Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's End?

I'm taking a long break. But in the meantime, for all your blog needs, I highly recommend my favorite blog, The Oak Drive-In. I've discovered so many great new movies from this one. It's well written, positive, and offers just the right amount of sex and sleaze.

Some other really good blogs I enjoy are:
Basement of Ghoulish Decadence
At the Mountains of Madness
Grimm Reviewz
Doctor Carnage's World of Horror
The Uranium Cafe

Tell 'em I sent ya!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

5 Voodooriffic Questions with Hells Fire Sinners

 Most people in America have somewhat distorted view of the essence of Country music and where it came from. And this is totally understandable. The terrible pop country that has dominated the charts since the 90s is all many have ever been exposed to. With the exception of Johnny Cash, the average music listener thinks of Country as pearlie smiled, god fearing, friendly folks with acoustic guitars and a face made for a poster. But the heart of Country couldn't be even further from that. The oldschool guys were the first rebels of music. The first outlaws. The first bad boy, trouble makers. And because of these vintage rebels, there has been a resurgence of that outlaw spirit. Handfuls of musicians are going back to that classic sound, shaping new takes on the classic sound in Outlaw Country, Cowpunk, Hellbilly Rock and even Rockabilly and its numerous sub-genres.

Hailing from Ohio of all places, Hells Fire Sinners is unique even within a unique subgenre. Whereas many Hellbilly groups will do Country music and Punk or Metal, these outlaw rockers actually manage to combine the two. Though they do classic Country sounding tracks as well, many of their songs will feature blistering, heavy guitar riffs, but with twangy Country vocals. Their sound is much like if Hank III sang for the heavier, Graves-era Misfits. And to add to it all, the Hells Fire Sinners also focus quite a bit of their material on horror movies. Their stuff is rowdy, violent, and full of profanity. Exactly how Country Music should be. Since American Rock has no balls left, groups like this are making up for it.
The following is an interview I conducted with Alan and Andy through a Lovecraft-esc cosmic group mind meld. And my beard has never been healthier looking.

Q. To get the basics out of the way for frame of reference.... what is your all time favorite horror movie.
A. I've got so many "favorite" horror films but I'll go with the original Evil Dead. You can't go wrong with Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi and the Shemps.

Q. You often hear horror or sci-fi based bands compare their albums, or the band itself, to a movie in sound. Sometimes a specific movie. What film or film series, horror or otherwise, would you say best sums up Hells Fire Sinners and why?
A. I'd have to say The Phantasm, because we're really just dwarf zombies trying to take over the world for the tall man (also known as Glen Danzig).

Q. Zombie Johnny Cash in a chainsaw fight against zombie Hank Williams, who wins?
A. It would have to be Hank because he died in his 20's so he'd be a much faster, stronger, tougher zombie. Cash could barely move when he was alive at the end, could you imagine him trying to start a chainsaw as a zombie?

Q. Have you found it harder to make a name for yourself being based out of Ohio rather than the South? Until you guys, I'd never heard of a mid western country group. 
A. No, not at all. Ohio has had a pretty good "cow-punk" scene. Groups like Two Cow Garage, Appalachian Death Ride and The Sovines(RIP) have been killing in bars for years. There are also pretty good punk rock and rockabilly scenes here. We just slip and slide between all the different scenes playing with whoever will have us. 
Oh yeah, Mojo Nixon lived in Cincinnati for a number of years and Dwight Yoakam grew up in Ohio can't be all bad. On a side note I have to say the North and South Carolina treat us like family when we go down there there and we love them for it.

Q. Finally, if Hells Fire Sinners could collaborate with any famous horror or grindhouse figure, be it a director, actor, artist, who would it be and why?
A. I'm going to cheat on this one and give two answers.
1. Vincent Price. Ignoring the fact that he is:
       A) One of the greatest horror actors of all time.

       B) A great cook(he wrote a cookbook, go find it) and

       C) Dead.

I just want him to do voice-overs on all of our songs like he did in Michael Jackson's Thriller. Okay and maybe pop up in a few of our videos every once in a while, not that we have any.  

2. I'd love to work with the band Goblin. Their work with Dario Argento is some of the scariest music ever. I not sure we could find any common ground musically but it sure would be fun to try.

There we have it. Now run on over and check out:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rob Zombie's 'Not so' Great American Nightmare

This is a tough review for me. Not only do I hate doing negative reviews, I've also pretty much loved everything Rob Zombie has ever done. This will be the first thing of his I am openly down on. But bare with me. I plan to talk about each element of the Haunted House event and discuss why, all in all, not one bit of it worked. I was highly let down with every aspect of the event, and I'm not hard to please. And yet, I see people online raving about it. So I figured I would be honest and try to save people the money, a 100 bucks in all, I wasted on terrible event.

Venue: The Fairplex is a pretty decent place. Lots of parking(at ten bucks a pop though). But if you live in Los Angeles proper or any of the surrounding areas, Pomona is pretty far. It took a little over an hour to get there. But once there, parking was easy and they had a little tram to take you to the event. At this point I was still pretty pleased with it all. Then, once I got off at GAN(Great American Nightmare), it started going downhill.

The employees knew nothing about the event and were very unhelpful. I bought the VIP package, and on the ticket it says to skip the line and go right to the gate. Well, at the gate they didnt even know what the VIP package was. After a lot of confusion, they scanned my ticket twice and said that I was already in the event. I had to go talk to two other people just to finally be walked in... with NO VIP stuff(which was supposed to be a shirt and special badge). I saw later that off to the side was a small booth that looked like a merch booth. Apparently at some point(though at no point I saw) there was a yellow piece of paper taped to the front that said VIP check in. But again, the ticket said go straight to the gate. And once inside, an employee told me the VIP check in was in the venue, down a red carpet. One we never found.

The Mazes: Over all, the set-up was extremely poor. All three mazes were housed in the same building. So you couldn't pick and choose. You had to start with Lords of Salem and end with 1000 Corpses. Which, had that been the only problem, I could have easily looked past. But here is the kicker and the worst thing about GAN. You can ONLY do the mazes ONE time. That's right. You pay anywhere from 35 to 55 bucks to go through one time. For a normal ticket.. maybe I can see it. But for a VIP ticket... one time? Ridiculous. When I complained they claimed it was cause of lines and so everyone would get a chance. Yet there was not one single person in the VIP line and only about ten people in the normal line. I could have gone through about 4 times without effecting a thing. And nowhere on their website do they mention this little rip off.

And you know how most professional haunted houses don't allow the employees to touch you? Not the case at GAN. They all kinds of grab you, push you, bump into you.

Maze 1 - The Lords of Salem:  Terrible. Probably the worst haunted house I have ever been in, and I've been in tons of small town local ones. Basically you go in and they roughly put a bag over your head. Yup. A heavy, musty, black bag that no telling how many others wore. And your only option was wear it or leave through their charming "pussy exit". And they let you know right away that if you took it off you would be thrown out.

So you enter and wander around completely in the dark, bumping into walls and people while loud noises play. Three times someone jumped out and yelled. And that was it. 15 minutes of feeling a dark wall and getting bumped into. I even got stuck in a corner. There was nothing scary or unique about this. I've never been so annoyed in a haunted house before. And to top it off, the Lords of Salem had so much great imagery and this took advantage of almost none of it. How could it? You have a black bag over your head the entire time.

Maze 2 - The Haunted World of el SuperBeasto in 3d:  This was the only highlight of the night, and even it was only fair. The best part was the walls. It had really neat 3D drawings of naked girls and monsters. When you enter there is a vertigo tunnel, but that was about it for unique stuff. There were no scares in this one. Just people dressed up as Superbeasto, Suzy, Dr. Satan, and a few other random characters. They wandered around talking nonsense or doing sexual stuff. I was getting the feeling by this point they had replaced scares with an attempt to shock. Sorry, seeing a guy in a kitty mask pretending to masturbate doesn't shock me. I'm not 14 or a soccer mom.

This was by far the best maze. And saying that, isn't saying much. Had it been somewhere else like Horror Nights, it would have been the worst.

Maze 3 - House of 1000 Corpses: Another big let down, maybe even worse than Lords of Salem because of what I expected. I had been to the last several years of Universal Horror Nights and been to the 1000 Corpses maze there. That maze was amazing. I was hoping for, and expecting, a larger version of that. Nope. They started over. In the Horror Nights version, you started with Spaulding's museum, entered the murder ride, and on to the Firefly family. This GAN version of the maze was extremely random. There was very little actual 1000 Corpses stuff within. Most was just weird redneck looking people and then depictions of Serial Killers and some of their crime scenes.

Maybe I'm getting old, but I actually found the Charles Manson section to be in poor taste. You enter the scene of the Tate murders and there on the floor is a dead, pregnant, mutilated Sharon Tate on the floor. In the center of it was a poor Charles Manson impersonator yelling at you. Again, not at all scary, just a poor attempt to shock. I think I was more offended at the cheap tactic than the scene itself. It was really juvenile. Then another room had a John Wayne Gacy masturbating a balloon and babbling at you. In yet another room, which I think was supposed to be a courtroom, had what looked like Jeffery Dahmer cutting the head off of another Jeffery Dahmer. It was more head scratching than anything.

And to make it all worse, when you are entering the maze there is a Baby Firefly and Tiny at the entrance. The Baby asks you if they can touch you. I'm a good sport, so I said yes. Wish I hadn't. The tiny grabs you by the head and uses a fake knife to carve something in your forehead. But what you don't see from behind is that the blade pours fake blood. So entering the maze I had fake blood running into my eyes and mouth.

So again, not a single scare. Granted, I don't scare easy, but I usually get startled at least a few times per Horror Nights maze. GAN didn't even offer that.

Scare Zone:  Not even. The scare zone was one small stretch of road, mostly consisting of vendors, with four large anamatronics and a smoke machine. That's it. I saw a couple of costumed performers here and there, but not really in the 'scare zone'.

Vendor's Area:  Mostly just T-shirt stands.

Concert Venue:  Now this area was pretty cool. It was a nice room with good sound. Had it been a good band, it probably would have been pretty neat. And this is the only saving grace of the event. If a band you like is playing, a concert(though I think they are really short sets) could make the price of the ticket worth it. A great band playing, with a few haunted houses, would have been a pretty decent night. But this wasn't the case for me. It was some teenie bopper band I had never heard of. And with them came a predominately hipster crowd. I hadn't seen that many pairs of horn rimmed glasses since the last time I was at Little Tokyo(a big hipster hangout).

Final Thoughts: Lazy, poorly put together, and a complete failure to reach the potential it could have had. My honest recommendation is skip this event unless there is a band playing you really like. Then you might get your money's worth. But other wise, just save your money and go to Universal's Horror Nights. Granted, this is a first year event. Maybe it will get better. Trial and error. But the way people are kissing GAN's ass, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Pre-Halloween Random Entry

Those of you who have been reading Hellbilly Hollywood for awhile know that I generally take the month of October off. The reason? Because nearly every blog out there, even non-horrror related ones, start ramping it up and posting more than double the usual amount. Some even post every day. And in this onslaught of horror posts and updates, its super easy to get lost in the flood. So I just sit back, enjoy it, and watch a horror movie a day for the whole month.

To get a little blog fever out of my system before the Halloween season, the Pre-Halloween Random Entry! Just a little collection of random stuff I wanted to talk about.

Silvia Superstar, who was the vocalist and song writer for The Killer Barbies, will be(or has) releasing(released) a new CD/Record from her new band, Silvia Superstar and Los Fabulosos. Not punk like Killer Barbies, Los Fabulosos has kind of a vintage 50s and early 60s rock sound. Really good stuff. Only problem, most of the info is in spanish, so I dont know if this release will be available in the states or not.

I love her work. From Killer Barbies to her electronic solo album to the new group. I also like the two Jess Franco movies about the Killer Barbies.

Next up we have two amazing pieces of fanart for one of my favorite films, In the Mouth of Madness. The first is a mock book cover for The Hobb's End Horror, one of Sutter Cane's books from the movie. The next is an amazing custom DVD cover for the film itself. I'm not sure who did these, but they are just great.

Finally, there are quite a few cool horror related events coming up. At the end of this month I will be attending Waxwork Records' Day of the Dead screening/Record release party. To be held at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, they will be showing the film and then doing an autograph signing with the film composer John Harrison as well as Romero himself. I pre-ordered the record, so I won't have it in time to get it signed. But there is also a CD version that I plan on getting at the event.

The record release is a 2LP set with liner notes by Romero, fully remastered sound, and a bonus poster. I think it's sold out for pre-order, but I can't imagine them not doing a second run of these.

And with that, enjoy the Halloween season! And if you don't already, follow me on facebook and twitter for small random pieces of voodooy goodness.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Trailer Time Returns!

Time for another installment of my exciting ongoing series about random and bizarre stuff I think you should see... or at very least the trailer of.

Robot Carnival - ok, so not a trailer(cause I couldnt find one) but a segment from one of my all time favorite animated movies. This is really anime at its height, before the anime boom of the 90s watered everything down. Its never been released on DVD, but some VHS copies are still floating around.

Bikini Squad - A funny little early 90s Baywatch parody. Low on nudity, but its fun enough to make up for that.

Sugar Hill - A combo of Blaxploitation and Horror with a voodoo theme. Good times.

Suicide Club aka Jisatsu Circle - I am openly pretty hard on modern Japanese cinema. But they do manage some great stuff here and there. This strange movie about a rash of teen suicides has a thick, intriguing plot and some nice ick moments. The trailer makes it seem like supernatural horror, but it's not.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Whisperer in Darkness - 2011

I must admit, I got into the works of H.P. Lovecraft rather late. Just two or three years ago. Not really sure how I missed the boat on this one by so long, but ever since I've been making up for lost time. In the last couple years I've read as many stories as I could get my hands on, read tribute stories, and watched dozens of Lovecraftian movies. Not to mention my love of the HP Lovecraft Historical Society's amazing radio plays. And in my quest for all things Lovecraft, I will go on record and say that I think that The Whisperer in Darkness is best Lovecraft film adaption yet. Not since In the Mouth of Madness have I been this impressed with a Lovecraftian horror film.

Also a product of the HPL Historical Society, The Whisperer is an adaptation of the story of the same name. These guys, from their radio plays to their films, just clearly get Lovecraft and his vision. And though they took some liberties towards the end of the movie, they are changes that make sense and helped to better adapt the story to film. The original ending wouldn't have had quite the impact as the one presented here. But really, this is the only thing I think Lovecraft fans could take any issue with.

What makes this film really stand out, besides fine acting and extremely interesting characters, is the tone of it. The Whisperer in Darkness is done in the style of a classic horror movie. It's black and white, with that classic, almost rhythmic style of speaking, and old style spooky music. But all that is coupled with a quicker pace and intriguing story telling. It definitely has the feel of the Dark Adventure Radio Plays.

The film is still available on DVD, but sadly the prices have started rising. I guess it is getting rare, or always was. Not sure if it is available on any streaming sites, but this is a must see film for Lovecraft fans. Find it!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Southern Voodoo Bash

My newest book, Southern Voodoo Bash, is out now. Book four in the I Love Ilsa series, it makes a return to the more light hearted story telling of the first book. I figured I should, because things are going to get really dark and serious for book five, which should be out next summer at this time. So here's the publishers description.

"A hoodoo queen out for revenge, a Satanic cult who hunts monsters, killer dolls, and a giantsquid-  like fiend are just a few of the things you will see in Southern Voodoo Bash!

Welcome to the past, present, and future of the band of monsters known as I Love Ilsa. Southern Voodoo Bash is a collection of stories focusing on different time periods for the monsters. Inside you will hear about the band’s first Halloween together. Then their first show. You will learn about Kane and Mari’s new band and what they did after Monstrimony. And not only that, but you will also get a solo story about Ophidian, a strange Christmas adventure for Rika and Silvia, and finally, a zombi beach party for Lina and Miranda"

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Voodoo Beach Party 2013

Having just returned from my yearly vacation, I return with several goodies I picked up while down South. As I've said, I spend almost as much time DVD and stuff hunting as I do on the beach. The selection is often better and the prices are always better. So here is some of this year's haul.

DVDs -  The first in a triple feature 6 disc set that contains the Stephen's King miniseries' The Shining, It, and Salem's Lot. All I which I really enjoyed. I grabbed this one at Wal-Mart for only 12 bucks. I would have paid that much for any of these alone.

Godzilla vs. Biollante - 5 dollars at K-Mart. I've had my eye on this one since it was released not to long ago. I'm glad I waited.

Death Comes in 3s - Another K-Mart find, this 5 dollar collection features 9 movies: Demonic Toys, Demonic Toys 2, Dollman vs Demonic Toys, Gingerdead Man 1 to 3, and Killjoy 1 to 3. I've seen these titles on plenty of other compilations, but never all together and for such a good price.

King Caesar - Yet another K-Mart find. When I was a kid I loved Caesar, probably more than Godzilla himself. It was cool to finally see an American release of this character. He doesn't stand too well, but its a small price to pay for the Caesarness.

Sleazy Florida Postcard - Maybe in my mad hunt last year, I bought them all up, cause I was only able to find this one this time around. You may not be able to tell from the image, but the first girl is very nippley. So it fits into my rigid definition of sleazy postcard.

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