Dino Drac and I are back for another Halloween minisode! These have been a lot of fun so we bring you another installment of our aural lust for Halloween. In this episode we check out Dollar General and my old decrepit K-Mart. What we bring home may not exactly be considered “treasure” to most, but it brought us some more early signs of the season. We hope you enjoy this one! You can check it out on iTunes and Stitcher and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode! Thanks for listening and reading!
12 PM EASTERN TIME FRIDAY 8/18/2017
In this video I show off The Sexy Armpit & Cryptocurium’s exclusive limited edition Sammi Curr sculpture. We are so pumped to bring this to you. There will be 31 of them up for pre-order tomorrow 8/18 at Noon Eastern time, so don’t miss out!
The Purple Stuff Podcast’s 2nd Halloween Minisode is now available! In this episode, we decided to document our trip to the dine-in movie theater. Obviously, we wanted to see something spooky and Annabelle Creation was the perfect choice. I’m a big fan of the films in The Conjuring universe, although Matt hasn’t really seen them. In this abbreviated episode we run down the details of the trailers we saw, the food we ordered, and maybe even a little bit about the movie too! We hope you enjoy this fun little installment of The Purple Stuff Podcast. You can subscribe to us on iTunes and if you want to support the show, leave us a positive review on there! Thanks for reading and listening!
This is an ultra-limited run of 31! Pre-orders for this horror-metal masterpiece will begin on Friday, August 18th at The Cryptocurium Etsy store.
I’m extremely excited to announce The Sexy Armpit’s first exclusive collectible. This incredible sculpture of Sammi Curr from one of my favorite horror films, Trick or Treat, is a result of collaborating with my friend Jason McKittrick from The Cryptocurium. It’s quite a tag-team of New Jersey horror freaks and it’s been a long time in the making! Jason’s homemade horrors speak for themselves. His creations are sculpted and painted by hand and are versatile since they include magnets on the back as well as a d-ring if you want to hang them on the wall. With unparalleled artistry, he handcrafted a brand new vision of Rock’s Chosen Warrior! I can actually hear Fastway blasting in the background every time I look at this beaut. This is a must-own for Trick or Treat fans and horror fans in general. Do whatever you need to do to get this mega limited , crash the Etsy server if you have to. If you pre-order you’ll have it in time for Halloween. Show your support for Sammi and The Sexy Armpit by purchasing this over the top cool sculpture. Once you receive it, be sure to tag @SexyArmpit and @Cryptocurium! #NoFalseMetal
First, the synopsis. Set in the fictional small town of Morningside, New Jersey, we’re immediately introduced to an ominous figure in a black hooded cape whose about to apprehensively cut someone in half with an electric blade.
After we’re acquainted with the central characters, a body is found in the woods. From there, the police force, Sheriff Tom Haulk (Robert Pralgo) and Deputy Klara Austin (Tiffany Shepis), begin to piece together what can only be described as a series of ritualistic murders in their quiet town.
What’s stumping the cops is the symbol of a crossed out eye that’s left at the scene of each murder. Deputy Austin offers that it might be a gang sign similar to those she saw during her time working in the Bronx. The killer intentionally leaves this mark at the scene of his crimes in the vein of a ’60s Batman villain, which strikes me as silly. Why would the killer go out of their way to draw attention to themselves?
With the assistance of a university professor, Sheriff Haulk deduces that the killer has stolen a rare Central American ceremonial mask and a tribal mace from their collection and the symbol is a ritualistic mark from this same tribe.
The killers mask itself is almost reminiscent of the Witch Doctor from Scooby-Doo:
The movie had its quirks, quite a few of them actually. Here’s the biggest issue: I figured out the entire plot about 15 minutes in to the film.
The film gave too much away early on. Merely seeing the glimpse into the killers “lair” from the onset reveals that they’re in some kind of basement or unfinished area of a house. What the killer is doing to their prey, (removing their body parts and putting them into a bowl), combined with other glaring details, made it easy to figure out the rest of the movie.
There’s a lot of time spent on creating dramatic scenes to divert the viewers attention when there’s really no mystery about who the killer is. If you’ve seen a decent amount of horror or mysteries, you will figured out the plot rather quickly.
More severe than the previous issues I had, is the peculiar drug angle of the film. In contrast with the bit in the summary on the back of the DVD regarding “deadly serious local drug runners,” their ring leader and his stereotypical goons are not easy to take seriously. The two street dealers who they supply are not written as if they are everyday weed dealers. In fact, you may know one or more people who buy or sell weed in your daily life and they are pretty much just like anyone else. In this film though, the girl Jamie talks about how she “really needs a hit,” as she looks all cracked out and addicted. Judging solely by the content of this film, with lines uttered by her brother like “I know where he grows it,” he’s definitely referring to smoking weed – a drug that only an extremely low percentage of users get addicted to.
Putting this whole notion over the top is the fact that after she exchanges the bag of weed with Mark (Nicholas Brendon) for his money, (with the typical “you got the money, you got the stuff?” Oh my Lord) she sweetens the deal for him, offering to orally stimulate him for another $20 bucks. BARGAIN. It seems to me that this film assumes that girls who smoke weed A) look and act like crack addicts B) are total whores. I don’t know who’s worse either, her brother/weed selling confidant, Haws, who’s constantly chewing on a match stick. Do you know anyone that does that? I’ll take back every criticism I have of this film if they can computer generate that shit right out of his mouth. Clearly, someone thought it was a good idea.
The Sheriff’s best friend from childhood, Mark has a wife with a terminal illness, so there’s no reason why he would have to go to crazy lengths to procure illegal street weed when he could easily have her signed up for medicinal marijuana. Why does he have to sneak around if his wife has a major medical reason to have it?
I realize how much painstaking work goes into making independent films and my critique of the movie is in no way an affront, since I respect the filmmakers and what they’ve created here. In fact, the writer of the film, Jayson Palmer, is a fellow Jersey guy. In an interview on the Whatever Works blog, he says that he is “…a Jersey boy, through and through. I was born in Dover and raised in Wharton, which is a small blue collar town in North, central Jersey. I have a lot of love for that small little town. Morningside is based on Wharton. Or at least the town how I remembered it growing up.” Palmer went on to mention that he “…wouldn’t be surprised if Morningside popped up now and then in some future project.”
The main cast was commendable, full of indie and b-movie veteran actors. Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Xander, Nicholas Brendon, stars and co-produces the film. His agitated performance as Mark Matthews is easily the highlight of the film. Matthews is a school teacher caring for his wife who’s afflicted with cancer and he’s doing everything he can to help her, meanwhile trying keep his own life together. His lifelong best friend is Sheriff Haulk played by Robert Pralgo who provides an almost sickeningly sweet turn as the quintessential good cop. Let’s just say both of these characters have interesting twists which I won’t spoil. And not just the token hottie, we have Tiffany Shepis as the tough Deputy Austin working for the Sheriff.
Even though the movie was filmed in The Peach State, the visuals of the town evoke the more rural areas of Jersey. Parts of Northwestern and Southwestern Jersey aren’t as city-like and overpopulated as what is typically associated on-screen with NJ. The filmmakers were careful to incorporate geographical authenticity. Morningside had all the nice little touches that I expect from a film set in Jersey. All the cars had Jersey license plates, Trenton was name dropped, and one of the guys in the woods sitting around with his friends by a fire even wore a hat that explicitly specified what state they were in! I love it.
Will you enjoy Attack of the Morningside Monster? It depends. I tend to support independent films, but, in general, horror fanatics will likely feel neutral about it. The film would’ve benefited from trumping up the scares and dropping a good chunk of the drug dealer subplot. In fact, Mark’s wife’s cancer issue was better kept as a subplot as well even if that meant making major script alterations. At 93 minutes the movie is pretty lean, but there’s still moments where the movie is meandering. It’s described on the back of the DVD as a “race against time,” but it’s not as pulse pounding as it sounds.
The film is worth watching to see how it culminates. Too much is revealed early on to make the ending hit you in the gut, but it’s not without merit. The payoff was pretty satisfying and one of the more positive aspects of the movie. One of the reveals toward the end, after we find out the killer’s identity, had a slight Twilight Zone feel to it, although I wish the entire film had that same eerie quality.
Without a big scare or a cliffhanger at the end, Morningside succeeds in providing the viewer with the notion that there’s a slight possibility that we’ll see this killer again…maybe on Netflix? A sequel would be an outstanding way to highlight the masked Shaman killer, thereby creating a new low- budget horror franchise that would likely garner some buzz and thrive amongst the horror-con scene. Ultimately, without some major tweaking, it’s limited as a franchise. Technically, you’d be cheering the killer instead of fearing. There’s still some hope though, The Morningside Monster has built a nice back story for itself.
Aside from Jigsaw from SAW, it’s a challenge to incorporate cancer into horror films because I feel like horror is my escape from the real world. While watching horror movies, I prefer to turn off my brain and just have fun. Attack of the Morningside Monster became more of a horror-drama rather than a horror-thriller. If the sex scene and few moments of gore get cut out, I could totally see this on Lifetime during the Halloween season.
Usually I wait for the crowds to die down before seeing a brand new movie while it’s in the theater. Ever since Insidious and Sinister boosted my confidence in the horror genre, The Conjuring trailer had me wanting to see the movie right away. I was anxiously waiting to see it, but I held off until the second weekend to avoid crowds. On purpose, as I usually do, I chose an odd time to see the film, thinking I would avoid obnoxious people. Turns out that my strategic planning didn’t make a difference, but it didn’t matter because the experience I had watching the film overwhelmingly outweighed the annoying people who surrounded me.
Judging by both box office receipts and reviews, I can tell you that The Conjuring is a superior horror film and it’s success is no fluke. It seems like behind every success story is some type of New Jersey connection. The Conjuring made me feel like I was part of the Perron family as they moved into an old, possibly haunted farmhouse in Rhode Island. Eventually the audience is just as mortified as the Perrons are, but they shouldn’t be shocked at what they see since they moved there from New Jersey – a minuscule bit of trivia that is only mentioned nonchalantly by Roger Perron, the man of the house, in all his ’70s glory, played perfectly by Ron Livingston (Office Space). Roger’s wife, Carolyn (Lili Taylor), enlists Ed and Lorraine Warren, a real life couple of paranormal investigators who also teach classes on demonology.
March 2013’s Garden State Playmate, and now well known for her incredible performance as Norma Bates on Bates Motel, the lovely Vera Farmiga, plays Lorraine Warren while Patrick Wilson, star of Watchmen, and Montclair, NJ resident, plays her husband Ed. Together they visit houses that may be haunted and try to get to the source of the issue by postulating realistic reasons for what caused their “bump in the night.” That isn’t all they do for the Perron family though. You’ll have to go see that for yourself.
The KILL Tour T-shirt is inspired by the Destroyer album cover art from my favorite band, KISS. Anytime the world of horror combines with KISS, it’s a win-win. The t-shirt art includes Freddy, Chucky, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface taking the place of KISS. What knocks this baseball style tee right out of the old Roosevelt Stadium is KILL’s tour stops are listed on the back just like an old vintage concert t-shirt! On KILL’s Decades of Destruction Tour, in honor of the release of the original Friday the 13th film, the band’s May 9th, 1980 tour stop was at Crystal Lake…in NEW JERSAAAY!
Previous releases that I also HAD TO HAVE included G.I Jason (the GI Joe/Jason Voorhees mashup) and one of their beautiful Friday the 13th The Final Chapter tees. Artist Jason Edmiston was responsible for the artwork on both the GI Jason tee as well as this KILL tour shirt, but the new one may take the cake. It’s a dead heat for me. What do you think? If you own the regular black t-shirt version of “KILL,” it’s slightly more accurate to the Destroyer cover, but I opted for the larger KILL logo on the baseball tee.
You can now see why I felt so compelled to make this shirt part of my wardrobe. But surprisingly, this shirt wasn’t released without criticism since it’s hard to please everyone. The flack on this shirt was that Michael Myers should’ve been in the artwork instead of Chucky. I’m not sure why that happened, but if Myers was on the shirt instead it would indeed be perfect. I’m not complaining one bit though, I think it was an awesome idea and I’d like to see more cool ideas like this from Fright Rags.
All these lame horror clones that make it to theaters not cutting it for you? They’re all crap if you ask me. I haven’t been satisfied with mainstream horror output in years. Setting my sights on indie horror has yielded much more entertaining results. Indie horror out of New Jersey is even better, it must be something in the water, or better yet, the tomatoes! The most recent film out of Jersey that I had the chance to check out was Mary Horror, a Ryan Scott Weber production. For horror fans, this film literally has it all: murder, a psychiatric hospital, a witches spell book, and someone even loses and eyeball!
Mary Horror exhibits some of the most technically sound independent film work I’ve seen. Writer/Director Ryan Scott Weber and cinematographer Ryan Coyle soar when it comes to shot composition and incorporating the subtle lighting and Jersey exteriors. Since the movie was filled with interesting settings and the use of real locations such as a hospital and Bernards high school, it all contributed to the realism of the film. The filmmakers were able to build the viewers anticipation as they used their production techniques to suck us into a world that we all could relate to – high school. But that’s only the beginning before things spiral out of control for Mary Horowitz. Yes, I said Horowitz…you’ll see.
The actors took their jobs very seriously and it was clear that they were all in sync with Weber’s vision for the film. Susie Duecker, the actress who played Mary Horror herself, was quite good. It was fun to watch her become so involved in her character. Her transition from typical high school girl to an extremely unhinged one was ghastly and sublime. In my book she really understood the character which is a delicate balance since another actress may have gone on screen acting like a complete over the top psycho and that wasn’t the idea. Credit must also go to Ryan Coyle for the makeup as well as the crew in the costume and wardrobe department. Duecker was creepy as hell when she officially became Mary Horror. I only wish mainstream horror filmmakers could take the hint that simplicity can leave such an impression and we don’t need to see an hour and a half of lame CGI for the film to be unnerving.
The kickass makeup and practical effects were not used frivolously. The film has an old school horror flair, and although it doesn’t take itself too seriously in some scenes (like the one where Weber himself plays an EMT who beats up his co-worker while being interviewed on TV by a reporter) it still retains it’s spookiness. Without a huge budget, Weber managed to use subtle lightning and dutch angles to create the eerie atmosphere of the film. I especially dug a scene that utilized a strobe lighting effect as Mary was about to “interact” with 2 other characters. What tied it all together like The Dude’s rug was the cinematic quality of Scott Vincent’s score. Some parts were so triumphant and joyful, but still sent the message that all is not going to be well.
Mary Horror is filled with cool cameos. Some of the quick scenes were filmed at Monster Mania while others were full on roles! You’ll see Patricia Quinn, Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, Jersey girl and Bernards H.S graduate Deanna Russo, as well as a hilarious cameo from Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson in the film.
Up next from Weber is the sequel to Mary Horror, Sheriff Tom vs. The Zombies. You can see the preview to this if you go to the showing in Bernardsville on 11/20!
It’s widely known amongst my friends and family that I have absolutely zero interest in skiing. Who wants to be out in the cold weather freezing your ass off? I even hate how the word skiing is spelled because it always feels like I’m spelling it wrong. Why don’t we throw another i in there for good measure? As silly as I think the whole concept is, it does make for a pretty damn cool horror movie backdrop as seen in 2012’s Blood Lodge. BL was produced, co-written, and directed by Jersey born Kevin Orosz.
After hearing about Pembrook and Terror at Ten Acres, I knew I couldn’t miss Blood Lodge. Ever since meeting their crew several Monster Mania’s ago, I’ve been trying to get my hands on some of the Graffiti Playhouse Productions. For some reason they weren’t selling DVD’s of their movies when I ran into them. It all came together when I crossed paths with the accomplished indie filmmaker Orosz on Facebook of all places. I probably bothered them enough about having a screening closer in proximity to me. That hasn’t happened yet, but how about a Graffitti Playhouse Productions marathon at the Loew’s Jersey or the Forum Theatre in Metuchen? C’mon, do it! OK, enough of my chit chat.
What I like about Blood Lodge is that it’s very simple to sink your teeth into it: a group of kids from New Jersey take a trip to a ski lodge in Vermont that’s overrun with zombies. The film isn’t necessarily a scare-me-to-death pulse pounding thriller, but more of a horror-comedy which combines the best of both worlds.
It’s hard to be absolutely original when creating a zombie film, but Orosz incorporates some original elements. Once all the people in the lodge realize the place is surrounded by zombies, there’s a power struggle to see who will become the leader. That sort of thing happens often in zombie movies, but here it comes down to an interesting, ethnically charged twist. The movie also raises the interesting question: would you feed your spouse to zombies if they pissed you off too much?
As with many indie horror films, I usually roll my eyes and count the seconds until they’re over, but not with Blood Lodge. I was surprised at how natural some of the actors were for an indie film. I attribute this to the fact that the cast seemed to have a lot of fun making the film and their enthusiasm was apparent while watching. Considering the crew of players have mostly acted in a handful of indie films, they did a pretty awesome job at helping to bring this story to life. The cast features Michael McFadden, Matthew Imparato, Julie Ann Hamolko, Ed McKeever, and many more. One of my favorites was Steven Buccarelli who made me laugh as the trivia spewing Marty, who was a little bit Jon Lovitz and a little bit Clark Duke.
There’s always a grading curve for indie horror, but I really only had a couple of minor complaints. The first thing that struck me was that I went in not knowing what to expect. The opening credits began to run and showing underneath the credits were posterized still and motion shots of the actual zombies from scenes in the film. I felt like this sort of spoiled the reveal of the zombies when they appear in the film. But as I continued to watch and see that there was a pretty decent amount of humor in the film, I reconsidered and felt that it wasn’t too much of a big deal since the foremost intent wasn’t exactly to scare viewers, but to show viewers what they are in for.
Blood Lodge had a very real vibe going. I’ve watched indie horror movies with a much higher budget that had really awful acting and terrible effects to the point where I just turn it off completely. The effects in this were actually done well for a low budget movie. So, if you’re a fan of indie horror and you like to support New Jersey stuff, try to track down a copy of any one of Graffiti Playhouse’s productions including Blood Lodge on DVD or wait until they show them at nearby theater or horror con and get in on it! Even if you’re like me and would never go on ski trip, you’ll still dig Blood Lodge!
*Blood Lodge was filmed on location in New Jersey, P.A, and Stowe, Vermont.