Friday the 13th AND a Full Moon!


This coming Friday is the only Friday the 13th that the year 2014 will see. We had two in 2013 and will have three in 2015. So, what is the big deal about this one? It also happens to land on a full moon. Blammo! Two superstitions on one day. If you believe that one or both of these events is bad luck and that your day will be ruled by forces beyond the human realm, well, I guess you better not leave the house Friday.

The number 13 is feared in many cultures for varied reasons. In Christian culture, Judas was the undesirable and unwanted 13th guest at The Last Supper. Also in the Norse myth, a dinner of twelve gods was disrupted by Loki, the god of Mischief when he showed up uninvited. Hindus also believe that having 13 people together at any time is unlucky; even if it’s not a dinner party. And of course, we have all heard of the buildings that don’t have a 13th floor. Although, no matter what number you put on it, the 13th floor is the 13th floor. Some people refuse to have surgery on Friday the 13th and there are, indeed, surgeons who refuse to work on Friday the 13th. So, as if Friggatriskaidekaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th) wasn’t stressful enough, we will also be gifted with a full moon this Friday.


The word lunatic comes from the Latin word luna, meaning moon. In addition to this fun fact is the belief held by many that the lunar cycle directly effects human and animal behavior. Is it possible that the lunar cycle can cause lunacy? Perhaps the lunar cycle affects a woman’s menstrual cycle, thus, affecting fertility and birth rates on full moons.

Back to the surgeons, it is reported that some refuse to operate on a full moon due to excessive blood loss by the body on a full moon. Some even go so far as to claim that the body does not clot blood as well on a full moon. So, pair that with excessive blood loss and we have a real problem.


There are also those that believe that people with violent tendencies are even more dangerous on a full moon; allegedly, crime goes up on a full moon. Various sleep studies have been done to determine the possible affect of the lunar cycle on our sleep cycle. It is possible that your sleep cycle can be influenced by the moon even if you haven’t left the house for months and have not seen the moon or know of it’s current position.

This is a lot of potential negative influences for one day. I am one of the loony ones who absolutely believes that the moon influences many things and while the number 13 is my lucky number, I must observe the superstitions of others and wonder if there is something to it. Whether you believe in one or the other, or neither, the air is full of possibilities this coming Friday. Be careful; something wicked this way comes.



The Vagrants



So, I know that I sound like a broken record, but I’m really not much of a horror fiction gal. It’s just too much for my sensitive, little imagination to take sometimes. Or worse than that, it isn’t scary or creepy at all. Basically, unless your name is Joe Hill, I am going to be a pretty hard sell when it comes to reading horror.

Lucky me, though, Brian Moreland had a new book come out this month and he is on the same list as Mr. Hill. No joke. I have loved everything that Moreland has written and I was truly looking forward to starting his new book, The Vagrants.

The Vagrants brings us the story of Daniel Finley, a journalist who believes that he can save the homeless. Determined to completely submerge himself in their reality, Daniel lives among the homeless for six months. While living under a bridge, he learns the many spoken and unspoken rules of this world that our world chooses to ignore.

He also learns of something else; something deadly. One day, a mysterious man by the name of Mordecai shows up with his group of followers. Daniel keeps a safe distance from Mordecai and observes what seems to be a quickly growing cult. After observing some truly terrifying things, Daniel returns to his life, writes of his experience living under the bridge and becomes a published author.

Just when he begins to start enjoying his accomplishments, he is thrown into a dangerous position, trying to protect his father from mobsters. Concurrently, Daniel begins seeing some of the vagrants that he knew and he finds himself in a war between an Irish-American mafia and the deadly underground cult led by Mordecai.

While there is a certain Clive Barker story that I was reminded of while reading The Vagrants, this story stands on it’s own and is as equally creepy and unsettling. Moreland has a knack of dialing up the horror and gore without going over the top. Just when you start to feel your skin crawl, he draws back and leaves you with those mental images that have just burned into your brain. Never passing the point of good taste just for the sake of gore is an elusive ingredient in many horror novels, but Moreland nails it every time. He never spends too much time on a character’s background, only to kill them off in the next chapter, and he writes characters that are easy to invest in and identify with. The story moves at a great pace and has a satisfying ending. Look no further for your new horror author; I have already found him for you.


Slim Pickings; Best Horror From 1984 & 1985?

Welcome back kids; this is the third installment in a trip down memory lane. I am about to share with you, my personal favorite films from the years 1984 and 1985. As with previous insatllments, these are simply my personal faves; please share with me what movies you think I need to revisit and give another shot.


Gremlins (1984)

Much like Disney, Steven Spielberg enjoys luring children into his stories and then frightening them and/or making them cry.  Executive Producer, Steven Spielberg had cast Corey Feldman in E.T., only to have his character be written out; Mr. Spielberg promised Corey a role in his next film, thus, Corey Feldman makes his first appearance on this very short list from 1984. Feldman played Pete, the wise ass kid to Billy’s sweet and doe eyed Zack Galligan.

Who didn’t want their wacky dad to bring them home a Mogwai? Too bad they produce little bastards if you feed them after midnight and get them wet. So few rules, yet you managed to f*ck it up, Billy.  Directed by Joe Dante, Gremlins starts out so wonderfully cute and then turns so scary. I was truly terrified of Stripe when I saw this movie in the theatre. If you haven’t seen it lately, I highly recommend revisiting it; I think you will be surprised by how scary and gory it is. Blenders were being used as weapons long before You’re Next.


A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

Written and directed by Wes Craven, this movie truly was the stuff of nightmares in the 80’s. I can still remember the girls at school jump roping to that awful nursery rhyme. Who did they think they were, pretending this movie didn’t scare them?

Some of the visuals are a wee bit cheesy after all of these years, but the film holds up. It is such a great story and concept and it is executed wonderfully.  As someone who suffers from the occasional night terror, this movie is still scary to me 30 years later. And who can forget Johnny Depp’s epic death scene? That still looks amazing!


Friday The 13th:The Final Chapter

Well, we all know that we will, probably, never see the final chapter of this franchise, but this was a solid effort. Let’s be real and all admit that the best part of this movie is when Crispin Glover starts dancing;best minute of 1984, hands down. Coming up a close second, is Corey Feldman and his crazy shaved head. Feldman was only eleven years old when he did this movie and Crispin was his favorite cast member. (Yes, I am currently reading Coreyography and, no, I am not ashamed.)


Outside of some epic nerd dancing, there is a pretty awesome scene where Jason throws a girl out of a window in slow motion. She falls so gracefully and then all of the windows explode out of the car that she falls on. It’s kind of epic. The kills are great and watching Tommy (Feldman) go cave man on Jason with a machete is a wicked good time.


The Bride (1985)

Sting as Dr. Frankenstein and Jennifer Beals as his bride; one of his own creation. This movie is really more of a horror/sci-fi/fantasy/romance and that is precisely why I loved it as a young girl. It doesn’t quite hold up as well as one would hope, but nostalgia got me through it. It is almost two different stories of two outsiders learning to find their place in the world. I don’t know what it is about Frankenstein’s monster that breaks my heart, but the big guy really pulls on my heart strings;I felt much sadness for him in this story. And what can you say about Sting? He really is a handsome man with a fine mane of hair.


Day of the Dead (1985)

Written and directed by George A. Romero, this is the third installment in his Dead Series and it just keeps bringing the pain and the awesomeness that is Tom Savini special f/x.You know, the usual stuff, people bunkering down and hiding from zombies. In truth, the scene where a man is, very literally, torn to pieces by a hungry horde of zombies is what makes the movie for me.



Fright Night (1985)

The story of a young man, Charlie Brewster, who’s nosiness gets him into trouble with the wrong sort; a vampire. I am not sure if it is possible to have seen this movie in 1985 and not have fallen head over heels in love with Chris Sarandon. Only Sarandon could make a vampire named, Jerry, so sexy and so dangerous. This is a fun horror romp with a bonus; Roddy McDowel as Peter Vincent, local horror television host. He doesn’t believe in vampires, but agrees to help Charlie. Though there is a lot of 80’s cheesiness shining through, this is still a really great movie.


Re-Animator (1985)

Based on the H.P. Lovecraft story, this is a classic piece of horror cinema. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is a medical student experimenting with reanimating the dead this campy, gory good time. For the love of Hello Kitty, there is a decapitated head that talks and may very well orally rape you. Ladies, keep your legs crossed. Truly, this is a rare piece of horror, black comedy and gore. It is a must see.





Willow Creek


Everyone loves found footage these days, right? No? Are you feeling the found footage fatigue? What if I told you this was a film about Bigfoot and it is written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait? Goldthwait has managed to acquire a solid reputation as an “outside of the box” director with Shakes the Clown, Sleeping Dogs Lie and God Bless America, among others, on his resume. Now, he enters the horror genre with Willow Creek.

Willow Creek brings us the found footage left by young couple Jim (Bryce Johnson) and Kelly (Alexie Gilmore). Jim fancies himself a Bigfoot enthusiast and, while Kelly does not believe in the myth, she has agreed to help him shoot a documentary tracing their trek along the exact same path that Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin took in 1967 when they filmed the infamous footage that is, allegedly, an actual, honest to goodness, Bigfoot. Mostly, Jim just asks some of the locals to share their stories and it is, mostly, boring and not amusing.

After the token angry hillbilly threatens Jim and Kelly if they go any further on their path, Jim, magically, knows another way into the very spot where they will have a Bigfoot sighting. After a completely unnecessary and unromantic marriage proposal, the two make up, go to sleep and are awaken by a strange noise in the middle of the night. Seriously? Why the marriage proposal? Kelly has made it very clear that she does not have much interest in this trip and that she needs to move to L.A. Is Jim in a different relationship than the one that I’m watching or was this a cheap ploy to try to make me care about these characters? It didn’t work.

Imagine, if you will, The Blair Witch Project with no running, and no real scares or moments of suspense. All of the noises that Jim and Kelly hear are the exact same noises that the Blair Witch made. I’m not kidding. So, while they have traveled all of this way to see a Bigfoot, they choose to sit inside the tent, with the camera light on, for 18 minutes. Eighteen long minutes of a static shot of these two reacting to noises and saying, “Did you hear that?”


Dude, why don’t you look outside and get the footage of Bigfoot that you wanted? If you don’t want Bigfoot to find you, perhaps you should turn that light off. Or better yet, how about you just don’t go on the trip at all if you’re never going to investigate the strange noises? I cannot begin to wrap my brain around a horror film where no one goes to investigate the strange noise. How is anything going to happen if nobody does anything? And that, my friends, is the problem.



Willow Creek has a running time of one hour and twenty minutes. I have done all of the work for you and I am here to let you know that the 18 minute static shot comes in at the 47 minute mark and the “Bigfoot” sighting occurs with three minutes left in the film; the credits take up two of those minutes. In between the 18 freaking minutes of watching people listen to noises, the two re-enact the bit in Blair Witch when the girl loses her sh*t and they pass the same tree twice, thus, indicating that they are lost. Cue the strange (Blair Witch) noises again. When Jim hears the “vocalizing” of the Bigfoot, he becomes very excited, but to me, it just sounds like the sports anouncer who yells, ” GOOOOAAAAAAL” at a soccer game.


When the penultimate scene of Jim and Kelly encountering Bigfoot occurs, all you see is a naked female body with a blurry face. (I would like to point out that, while this movie couldn’t be bothered to investigate the strange noises, it did manage the mandatory boobie shot.) The camera then drops to the ground, gets dragged a few feet while we listen to Kelly scream and then all is quiet. That’s it. Movie is over. So, who found this footage?



I am just going to assume that the Bigfoot lady, who is not hairy and is just a human woman, picked it up and she is now subjecting all of us to it. I kept waiting for something to happen. Anything. Then, I started to wonder if I wasn’t in on the joke of the movie. I have absolutely no worldly idea as to why this movie is being showered with positive reviews. Nothing happened. Ok, something happened in the last three minutes; I became very angry and wanted my six dollars back.


Willow Creek is currently in select theaters and available via V.O.D.

Misha Segal; Hollywood Composer

What comes to mind when I bring up The Human Centipede film series?

This, perhaps?



Maybe you are a twisted individual like myself (pleased to meet you) and you not only watched The Human Centipede (First Sequence), but you watched it more than once. And you liked it. Truly, few movie quotes are as absurdly hilarious as “feed her!”. Oh, that Dr. Hieter is certainly a different breed, isn’t he? Naturally, after finding the grotesque imagination of Tom Six to be strangely wonderful, you were excited to see The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)  where you were treated to this :



Yup, I found the second film did exactly what it had promised; upped the ante in every single way. If it is gross, controversial or just in really poor taste, it was in this movie. Baby killed by a brake pedal, anyone? Or maybe it was the stapling of one person’s mouth to another’s anus. Whatever really gets your goat, you found it here.

One can only begin to imagine what writer and director Tom Six has in store for us with The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence). One thing we do know, there will be a 500 person human centipede. The mind reels.


So, behind all of these gruesome deaths and truly disgusting images, there is something that helps set the tone for all of this; the movie’s score. A movie score is such an integral, and yet, often overlooked piece of your movie experience. Full disclosure; I was a proud band geek for eight years. So, at times, I believe this is why I might be paying a bit more attention to the music in a movie than the next person. However, every single person watching a movie is affected by the film score, whether they are actively paying attention to it or not. This is where Misha Segal comes in.

Born in 1953 in Haifa, Israel,  Misha Segal was weaned on jazz and began to pursue music after his military service.  He studied with composers Paul Ben-Haim, Noam Sheriff and apprenticed under Dieter Schohnbach. After studying composition and conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Segal graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass.

Fellow horror fans, you may be familiar with Segal’s work in the 1989 version of The Phantom of the Opera. Composer of music to a wide variety of film and television genres, he has an Emmy Award and a Brit Award under his belt.


I don’t know about you, but the idea of watching a Tom Six film about a human centipede and writing the appropriate music for it, is a simply fascinating idea. Surely, it is one thing to write a love them and a completely different thing to write a theme for unthinkable horror. I am a wee bit giddy at the prospect of hearing what Mr. Segal has brought to the table with The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence).

Special thanks to Donna Hauber for the heads up on this delightful piece of movie and music information.  You can follow her on Twitter @DonnaHauber