Friday, September 24, 2010

The 7 Days of Monster Fest - Day #1: The Lost Skeleton Returns Again

Continuing a tradition I started here on the blog last year, today I begin the countdown to Monster Fest by highlighting 7 cool things that will be taking place. Not content to kick things off lightly, the first item in the spotlight is The Lost Skeleton Returns Again. Some of you may remember a few years back at Monster Fest we screened the mega-cult hit The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, hosted by its special effects creator Cortney Skinner. Well flash forward to present day and it has now spawned a sequel! For the uninitiated Lost Skeleton is a loving tribute to the sci-fi/horror films of the 50's, with a generous dose of tongue-in-cheek humor thrown in. Cortney will be on hand during the day to talk about his involvement with the sequel, and A Dark and Stormy Night which was produced by the same team. He has also graciously agreed to kick off our evening Fantasmo by introducing a special screening of The Lost Skeleton Returns Again. How cool is that?!?

So there is your day #1 highlight, stay tuned for more amazing Monster Fest happenings over the next week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Steven Seagal is Lawman Season 2!

Things have been fairly quiet on the Seagal front up until the past month or so, and I haven't written on the subject in quite some time. The peace was officially broken on Labor Day weekend with the release of Machete, marking Seagal's return to the big screen (in a villainous turn no less). Sadly, while the film debuted to decent business, it disappeared out of the top 10 pretty quickly (and is barely still in theaters). Sadder still is that I haven't had a chance to see it, and likely won't until it hits home video.

My spirits were brightened on Tuesday of this week however, when I discovered that the second season of Lawman was posted on Itunes. Right now you can download an extended preview clip which is pretty dramatic, easily rivaling the most intense moments of season one. Honestly I was a little surprised that season two came to be, as the first outing had only so-so ratings. Either way I'm happy to see round two for Chief Seagal and his brigade.

This spike in Seagalogical activity prompted me to investigate what else he has coming up, and that led to an even more fascinating discovery. First off in October his next DTV (direct-to-video) feature Born To Raise Hell is scheduled for release. It looks like one of his standard revenge vehicles, but with DTV you just never know what crazy surprises to expect (especially when it comes to Seagal). The real mindblower though is that he has a TV series coming out in 2011 called Southern Justice!! I know nothing other than that at this point, save for it is listed as having 13 episodes and his character name is Elijah Kane (classic). Over on Wikipedia it also claims he has a movie (presumably DTV) coming out in 2011 that is directed by Dolph Lundgren!! Hope Dolph co-stars as well, but either way an exciting prospect.

Now if he would only put out a new album, and finally(!) release the third flavor of his Lightning Bolt energy drink, the long-rumored Root Beer Rush! Still this is pretty satisfying news all around.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monster Fest VII: Monster Fest Meets the Wolf Man

Hey Superfans!

It’s that time again, time for another frightastic edition of our annual MONSTER FEST program! For those of you Superfans new to Fantasmo, MONSTER FEST is a daylong convention which features panels, special guests, costume contests, film screenings, etc. I have to say this year’s edition may be our best yet, as it highlights a special anniversary and features some of the coolest guests we’ve ever had the privilege of welcoming. The date of the program is Saturday, October 2nd, and it will be held here at Chesapeake Central Library (298 Cedar Road, Chesapeake, VA, 23322) as always. A few schedule items are still developing, so this isn’t entirely set in stone, but the mostly final schedule of events is as follows:

9:00 a.m. – Classic Horror Trailers

10:00 a.m. – Zombies 101 – Presented by: Lynn Shipp

10:00 a.m. – The Haunted History of Tidewater

11:00 a.m. – Horror Trivia Contest

11:00 a.m. – The Making of The Lost Skeleton Returns Again & A Dark and Stormy Night – Presented by: Cortney Skinner

11:00 a.m. – Travels for the Haunted Tourist – Presented by: Mike Joyner

12:00 p.m. – Costume Contest

1:00 p.m. – Godzilla: A History in Film (Part 2) – Presented by: Tony Mercer, Lee Hansen, and Chris Johnson

1:00 p.m. – Things That Go Bump in the Night: Are Ghosts Making a Comeback in Fiction & Non-Fiction – Presented by: Pamela K. Kinney

1:00 p.m. – “Hi There Horror Movie Fans”: The Bowman Body Documentary Sneak Preview – Presented by: Sean Kotz and The Bowman Body

2:00 p.m. – Dr. Madblood 35th Anniversary Celebration – Featuring Dr. Madblood and Friends

3:00 p.m. – Horror Trivia Contest

5:00 p.m. – Library closes and reopens at 7:00 p.m. for evening presentation

Film Schedule (show starts at 8:00):

The Lost Skeleton Returns Again – Hosted by: Cortney Skinner

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
The Fly (1958)
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

In addition to all of the above we will have a number of special guests and authors on hand throughout the day, as well as local clubs and collectible dealers. We’re also very pleased to have our friends at Regal Cinemas back this year with lots of fun giveaways. For continuing updates stay tuned to the official web site at:

So there you have it Superfans, your MONSTER FEST itinerary! A full day of frightening fun! See you there!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Escapism Film Festival 2010

Speaking of The Carolina Theatre and Retrofantasma, also coming up there at the end of the month is their annual Escapism Film Festival. Once again it's another amazing lineup with titles including: Star Trek 2, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, RoboCop, The Muppet Movie, Enemy Mine, The Last Starfighter, Legend, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Legend of Billie Jean, and The Secret of NIMH. That's an outstanding list of classic films, but the MOST interesting highlight of all is that they are screening Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in 35mm! It of course will include the awesome "James Bond" opening credits that didn't appear in the television version, which is worth the price of admission alone. Many folks forget that Buck was released theatrically just like Battlestar Galactica. Having seen it at the drive-in back in the late 70's I can tell you it's fantastic seeing it on the big screen!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Envy Report: Retrofantasma Vs. Terror in the Aisles

Our doppleganger program Retrofantasma in North Carolina has an amazing lineup for October including Hammer movies, Tom Atkins, and the classic 80's pseudo-documentary/clip show Terror in the Aisles. Back in the early 80's when horror movies were all the rage Universal released this 90-minute montage into theaters hosted by genre veterans Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen. It actually features more than just Friday the 13th/Halloween style movies though, including suspense films of the day such as Nighthawks, Vice Squad, etc. After its initial release on VHS and laserdisc the film went out of print, and apparently is unlikely to be released ever again due to rights issues. Sigh.

So that's the story, but get this - the print of Terror in the Aisles that Retrofantasma is screening is the last 35mm print of the film in existence, straight out of the Universal vault! I don't know about you but information like that just causes my jaw to hit the floor. It's hard to believe that a fairly major movie released in 1984 could be in danger of oblivion. Making matters worse is that a DVD/Blu-ray release is never going to happen, so unless you track down an old copy of the VHS forget ever seeing this again.

Hard to say how I would react to this film now, but I remember loving it as a kid. How can you go wrong with a film comprised of little else other than clips of some of the greatest horror movies of the 70's and 80's? With intros by two classic genre stars? If you never had the pleasure of seeing this, a road trip to North Carolina might be well worth it. Did I mention the same evening they are also screening the last existing 35mm print of Halloween III: Season of the Witch?!?