October isn’t merely a month, it’s an energy. A most macabre sensation that permeates from its 31st day, and inspires not visions of sugarplums, but of ghastly jack-o’-lantern grins, rattling bones, cobwebbed corridors, and—yes—candy. It’s an energy—a state of mind—we call… Halloween.
Editor’s Note: We’re proud to present our second original serialized comic, Neon Starlight Express—a story about an intergalactic road manager who books 80s rock acts for alien civilizations, written by Wes Black and illustrated by Joseph Luster. Check back next Friday for the second instalment!
Let’s be honest—some people are just really fucking boring. They lack that spark, that magic element that makes you sit up and take notice. They can’t help it, of course, but that doesn’t make things any less maddening.
Director Bill Rebane is really fucking boring. The ukulele player who used hemorrhoid cream as hand moisturizer, however, was not. Together, they made Blood Harvest.
I should explain.
Last week, things got a little out of hand. It all started with the rise of the camcorder trash-auteur—but soon there were woodchipper massacres, black devil dolls from hell, and the carnal delights of an invisible ghost son sexily blowing at his mother’s hair.
You’ll be begging to go back there soon enough.
In the days before the analog extinction, a most prominent purveyor of physical media emerged. Now a fetishized monument, it was at the time considered by many to be a scourge upon the once proud institutions of the drive-in and the grindhouse. Tumbleweeds rolled across vacant lots once lined with cars—their windows steamed, the vans a-rockin’ while the fleapit movie houses of New York’s 42nd Street were on the docket for Disneyfication. Overtaking their spot atop the movie watching world was the video rental shop. Or, as it was known by the ancients, the video store.
Italy: there is perhaps no other country with so rich, so bountiful a culture of the arts. It’s the soil from which opera grew, the birthplace of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Caravaggio, the hub of the fashion world, and it’s the very land where La Rotunda and the Colosseum stand to this very day.
But it’s their inventiveness in the art of the cinematic pseudonym that towers above even the most celebrated of structures. Each finely crafted by the artisans of the industry to soothe the average American with a strongly-rooted aversion to foreigners. To fool one into believing you’re watching a film that is totally not from Italy, we swear.
On the list of things that can really put a damper on your day, demons are surely up there. Vomiting, speaking in an extremely deep voice, and being forced to disembowel your friends in a secluded cabin are but a few of the common annoyances a demon can bring into your life. In rare cases, they can even lead to the kissing of Satan’s butthole. To protect yourself from these threats, you must first know your enemy. Which is why I’ve decided to teach this advanced course in demonology.
There are films that simply belong to another place—a place reserved for the indefinable, the indefensible, the irredeemable, cinematic slime banished long ago to a dimension that is accessible only in the darkest hours. So leave your humanity behind, embrace the social mutant within, and enter… the Midnight Void.
In 1975, Peter Weir’s haunting Picnic at Hanging Rock cast a spell on viewers worldwide; the ambiguous tale lulled its audience into a dreamy haze with the mystery of three schoolgirls vanishing at the titular Hanging Rock. The picture heralded a New Wave of Australian cinema, and local critics were ecstatic to have such a work represent the continent to filmgoers across the globe.
God and the Devil share a cabin aboard a train barreling through the night. A Night Train to Terror, if you will. Oh, I almost forgot, in the car up ahead there’s this breakdancing guy in DayGlo sweats. He’s the lead singer of this band, and they only have one song. I know they only have one song because they perform it over and over, and over again. There’s also a saxophone player, he gets a solo at one point. But back to the night train. Its destination could only be one place, a place we know all too well by this point: The Midnight Void.
Before you get too excited, this is not a comprehensive critical dissection of Dracula Sucks, the 1978 X-rated adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic, starring “The Elliott Gould of Porn” Jamie Gillis as Count Dracula. But since you’ve already got me talking about it, I need to air the one gripe I have with that movie. You can’t just title your film Dracula Sucks, and then not deliver. I get the intended double entendre, and on the surface it’s clever. But at the end of the day it’s nothing more than an empty promise, and a broken dream.
Now that that’s off my chest, it’s time to move on to the actual topic of the day: Vampires. And not just any vampires. No, this is about vampires who aren’t musty old Dracula, because frankly Dracula sucks —except of course in the movie that’s literally called Dracula Sucks.
It’s that time of the year again when there isn’t a single holiday worth a damn in sight. July 4th is a distant memory, the fall and winter festivities are a dot on the horizon, and does anybody really care about Labor Day? But hey, it’s always a murder holiday in our hearts, and in the realm of horror, the holidays have long played host to murder…
Zombies: I’m sick of them, you’re sick of them. The only thing that could possibly make me cringe harder than a zombie is a pirate — and if you make a zombie pirate joke, I will stand up and walk away. But it’s not just a mere case of overexposure. They’ve become too safe; they’ve become Sunday night TV with the fam. And zombie movies should be like porn: you watch them alone or with a group of like-minded companions, but never with your family.
Frankly, they belong in the gutter. I like the gutter, you like the gutter. The Italians, they LOVE the gutter. Pick any disreputable film genre, and the Italians have not only dragged it down into the gutter, but tossed a bucket of maggots on top and bathed it in an overturned port-a-potty. They’re a beautiful people.
Hippies, man, with their crummy homemade deodorants and annoying bongos and jam bands with songs that never end (and don’t even get me started on the various hemp products). You know what happens to hippies in The Midnight Void? They get rabies. That’s right, and if you’ve never seen a hippy with rabies, well then that means you’ve never seen…
Larry Cohen is a genre unto himself. A movie is no longer horror, comedy, action, or thriller when Larry Cohen is involved, it’s simply a Larry Cohen film. Who is Larry Cohen? Why do I insist on writing “Larry Cohen” over and over?
Larry Cohen is a writer. Larry Cohen is a producer. Larry Cohen is a director. Often, but not always, Larry Cohen is all three at once. Starting out in television in the early 1960s, he created The Invaders, Branded, and Coronet Blue (which heavily inspired The Bourne Identity), while simultaneously cranking out scripts for the top shows of the era, such as The Defenders and The Fugitive. In 1972 he made his directorial debut with Bone aka Dial Rat for Terror, a scorching racial satire about a black thief/rapist invading the home of an upper-class white family in Beverly Hills. It also contains a scene where someone slips on a banana peel.