Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mystery man! Er, boy!

This is not Dennis the Menace's dad as a toddler:

This is a three-year-old future classic horror film historian. He has written for various magazines and is the author of numerous books. Can you guess who he is?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

For the thrill of it-- THRILLER FEST V

The spooky spouse and I watch tons of horror films each month, and read horror novels and comics, too. But we like good work in most genres, including action and mystery. That's why we wish we could go to ThrillerFest in NYC, July 7-10.

I got an e-mail from a friend with the event's press release included. Below is that release. There's some hype, but it promises to be a truly thrilling event. (Man, I'd love to see author Ken Follett in person!) Here, read for yourself :



ThrillerFest V, the world’s most diabolically delicious literature festival, chills New York City July 7-10, 2010 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

There’s only one event where New York Times best-selling masters of the art lurk around every corner, agents appear in broad daylight and fans conspire with writers in the wee, small hours of the night – ThrillerFest V, the International Thriller Writers’ fifth annual celebration of their genre and the largest event of its kind in the world.

The highlight of the event will be the gala ITW Thriller Awards Banquet on Saturday when the heroes of suspense will be honored:

* International best-selling author Ken Follett will receive the 2010 ThrillerMaster Award given by 2009 recipient David Morrell

* Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down will become the first recipient of the True Thriller Award

* Brad Meltzer, recipient of the 2009 Silver Bullet Award, will present the 2010 award to Linda Fairstein

And this year’s winners in the categories of Best Hardcover Novel, Best Paperback Original, Best First Novel and Best Short Story will be revealed.

But the list of the notables doesn’t end there – more than 50 best-selling authors and another 200 up-and-comers will be at the festival, ready to mix and mingle with fans, aspiring writers and industry executives. In fact, ThrillerFest is often called the summer camp of literary events. Everyone--the famous, the infamous, the law-abiding, and the unsung -- all freely chat and party together while sharing their love of thrillers.

There will be plenty of thrills during the four-day event. In the spotlight will be interviews with top authors, each interrogated by another thriller master:

* Ken Follett, legendary author of The Eye of the Needle, Pillars of the Earth, and World Without End is the recipient of the ITW 2010 ThrillerMaster Award, will be interviewed by Steve Berry.

* David Morrell, last year’s recipient of the ThrillerMaster Award and author of First Blood, will be interviewed by Douglas Preston.

* Lisa Scottoline, author of the legal thrillers Killer Smile and Lady Killer, will be interviewed by Jon Land.

* Gayle Lynds, the Queen of International Suspense, will be interviewed by Lisa Gardner.

* Harlan Coben, whose novels Hold Tight and Long Lost debuted at number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, will be interviewed by Kathleen Antrim.

The panels are only the beginning. Returning are CraftFest and AgentFest, mini-festivals within the conference. During the two-day CraftFest, writers looking to hone their craft can take workshops from many New York Times Best Selling authors. An afternoon at AgentFest will be like speed-dating as aspiring writers get a chance to pitch their manuscripts to more than 40 agents. There will also be a complete bookstore, a reader’s reception and many, many book signings.

And what would a gathering of fans and writers of intense suspense be without a party, or should we say, parties? There’s one every night during ThrillerFest V including a celebration of four great, new publications on Friday night:

Wednesday – Get acquainted at the CraftFest cocktail party.

Thursday – Festivities officially begin with an opening reception cocktail party.

Friday – The brand new ITW publication reception cocktail party will feature a grand book signing with dozens of best-selling authors.

Saturday – One ticket to the ITW Awards Banquet gets you into three parties: the pre-event cocktail party, the Awards Banquet and the post-event party and happy recap.

Register now by going to and clicking on “Registration.” Like all great literary thrill rides, you’ll want to follow this one all the way to the end.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's me?

A message to all you out there who don't know who your father is:

As far as I know, I have no children--but who knows?

So if you're between 18 and 25 years old and the identity of your pop is unknown, why not consider ME your dad? At least for the purposes of tributes and gifts. I'll take all the compliments, cologne and cheap neckties I can get!

Thanks. You're a good kid!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Josh Ritter's "The Curse"

At the risk of looking like all I do is post videos or links to them, I want to share a video version of a song I've fallen in love with. It's about the revival and romance of an Egyptian mummy!

Marionette puppeteer Liam Hurley conceived, produced and directed this video adaptation of Josh Ritter's song "The Curse." I find it sweet, whimsical and melancholy, and I like Ritter, who seems influenced by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Leonard Cohen. Hurley is the drummer for Ritter's band.

You've probably seen this already-- it's getting thousands of hits at YouTube. But if not, I am happy to introduce you to this charming monster video!

You can read more about the making of it HERE.
And to read Ritter's lyrics to the song, go here.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

50 Years of the PSYCHO shower scene

Nate Yapp, the engaging and knowledgeable man behind the horror film review site Classic-Horror, has created a video homage to the most famous murder in film history. As Nate describes it, it is an "homage to the Psycho shower scene, made up of clips of movies that are not Psycho (well, not Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, anyway."

I really enjoyed this project of Nate's and recommend you click on the link below to see it for yourself:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The festering wonder of my birthday

Above: A birthday graphic posted online by my friend Rich.

Sorry to be so late in posting-- computer troubles and illness have delayed me.

So my yearly natal anniversary rolled around last Thursday, and all in all, it was fantastic.

Let me give you some advice about observing one's birthday.

First, surround yourself with fond friends:

Me and pal Terry Ingram.

My friends Robert Taylor, Donnie Waddell, and my wife Jane, in a completely un-retouched photo.

Celebrate! Eat delicious things:

Drink delicious things:

Left to right: Dr. Gangrene, Cameron McCasland, moi, Donna Lucas, and David Colton.

Play games with your friends:

Holly Crisler, the driver of Hell Bus, meets The Drunken Severed Head.

But be careful what games you play, especially when you've been drinking with fond friends:

Terrible Terry Ingram.

Me and friend Raymond Castile. The banana is played by Lotta Peel.

(Stick with "Pin the Tail on the Donkey"-- no matter what anyone tells you, "Hide the Banana" is NOT a classic children's game.)

Be careful who you invite to your party-- you don't want gang members showing up:

Fellow Universal Monster Army member and good guy Radioactive Rod Whitesnake.

Or crack smokers:

Remember to PARTY RESPONSIBLY! If you are going to use skull beer bongs or Frankenstein pipes, be careful not to damage them. They're valuable collectors' items that you will want to pass on to your grandkids!

Okay, so you've figured out that these pics are all from the recent Wonderfest convention I've been posting about. Except for the picture of my friend Holly; she and hubby Dan live in Louisville, and I visited her at her cool home. (THAT will be the subject of a post that's coming soon.) Some of the photos were taken by Raymond Castile or Terry Ingram.

As to my real birthday celebration, it was quiet. I spent waay too much time trying to fix my computer! Still, I managed to see the nearly 100 good wishes sent my way, either by e-mail, at Facebook, or at various message boards. I'm a lucky guy! Here's some of the visuals sent my way as a form of e-card:

From the incomparable Rob Cromb, a/k/a Dr. Spyclops.

From friend Ted Newsom.

A pic of "Jan in the pan" from my friend Robert Taylor.

Also, Jane and I watched a couple of movies, and I had a breakfast supper of homemade buckwheat pancakes with black walnuts (the walnuts were a great gift from friend Robert Taylor) and blueberries from my own blueberry bushes, and a side pan-fried Canadian bacon. I usually eat a much lighter supper, but this was a special nostalgic meal; it was the sort of heavy and hearty meal thing my maternal grandparents always used to make for breakfast.

I got a very funny and very punny talking card from Raymond, along with a cool old horror record, Verne Langdon's The Phantom of the Organ. Jane gave me some monster mags and dvds.

A wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Speaking of the Rondos...

My friend Dr. Gangrene has posted an interesting and right-on-target essay about the need for recognition of more women in the Rondo Hall of Fame. Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Funny foto find

"Luke, come to the___side."
Dork side?
Brite side?

Image source

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wonderfest and the Rondos, Pt. 7: The Models

Don't let the subject line fool ya. I don't mean models of the swimsuit or runway variety, but the kind made of plastic or resin that you assemble. Of course, we've all seen some human models with certain plastic parts...

Okay, okay-- I know that you fellow manly men want to see a few of the lovely women at this year's Wonderfest before you see the other kind of figures. (And there was quite a variety of fantastic figures assembled and painted to be seen at the convention.) So here ya go-- here's one of the gorgeous gals I saw:

Of course, I mean the well-assembled figure on the right, not the grizzled guy on the left. That guy's my friend Frank Dietz, an actor, animator, one of America's supreme caricaturists, and all-around swell guy. But let's cut Frank outta the picture for the pleasure of pure pulchritude! Feast your eyes on the fine feminine features of this smart and talented woman:

Ah, that's better! This is Belle Dee Bilbrey, a top-notch illustrator, artist and horror blogger. She's the genius behind the Doo Wacka Doodles and Oh! So Spooky. Oh! So Scary. blogs, two of my faves. I was lucky to meet her this year. I bought prints from both her and Frank because they are both so amazingly gifted.

Now here's author Tim Lucas (of Video Watchdog fame) with the beautiful Sara Bellum, who makes my brain hard:
Oops! Seem to have caught them in a compromising moment! Well, no need to cut Tim out of the picture, because his wife Donna seems to ready to do that on her own:

I wonder what possible object for inducing blunt trauma Donna has behind her back?

Okay-- you know I'm kidding. No rumor-mongering, please. (Other forms of mongering allowed, if you have a license.) This was all graciously posed by Tim, Sara and Donna, who are all fun and stimulating to talk to-- and VERY good-humored. (Boy! The things ya gotta say to keep from getting sued. I'd be annoyed, except I mean every word!)

Here's another attractive person of the double x-chromosome persuasion, Carrie Galloway:

It was difficult not to gaze at her torso-- but look at the cartoon on her shirt! Made me smile! You'd stare at her torso and grin too! (This pretty woman said she'd gotten a lot of compliments on her shirt.)

Belle Dee, Sara and the nameless gal above are all single I believe. (I tell my guy readers this so they can pretend to themselves they've got a shot. Hah!) There were many beautiful and interesting married women there, too, but posting all their pics would eat up all my available bandwidth.

Okay, on to the amazing sculptures and models of sci-fi, horror and fantasy seen at Wonderfest. I'll start with Frankie--

Boris Karloff from SON OF FRANKENSTEIN

Lon Chaney as THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and Nosferatu

Peter Lorre from MAD LOVE

Fred Gwynne's "Herman Munster"

John Barrymore from DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE

Schlitzie from FREAKS

A potpourri of movie monsters

Pumkinhead meets the Wolf Man

Lon Chaney, Sr., the "Man of a Thousand Faces"

The Fly meets a Saucer-Man from another planet

A very detailed bust of Mr. Barlow from SALEM'S LOT

And I'll end with Frankie:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Midnight Syndicate's first video!

Edward Douglas and Gavin Goska, the musical duo known as "Midnight Syndicate" released their first music video earlier this spring. Given how dark and eerie their music is, I was happily surprised to see they have a sense of playful humor that leavens the spooky and almost solemn music.

Here's their description of the video, from Youtube:

"Halloween music and Gothic Horror soundtrack composers Midnight Syndicate in their first official music video. Showcasing "Dark Legacy" from their CD, The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates, the video also features clips from the upcoming dark fantasy film The Dead Matter (July 30, 2010). Directed by David H. Greathouse and produced with the help of Robert Kurtzman's Creature Crew and Screamline Studios, the video also features cameos from fellow Cleveland dark music legends Jeff Hatrix and Schmotz from the heavy metal act, Mushroomhead. For more on Midnight Syndicate visit For more on "The Dead Matter" movie, visit"

Of course, I've bought all the Midnight Syndicate CDs-- in the Halloween season they're usually the only good music CDs for sale, all the rest being the same releases of covers of "Thriller" and other creepy standards. So of course I'm stoked that there is a Midnight Syndicate MOVIE coming!


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