my great uncle was in it for a time- World's Strongest Teeth!). Now the records seem so arbitrary- like, if I make a huge pie or if I get a zillion people to wear cowboys hats I'll win a record. Then someone can break my record by having a zillion and ONE people wear cowboy hats. Anyone can get some kind of Guinness Record...Rondo all the way. Plus, the Rondo bust is sweet.

Steve Banes: It's too bad you didn't include Ripley's, because believe it or not I still have a lot of blogging left in these old bones. (Guinness... I guessness.)

Pierre Fournier: A Rondo, of course. Besides, I am already in the Guinness Book of Records, but we need not discuss my sexual prowess here.

2.) You got nominated. What do you think your blog avoids doing that annoys people at other blogs?

Tim Lucas: By and large, this year my blog avoided blogging.

Paul Castiglia: Scared Silly avoids covering films made past the year 1966 (most of the time)...

Rhonny Reaper: I think my blog avoids trashing every movie I see. Yes when I see a bad film, I let you know, but I also try to find the positives in every movie I watch and review. I still give my honest opinion, but without being disrespectful and harsh.

Kirk Demarais: Actually I think my blog is pretty annoying. I rarely update, my posts are often ridiculously long, I keep way too many posts on the first page, there's a ton of pictures that take forever to load, I talk about myself too much, etc.

Kerry Kate: There is not much writing involved. It's mainly a visual blog.

Tenebrous Kate: I'm sensing a real IT'S A TRAP moment here...! I'm hopeful that I don't annoy people too much, but if I had to pick a thing that might frustrate other fans, it's my blissful ignorance of he 80s Slasher Genre. I feel like I have to get that right out into the open so as to avoid accusations of being a Horror Traitor!

Stacie Ponder: I'm sure I annoy plenty of people! You'd probably have to ask people who read Final Girl why they seem to like it to get a good answer for this. One thing that annoys ME about websites, something I try to avoid, is a bunch of clutter. I like a simple layout without garish colors that make my eyes want to shrivel up and fall out.

Steve Banes: People come to THOIA for horror comics so that's what I give them. After a bit of trial and error I now stick to one thing that works and that's what keeps 'em coming back. I make up for the minimized variety by including occasional news that is relative to comics and art. Consistency, frequent updates, keeping things interesting with ORIGINAL material (the world certainly does not need another horror blog reviewing or making fun of Twilight.)

Pierre Fournier: These stupid Q&A with bloggers.

3.) What is your super power? How can you use it to improve your chances of winning?

Tim Lucas: I could only improve my chances of winning by blogging, which -- in this category anyway -- is my super power.

Paul Castiglia: My superpower is my ability to name-drop notorious Jerry Lewis impersonator Sammy Petrillo's name at any given moment. Sammy passed away in 2009, so maybe I'll get sympathy votes (although that's not my motive - I simply loved Sammy and his audacity - super nice guy, too)!

Rhonny Reaper: I don't have any super powers (yet....), but if I could have one I think it would be mind reading. Then I could see what everyone likes and dislikes about my blog, make improvements, and increase my chances of winning by giving the readers what they want to read!

Kirk Demarais: I have the power of "not throwing stuff away" combined with "super ability to locate my old stuff" plus "ultra living in the past." They're good for retro-blogging but not for winning.

Kerry Kate: I have no super power sadly. I will be happy for who ever wins. When I started this blog I never foresaw it being nominated for anything but to have fun and have a chance to study closely the design of the films that I enjoy so much and share with others.

Tenebrous Kate: My mutant super-power is an infinite capacity for grainy, third-generation, ripped-from-VHS prints. It's a little like X-ray vision, but way less useful in day-to-day life.

Steve Banes: I have the uncanny ability to not only pet a cat from a thousand miles away, but also simultaneously piss it off. Not sure how that will help me win a Rondo though.

Pierre Fournier: I am actually able to communicate telepathically with cats. No kidding. Now if I could get all the cats to work computers and vote for me, I’d win by a landslide.

[Pierre, are you and Banes related? You got similar superpowers! Or maybe we three all are-- have you read the 3rd paragraph of this post here at TDSH? ]

4.) Is appearing at TDSH the the lowest point in your virtual life? If not, what was?

Tim Lucas: I had a lower point, but why drag up old memories?

Paul Castiglia: No - the lowest point in my virtual life was writing a blog reviewing movies I didn't even like. But at least I used an assumed name.

Rhonny Reaper: Absolutely not! I LOVE TDSH! The lowest point for me would be way back before I started blogging, I had a horror review MySpace because I didn't know about the blogosphere yet. MySpace apparently hated me and shut my site down for the images on it. It really sucked lol.

Kirk Demarais: I've had links to my site pop up in some very unsavory places; places that make this look like the breakfast nook in my grandma's house.

Kerry Kate: We are honored to be on your blog Max!

Tenebrous Kate: Wow--it would take some thinking to identify the lowest point of my virtual life. Is this the part where a single tear trickles down my cheek and I whimper that I was young and I needed the money...?

Stacie Ponder: It's hard to say. I'd say it is, yes, but SURELY there's incriminating evidence out there somewhere...probably in my Google history. Hmm...oh, I've read video game fan fiction online. That's pretty low.

Steve Banes: Yes. It can't get much lower than this. And then suddenly---!!!

Pierre Fournier: Well, I fell for that Nigerian scam thing. Cost me an arm and a leg, but at least I’m still penpals with Dr. Mugu Mgbada.

5.) Name one change that you think would improve the Rondo Awards.

Tim Lucas: A tie between fewer nominations and easier balloting.

Paul Castiglia: A multi-colored mohawk on top of (the statue of) Rondo's head. You know, like Stripe the Gremlin from Joe Dante's brilliantly funny "Gremlins 2: the Next Batch."

Kirk Demarais: A crew of volunteer assistants would definitely improve David Colton's life expectancy. In fact, I'd like to volunteer to count the votes for "Best Blog."

Tenebrous Kate: I figure as long as I am NOT in charge of it, I'm happy to let better minds than mine take care of bid'ness. Rah-rah-Rondo!

Stacie Ponder: I have no idea how the nominating process works but I'd like to. The info is probably in some giant-sized type somewhere, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now. I also think the voting period should be much shorter.

Steve Banes: The annoying copy/paste/delete way of voting has got to go...

Pierre Fournier: Ban Tim Lucas. That would free up a dozen Rondos every year for the rest of us.

6.) Name any one food item-- and how many of that item do you think you could stuff in your mouth?

Tim Lucas: Jelly Belly Juicy Pear jelly beans. 11, which is the official serving size and my limit.

Paul Castiglia: I write a blog about classic horror-COMEDIES so I'll choose one double-sized slice of a whipped cream pie. But I'd have to hit myself in the face with it first.

Rhonny Reaper: Well I know for a fact I can fit 13 Warheads in my mouth (unfortunately, I also know why there's a warning label on the package...I couldn't taste anything for 2 days.)

Kirk Demarais: Candy corn. I haven't stopped stuffing pieces into my mouth since I was a kid so it seems that my mouth has an infinite capacity.

Kerry Kate: Donut holes and I have no idea how many I could fit. I will give it a try and let you know ;)

Tenebrous Kate: Fourteen marshmallows (but they have to be the small, store-brand kind--none of that Stay Puft shite for me!). I may or may not know this for a fact due to some tremendously misspent time in art skool.

Steve Banes: An entire gooey butter cake. No wait, Sushi Pizza... I'm sure I could easily shove the whole thing into my mouth at one time, and then some.

Pierre Fournier: I can actually stuff my mouth full of crackers and whistle “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. If we meet, just ask, and I’ll demonstrate.

7.) Would you do that on-camera if it would get you a Rondo?

Tim Lucas: If you provide the jelly beans. And they have to look clean!

Paul Castiglia
: Maybe in honor of the late great Soupy Sales. The key word being "Maybe"...

Rhonny Reaper: You know what, yes, yes I would if I won!

Kirk Demarais: Sure I'd eat some candy corn on camera. Brach's brand is my favorite.

Kerry Kate: Hell no! I'm camera shy.

Tenebrous Kate: I may or may not have it on camera even as we speak (this is the "young and needed the money" thing).

Steve Banes: Max, I'd do ANYTHING right now for a sushi pizza... haven't had anything as delicious since last summer in Toronto.

Pierre Fournier: Heck, I’d stuff my pants full of crackers and tap dance to “Zip a Dee Doo Dah” if it would help my chances.

8.) What is something you'd say in your acceptance speech?

Tim Lucas: "And remember, if you can award me, you can hire me."

Paul Castiglia
: "But seriously..."

Rhonny Reaper: Well first, I would thank everyone who has ever supported me and Dollar Bin Horror (especially B-Sol of the Vault of Horror and Patrick of Stabbing Stabbing Stabbing), all the readers, all the haters (because they need love too), and Wes Craven for showing that not everything that comes outta Cleveland is horrible :)

Kirk Demarais: "I'd like to thank... oh no, why am I completely naked?" and then I would wake up, because that's the only way I'd ever receive the little guy for Secret Fun Blog. This is rightfully so since my blog is merely seasoned with spooky as opposed to the other full blown horror blogs. But this fact only makes me more honored to have been listed among the nominees year after year. I'm extremely thankful to whomever is responsible for this!

Kerry Kate: Thanks folks!

Tenebrous Kate: "I'm dreadfully sorry about the computer glitch that resulted in my winning this award, but I'm running as fast as I can, clutching this Rondo bust, before you sort stuff out....!"

Stacie Ponder: "Thank you". That's it. Short and sweet and sincere- say thank you and get off the damn stage.

Steve Banes: "...and most of all I'd like to thank The League of Tana Tea Drinkers for making this possible."

Pierre Fournier: Should hell freeze over and I got a Rondo, I would step up to the podium and demand a recount!

9.) How might you improve your blog in the coming year?

Tim Lucas: I might actually blog on it, but no promises.

Paul Castiglia: Post more reviews... and in a more timely fashion!

Rhonny Reaper: I think organization is my biggest opposition. I need to get something like a schedule so that my posts don't feel as sporadic and crazy. Also, I write them quickly and sometimes ignore my grammar, so I may work on that as well.

Kirk Demarais: Clone myself so that I'd have time to write in it as much as I wish I could.

Kerry Kate: More films and would like to incorporate research articles on set designers, prop artists, shooting locations, perhaps costume designs, etc.. of these films. Perhaps even getting shirts made to sell...

Tenebrous Kate: This sounds suspiciously like one of those workplace self-assessments! In which case, this is the part where I say "I could be more consistent." I mean, I'm not *going* to be more consistent, but I *could* be. Our world is not a perfect one, alas.

Stacie Ponder: I just need to keep doing what I'm doing, I think- keep reviewing, keep coming up with new, silly things to post. The more you do it, the better you get. This is also true for other things. So I've been told.

Steve Banes: More animated gifs: flying fiery skulls, dancing devil babies, spinning pentagrams, Jesus crying. People love that shit.

Pierre Fournier: What are you saying? It needs improving? Seriously, I wish I had more time. I have tons of material on the back burner, and I’m always itching to get it out there. I wish I could spend all the time I wanted on research and writing, but I’m hampered by things like eating and sleeping, and making a living. Until I get that Nigerian fortune I’ve been promised, I don’t see the blog changing or “improving” significantly. Just expect the same old crap!

Really, truly, totally optional question:

10.) If not you, who in your category do you hope will win?

Tim Lucas: I came out officially in support of Pierre Fournier's Frankensteinia for Best Blog.

Paul Castiglia: It's a toss-up between John Cozzoli's Zombos' Closet of Horror or Pierre Fournier's Frankensteinia. Hopefully they'll both win because Pierre is also nominated in the "Best Event" category for his fantastic Boris Karloff Blogathon that so many of us participated in.

Rhonny Reaper: I would LOVE to see Vault of Horror, Frankensteinia, or of course TDSH win :) I'm just honored to be nominated and would be in total shock just to be an honorable mention!

Kirk Demarais: Many deserve a rondo, but as a designer/artist who is often influenced by spooky visuals I'm very especially grateful for Obscure Hollow. I've seen nothing like it on the web and I think it will prove to be an invaluable resource for decades to come.

Tenebrous Kate: There are so many amazing writers, but I'm voting for Pierre Fournier of Frankensteinia. There's nobody better to represent the spirit of Classic Horror!

Steve Banes: If Tim Lucas wins again this year I'm mailing my Bava book back (minus the Barbara Steele photos.) But seriously, is it too late to congratulate him on the 2010 "Best Blogger" win?

Pierre Fournier: I hope that The Drunken Severed Head wins a posthumous Rondo.

I'm grateful to the participants. This post wrote itself!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm late, I'm late!

Almost a month ago, iZombie (Jeremy) of the iZombielover blog, where zombies and zombie art rule, gave me and some other blogs his first "Zombie Rabbit Award."

Thanks, iZombie! I may not get the "Best Blog" Rondo Award I'm nominated for, but by gawd, I got a Zombie Rabbit! (Is it Peter Rottentail?) I'm delighted! Not many folk can say they have one!

I fear getting infected if I get too close to the monitor, or possibly attacked by zombie fleas, but I'm delighted all the same.

Having a Zombie Rabbit Award is a singular thing, and makes me very hoppy. (Oh, c'mon, you knew I was going to do that. I'm like your dad with my jokes.)

Below are a coupla very cool photos served to us by iZombie. Stop by his blog and check out the munching undead art and photos on view.

I think on the occasion of the coming holiday I'll introduce the Zombie Rabbit to the grisly-but-cute Easter Blowfish.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Definition of Horror Death Match, Part 1


I'm late in posting this, but this is the awards season still. I saw some interesting differences in how horror is viewed by two different sets of judges who give out awards to horror films, and I want to look at how they compare. First:

On March 6th, the Vault of Horror blog announced the winners in its second annual Cyber-Horror Awards.

On March 7th, the Cinefantastique website announced the winners in their second annual Wonder Awards.

Both awards were determined by people writing about genre films. In the case of the Wonders, ("Wonsies"?) the writers for Cinefantastique website. For Cyber-Horror, ("Cybies"?) writers for horror blogs and other online sources.

It was interesting to compare the two results. The Wonder Awards are given for film achievements not just in horror, but the fantasy and science fiction genres as well, unlike the Cyber-Horror Awards. So, just limiting the look-see to horror nominees in the  Wonder contest, let's check out where the nominations and awards overlapped-- and where they didn't.

For Best Film, the Wonsie nominations included Coraline and District 9. . I'd include both in the horror genre, though some say the former is fantasy (if dark), and the latter sci-fi. Of course, they're all of those things. The Cybie noms included neither of those films; the choices were Drag Me to Hell, Trick 'r' Treat, Zombieland, Grace and Thirst. Avatar won for Best film in the SOW awards, Trick'r'Treat pulled a surprise win in the C-H awards. Looks like the CF team doesn't think much was achieved in straight horror in 2009; VOH's group seems to like its horror strictly straight up.

There were no overlaps again for Best Director, but Neill Blomkamp was nominated for District 9 in the Wonsies.

For Best Actress:

Horror nominees:

  • Katie Featherston in PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
  • Isabelle Fuhrman in ORPHAN
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg in ANTICHRIST
  • Saoirse Ronan in THE LOVELY BONES
  • For Cyber-Horror:

    Alison Lohman, Drag Me to Hell

    Isabelle Fuhrman, Orphan

    Jordan Ladd, Grace

    Emily Browning, The Uninvited

    Megan Fox, Jennifer’s Body

    Again, the two awards don't seem to agree on what the best horror films were, or maybe even what a horror film is.  

    I understand that more judges are involved in the Cyber-Horror Awards than in the Wonder Awards, so it was interesting to me that the definition of horror seemed stricter with the former than the latter.

    I asked Brian Solomon of Vault of Horror about it, and he said this:  

    "The results here are interesting. I enjoy the Wonders very much because they encompass all of genre cinema. But the CHAs focus strictly on horror--so you're bound to get a more thorough [emphasis mine] representation of that genre in particular. It's the nature of the beast! The Wonders draw their nominations from a comprehensive listing of all genre films, so those doing the nominating can choose anything they want. [That seems to me to buttress-- hehe, I said "butt"-- my point, Brian.]

    "The CHAs also have a group of nominators, but we only really chose from a list of the year's horror releases, so naturally our picks were more strictly [again, emphasis mine] within the realm of horror than the Wonders. There were still some exceptions though, like Coraline."

    Are contemporary horror film devotees unable to appreciate films that merely creepy and unnerving, or have sci-fi elements? Or just those who write about contemporary horror?

    Does a horror film have to be "in your face" with gore to be good? Can a horror film have a "sense of wonder"?

    More about the two awards and what makes for a good horror film in Part 2.

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Little people: Midgets Have It Tough

    Since this is St. Patrick's Day week, I thought I'd share a "little people" article I found in an old magazine I picked up. 

    Here, from Pageant magazine #8, the August-September 1945 issue, is "Midgets Have It Tough." (As far as I can verify, never before shared on the web!) The article is well-meaning, but sometimes condescends to its subject. An ironic stance, though a distasteful one.

    As always, I'm interested in comments. But this time I'd especially like to have comments from anyone who has achondroplasia, diastrophic dysplasia, SED, growth-hormone deficiency, or is close to someone who does.

    Little people: R.I.P. He Pingping

    Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, which in this country is mainly celebrated as an excuse to wear green and drink. For the latter reason, you'd think I'd have mentioned it here at TDSH!

    But yesterday I was hijacked by drunken parade revelers, then liquored up and stuck on a fake pot of gold outside a Hooters restaurant, a green derby jammed on my head.

    So I thought about leprechauns a lot, when I wasn't thinking of the waitresses inside. The week of St. Patrick's Day is when you see lots of images of Ireland's immortal "little people." It seemed an odd coincidence, then, to hear that the littlest of the "little people" (as folks formerly called "midgets" and "dwarfs" are now usually referred to, ironically conflating them with imaginary beings) had passed away just a few days before.

    He Pingping, that Guinness World's record holder for small stature, (only 2 feet, 6 inches tall!) wasn't Irish, though, but Chinese.

    Here are some photos of He with some of the world's tallest people. Here he is with Guinness Book record holder for "tallest man," Sultan Kosen of Turkey:

    And here with Svetlana Pankratova of Russia, the record holder for longest legs:

    Image found here.

    I wonder if he's humming to himself a certain Z. Z. Top song here.

    And here is He (here he is!) with his friend Bao Xishun, once the record holder for tallest man. Like He, he is also from the Inner Mongolia region of China:

    Image source here.

    Mr. Pingping traveled around the world, and passed away while visiting Italy. Sadly, he was only in his twenties.

    Rest in peace, sir.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    UGLY AMERICANS premieres tonight!

    Comedy Central's new animated series about a NY social worker in the "Dept. of Integration" trying to help monsters live as "ordinary" citizens premieres tonight at 10:30 pm EST/9:30 CST. It's called Ugly Americans, and I'm happy to help get the word out on this. It looks promising. (Man, if it falls on its monstrous face I'm gonna look like a marketing pushover.)

    Not for kids-- it's definitely NSFW.

    "Fun Bags" segment: Randall takes Mark to a bar to help him get over Callie, but winds up helping himself instead. Link.

    And you won't believe the parody of magician Criss Angel. Link.

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    A Rondo rondo! Nattering with nominees

    The voting process for the 2009 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards will soon end-- the last day to send in a ballot is April 3rd. I'm hopelessly outclassed by many of my fellow nominees for "Best Blog." So I was curious to talk to others in that category-- as well as other honorees in other categories-- and sent out some questions to various folks who were recognized with nominations. Some actually sent back answers! (Bit of a sausage party, though; the female nominees I sent questions to have yet to respond. Guess women may really be smarter than men!)

    So here is some Q & A (sorry if you were expecting T & A) with some smart, talented, active lovers of classic horror. The participants, in no particular order, are:

    August Ragone

    Nominated for: BEST BLOG (The Good, The Bad, The Godzilla).

    Terry Ingram

    Nominated for: BEST WEBSITE (Universal Monster Army) and BEST FAN EVENT (Traveling Toy Exhibit).

    Bryan White

    Nominated for: BEST BLOG (Cinema Suicide).

    Larry Underwood (Dr. Gangrene)

    Nominated for: BEST WEBSITE (Chiller Cinema), BEST FAN EVENT (Dr. Gangrene's Halloween Hootenanny) and FAVORITE HORROR HOST.

    Brian Solomon

    Nominated for: BEST BLOG (Vault of Horror).

    John Cozzoli

    Nominated for: BEST BLOG (Zombos' Closet of Horror).

    The weird queries:

    1.) Why do you think you were nominated?

    AR: Somebody must like me. Somewhere.

    TI: Because I pay David Colton good money. That's why.

    Because there's 2,603 of the world's finest who make up the UMA. I wasn't nominated. WE were nominated.

    BW: Back in 2008 I kept emailing Dave Colton about it, putting a bug in his ear about being nominated and it just so happened to be the year that he added the Best Blog category. So basically, I harassed him until he put me in the running. This year, however, I have no idea. It's tough to gauge how you're doing when everyone else with a blog looks like a pro to you. So it's encouraging to know that I'm still thought of as Rondo material and I'm grateful for it.

    LU: I've been doing this gig as a horror host for more than a decade now - I guess folks just like good old fashioned cheesy-horror fun.

    BS: To tell you the truth, it's just as much of a pleasant surprise as it was last year! I always think that having a blog that's not too specific, and somewhat generic in terms of what it covers (i.e. mine) can go either way. Either people will find it engaging and welcoming to all, or just bland and wishy-washy. I'm guessing the Rondo people went with the former, and for that, I'm flattered.

    JC: I know David Colton personally so I was a shoe-in. Wait a minute, I didn't know him until I got nominated...hmmm. Let me see...oh, right, it was because a few years back, some short-necked dude named the Drunken Severed Head mentioned to David he should cast his net wider to include horror blogs that start with the letter Z. David listened, and so there I am.

    2.) Let's say you win. What will be the first thing you do?

    LU: Have a beer in celebration.

    AR: Open up an ice-cold Sapporo tall-boy.

    TI: Go to Disney World!

    BW: If I win, I will issue a press release to all media outlets. I will invite all bloggers everywhere to "suck it" and the accompanying photo will be a close up of my middle finger. Okay. I probably wouldn't do that because in spite of a smarmy exterior, I'm actually pretty humble. I'll probably just tell my wife and then call my mom.

    BS: Last year the wife and kids surprised me with a cake, just for getting Honorable Mention. Sweet, aren't they? Here's hoping there's an even bigger cake in my future.

    JC: Eat two McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches with lots of french fries. Maybe three, even. Hell, why not?

    3. Let's say you DON'T win. What will be the first thing you consume to console yourself?

    LU: Have a beer in consolation.

    TI: Same thing I'd do to reward myself - drink.

    BW: Vodka.

    AR: I'll bust open a half-gallon of Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, while writing a letter of congratulations to Tim Lucas.

    BS: I guess my answer would be cake, again. Although this would probably be of the Entemann's variety, eaten straight out of the box and washed down with tears.

    JC: Eat two McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches with lots of french fries. Maybe three, even. Hell, why not? Either way, I can't lose. I'll probably drown my sorrows with a McCafe frozen something.

    4.) Other than B-horror movie actor Rondo Hatton, who do you think the award looks like?

    AR: Jimmy Durante.

    TI: Just like last year's award.

    BW: Exhibit A in a bludgeoning murder trial.

    LU: Maybe Richard Kiel, if he were bald.

    BS: It kind of looks like a Dick Tracy villain, doesn't it? But I guess that's what Rondo Hatton was in a way--a living, breathing Dick Tracy villain.

    JC: Eric Powell's The Goon, for sure.

    5.) What's meant by CLASSIC in the "Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards"?

    AR: "Old School" aka "The Good Stuff".

    TI: It means the voters are all old.

    BW: I think it was originally an award given to people who celebrated horror in the classic sense. By that I mean the golden sort of Universal Age of horror. From the dawn of horror on film to the early 60's. These days, though, what was considered contempo around the inception of the award is quickly falling into the classic category. Sort of how songs I remember fondly from my childhood are now getting routine rotation on "classic rock" stations. Abbot and Costello never met up with Jason Voorhees in a zany horror comedy but the franchises that a lot of modern horror fans hold on high are now becoming "classics".

    LU: Originally I think it meant just that, appreciation of classic horror meaning films of the classic (30s-70s) era. But over the years it has expanded to include modern era films as well.

    BS: I find that they've been embracing more than just the strict definition of "classic horror", which I think is a good thing. If you notice, the Classic Horror Film Board actually has message boards dedicated to all eras of the genre; if anything, they just lean a little heavier on the so-called classic stuff. These days, I think their definition of "classic" is less related to time period, and more just to a general standard of quality.

    JC: The "classic" stands for all those wonderfully fun movies we love to scream at, or hoot at, or snicker at, or even laugh out loud at. It defines a sensibility more than a decade. It stands for a sense of nostalgia and the once forbidden made okay. It stands for all the colors in black and white and red, and hints at Halloween candy and Autumn winds and the fear found only in the darkest nights and in the brightest days. Its ballyhoo and cult and simply unforgettable no matter how hard you try.

    6. What person you've never met has been the biggest influence in your interest in horror?

    AR:Eiji Tsuburaya, the visual effects director who gave Godzilla life, who passed away 40 years ago. Greg Shoemaker (editor of the legendary "Japanese Fantasy Film Journal"); while we've corresponded for more than 30 years (on and off), we've never met in person. Anyone ever associated with the heyday of Hammer (excluding Sir Christopher Lee and Veronica Carlson, of whom I've had the pleasure of meeting), and lastly, the immortal Vincent Price.

    TI: Bela Lugosi. Catch his tweets from beyond at -

    BW: Bill Gaines of EC Comics fame. Apart from his association with Tales From The Crypt and Vault of Horror, etc. he had a set of ethics that greatly informed my own. He and his creative staff were a bunch of renegades that fearlessly blazed trails in the face of censorship. Whether they knew it or not, being antagonistic toward "the man" had a much bigger effect on their readers and fans and they did much more by being a pain in the ass to the Comics Code Authority than just bringing gory comics to kids. In a lot of ways, Gaines was a pretty level headed entrant into the counter culture and I'm told he was a pretty cool guy, too. His influence also made its way to filmmakers down the line that I very much appreciate today. So there you go.

    LU: Alice Cooper--when I was a kid one of my first influences on my pathway to horror was Alice Cooper. It makes total sense now, as he's pretty much the musical equivalent of a horror host. When I discovered his music and stage show it was like an epiphany... And now here I am years later both hosting horror movies and fronting a horror band and doing some shock rock antics of my own. Hope to meet good ole Alice one day and let him know what an influence he was.

    BS: George Romero. Because if it wasn't for not only the zombie films he made, but also the now-canonical rules of modern zombie lore that he single-handedly created, I might not have become such a morbid, horror-obsessed teenager. Nor would I have blossomed into such a morbid, horror-obsessed adult.

    JC: Ray Bradbury. I've not read another writer who could distill black magic into words and horror into sentences the way he does to create images of the commonplace turned deadly or malevolent.

    7. What should I wear to the award ceremony?

    LU: Well since you are a severed head I think a nice new podium to prop yourself up on. Perhaps a 70s style cravat, that'd be pretty sweet.

    AR: It might be a good idea for you to wear pants. If I win, I definitely need to buy some pants.

    TI: I'm not your mother. Dress yourself please.

    BW: Wear one of those tuxedo t-shirts. I've always wanted one of those.

    BS: Well, since you're only a head, I'd say your options are rather limited. But I'd go with either a pork-pie or a homburg, depending on if you're in a Popeye Doyle or Michael Corleone mood.

    JC: I don't know about you, but I'm wearing a smile. Otherwise, what you wear is up to you.

    Thank you for all for participating. I'm jealous of the talent you all have. And I'm jealous of you, Terry Ingram, for having more hair than me! (Or any of the other nominees here! At least I'm not alone.)

    A few images here come from 3rd party sites I forgot to bookmark. If any image is used without credit, please inform me and I will rectify the problem.


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