It’s been awhile since I’ve done an actual update and I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of what would be the best way to start making some regular content on this page. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately with all the freelancing I’ve been doing as well as my fiction writing and studies to improve as a journalist and screenwriter and the blog has been falling by the wayside. So what do I do? Another vague update telling you about what cool stuff I have planned for the future followed by weeks of silence? Abandon it all in favor of social media?
I think I’ve come up with a feasible solution so we’re going to try something new. Below are links to articles I’ve written for various web pages, updates to some of the cooler stuff I’ve been doing, and other content that I just haven’t been able to post anywhere else. There’s enough of me floating about on the various interwebs that I can bring it all home and start working it in here…right?
Tiny Terrors! 2 went live at the start of the month. For those of you who haven’t read my Beautiful Creatures column, it’s all about monsters. From schlocky, B horror rejects to big budget, gore saturated icons. This is my second dip into short film monster mayhem focusing more on sites that produce and distribute content regularly.
Beautiful Creatures ran a special piece last summer about short films. It covered a list of gory, off the wall horrors including Velvet Road, Brutal Relax, and Don’t Move. These are movies with smaller budgets, shorter run times, and far less mainstream acclaim than your bigger studio films unless they end up in an anthology series like V/H/S but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t every bit as fun and terrifying as their feature length counterparts. On the contrary, these are vignettes written, directed, and performed by some of the most creative filmmaking talents in the business today. And, because the only thing people seem to love more than a good listicle is a sequel, I’ve compiled another collection of some of the best short horror films to watch, this time with an added twist. I’ve decided to drop names on four groups continuously bringing us these Tiny Terrors through their YouTube and Vimeo channels and other social media outlets. Follow the links and enjoy these great shorts and be sure to check out the original short film piece I did featuring even more original content by some great filmmakers.
The Bad Cookie (Daywalt Horror)
No, not the Full Moon, Gary Busey starring 2005 horror romp but a shorter, less ridiculous story full of witchcraft, romance, and killer confections. A young woman, a devotee of Halloween, decides to make Jack-O-Lantern cookies while watching horror movies on All Hallow’s Eve. But an accident while cutting the pumpkin shapes imbues one cookie in particular with life and, fresh out of the oven, it falls madly in love with her. The two have a brief evening together, playing and watching television the way you might expect someone to do with their dog or a small child. But when her boorish, disrespectful boyfriend arrives, the cookie goes from being grotesquely adorable to murderous. The cookie/monster is a puppet with bulging eyes and a hideous looking set of tiny dentures inside its grinning mouth that makes it both loveable and creepy at the same time. Drew Daywalt, the writer/director/actor has an entire channel devoted to some of his bizarre and terrifying tales and you’re missing out if you haven’t given him a look.
Meanwhile, at 52 Weeks of Horror, I got a chance to talk to my friend David Black (Darkness Visible, Oz Indie Cinema) who has joined the beautiful and talented Tritia DeVisha to host a brand new series on Australian television called Horror House. The series will feature the duo as monstrous creatures introducing some of the best Aussie made independent short horror currently out there.
Horror hosts are nothing new. They’ve been around since the dawn of television, haunting our sets with bizarre and intriguing ghouls who set the stage for even stranger tales. From the likes of Vampira, Criswell, and Elvira we’ve been welcomed you into their lairs with promises of chills, thrills and outright terror. Like any notion or cultural phenomena, the horror host has evolved. Other shows quickly took to the model making modifications to fit the platform they had in mind. Rod Serling gave us Twilight Zone and Night Gallery which offered science fiction and horror in a shorter, more television friendly format while Mystery Science Theater went a step further by breaking the fourth wall and riffing jokes over god awful dialogue and plot points. When I was in high school I’d stay up late and, if I was very lucky, the wind would blow just right and carry the signal for Dr. Gangrene’s Creature Feature late at night. Now, in the age of the internet, a renaissance is happening in horror culture and indie cinema. A new generation of horror host is appearing in our computer screens and on our smart phones. I’ve had a chance to meet some of these amazing new hosts like Malvolia: The Queen of Screams and the duo I’m about to introduce you to tonight.
I’ve been digging Aussie horror lately. Films like Alfred J Hemlock and Wyrmwood have been winning me over with their amazing story telling, beautiful portrayals, and frightening designs. The land down under is becoming a terrifying place in the most wonderful way imaginable. With a vibrant independent film and horror culture scene -as well as being a haven for sideshow performers, artists, musicians, writers, and actors- everything you could dream of is being explored and David Black is leading the way. The frontman for the band Darkness Visible has been writing, directing, producing and starring in several independent films and has already had quite an amazing career as an editor, cartoonist, and musician. Now, along with the lovely Tritia DeVisha, a talented presenter and actress, they’re trying to bring indie cinema to late night television as a pair of horror hosts whose gruesome, vulgar, hilarious antics are sure to capture your attention.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all fun and games this past week as horror icon and inspiration behind my career as a zombie horror writer George A. Romero passed away. The Godfather of Gore, Patron Saint of the Zombie Apocalypse is remembered briefly in a special tribute piece we ran entitled Thank You, Mister Romero.
I spent a weekend walking a path as big as all Westeros as I traversed Con of Thrones at the Gaylord-Opryland Hotel a few weekends ago for Zombies In My Blog. It’s been a hell of a thing to be getting back into the convention circuit and, being there as a member of the press has been, by far, the of the coolest things I’ve done so far as a freelance journalist.
The world of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is massive, full of complex mythologies and diverse regions that encompass a huge area. So, what better place to have the very first Con of Thrones convention in Nashville than the Opryland Hotel?
The massive resort is known through the region for both its size and the elaborate vistas created inside the sprawling estate. The largest convention, ever, for fans of the epic adventure series, both in its original print format and through the hit HBO show, were invited to explore panels discussing the history, politics, faiths and fun of their favorite fandom, as well as shop through a large selection of specialty vendors and even meet some of the stars. There was also cosplay galore, ranging from a few dozen seemingly identical Targaryen queens to some episode-quality representations of fan favorites. So, have a seat and get ready to dive into the realms of Westeros, as we explore Con of Thrones.
Produced by Mischief Management of New York, to call Con of Thrones ambitious would be an understatement. Promising hundreds of hours of special panels and content from the worlds of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic, they certainly did not disappoint. Covering a wide range of topics, some of the panels I was able to sit in on included discussions on Tyrion Lannister’s future within the television series, sex and sexuality in the GoT universe, the history of the Valyrian steel blades wielded by some of Westeros’ and Essos’ most elite warriors, and debates on who would eventually rule from the Iron Throne. The panelists, themselves, were as varied as the topics and included everyone from bloggers and authors to diehard fans of the series, from all walks of life.
And what a perfect segue this is to bring up my intended, three tiered Dragon Con coverage I’ll be doing at the first of September. I’ve been making plans ever since I confirmed my press clearance and now it’s just a matter of getting all the various itineraries and events listed out so I can make a plan and start covering this event like the quasi-semi-pro that I am. I’ll be covering events at the con for all three sites as well as streaming video and other content of the DOTDBlog YouTube Channel.
There’s a lot of great stuff coming up in the next week. From 52 Weeks of Horror you’ll be seeing interviews with Ben Rock, Bob DeRosa, and Lowell Dean as well as the start of my serialized, short fiction tribute to Ed Wood’s classic Plan 9 From Outerspace. A new installation of Beautiful Creatures at Psycho Drive-In featuring the 2009 giant bug invasion Infestation, and a review of some brand new Troma films (Dolphinman Battles the Sex Lobsters and Memento Mortis) appearing on Zombies In My Blog.
Finally, a couple of reminders. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram as @dotdblog. Lots of links, pics, videos, and sarcasm. Come one, you know you like me snarky.
Next, The Nashville Zombie Walk is still be worked on. Hoping to make some major announcements by the end of next week provided we can get some last minute details hammered out soon. Otherwise, it will likely be the first week of August.
Deadman’s Tome, publisher of my short piece Schrodinger’s Dilemma, has announced a new Patreon page to try and generate some money to help the owner cover some of the overhead for the site as well as to offer some better payment options to contributors. They’ll also be publishing Schrodinger’s Dilemma in part of their third anthology collection Book of Horrors III scheduled for release later this year.
Also, be sure to check out Amazon and get yourself some copies of these amazing books, now in print and digital formats!
So, with any luck, updates like this will start being a weekly fixture here at Danno of the Dead Blog. I’m getting a bit more serious in my writing and content development and this site is the perfect, totally underutilized vehicle to promote myself and the work I’m doing. Be sure to come back and check out all the latest stories and articles and, until next time, stay scary.