Fellow Jersey blogger Tommy Salami of Pluck You Too tipped me off to this weeks NJ T-shirt Tuesday offering. Tommy sent me the link to the Retro DC T-Shirt Shop which is run by Steve Jencks of the horror/b-movie blog Lost Highway: A Detour Through B-Movies and Cult Films. Steve is a versatile graphic designer who specializes in illustration, web design, and logo branding. Jencks has created many awesome T-shirts available online through his Retro DC T-Shirt Shop.
In addition to his other Zombie, Lost Highway, and Pinball Playtime designs, Jencks offers 2 New Jersey related T-Shirts. The first, “New Jersey ate my Neighbors,” features a graphic of a green, throbbing, one eyed monster reeling in a nice lady from the neighborhood. He gets hungry, can you blame him? The 2nd one is the “Jersey Devil Dark T-Shirt,” and it’s badass. The skeletal remains of the Jersey Devil look as if they are buried in the state like dinosaur fossils! It’s an original take on the Jersey Devil legend, one that I have yet to see, especially in t-shirt form!
The majority of shirts offered at Retro DC are available in a slew of different colors so you aren’t limited to the black ones I’m showing you here. Also, at the top of his online shop, Jencks mentions that you can contact him for your very own custom t-shirt design.
I was curious to find out if Steve Jencks is from Jersey because many people who aren’t from Jersey despise this state and would probably never spend the time designing a shirt inspired by the most toxic state in the U.S. Who can blame them? I was able to ask Jencks through his Twitter page (twitter.com/Losthighway) and his reply was “Nope, I’m not from Jersey, just a big fan. I love Weird NJ and all the legends. Hope to visit someday!” Right on Steve!
I should’ve known that any movie the Sci-Fi Channel airs that’s not an established classic usually sucks ass. I wish I would’ve watched their presentation of After Dark Films 8 Films to Die For: Dark Ride (2006) before I unwittingly purchased the DVD.
I admit I was enticed by hearing that there was finally a horror movie about a Dark Ride. Who doesn’t love Dark Rides? If it was up to me, when you walk into my condo you’re automatically invited onto a boat and take a dark ride through the place. The only catch is that the only way to get around the condo is to take the dark ride. I’d wake up in the morning with my pajamas on and my eyes half shut and take the boat over to the bathroom. I’d do my thing, wash my face, and then hop on again over to the kitchen for breakfast as I narrowly escape some robotic monsters trying to kill me. What? It’s time to go to work? This boat is damn slow and we aren’t even passed the walking corpses and the Pinhead animatronic display! I hope I make it to the front door in time! I know, I know…keep my feet and hands in the ride at all times. Forget that, we can do it cartoon style and I wouldn’t even have to take a real shower anymore. I’d hop on the boat and have water jets and soap spray me down after I go through the Dr. Satan exhibit. Shit, I may as well make the upstairs into a fountain of youth ride. Anything’s possible in dark rides, except for making a good movie about them.
Now that’s acting!
Jamie Lynn Sigler was the real grabber for me in this one. I think her performance would’ve resonated more if she video conferenced all her scenes in from her bedroom at home. Her work on The Sopranos
is masterful and glorious compared to the hack job she turned in on this film. What a mess! I’m usually a fan of really bad movies like this one, especially of the horror genre, but so much of this movie let me down. It seems like the casting folks on this film tried to get Sigler because of her eternal connection to her starring role as the daughter of a mob boss from New Jersey.
Now that’s acting!
Being a lifelong native of New Jersey, I was excited to see that the movie was based in Asbury Park
. The dark ride itself was in a haunted house on the boardwalk. One dark and spooky night a bunch of “meddling kids” broke into the attraction to pull a prank on Jamie Lynn Sigler’s cheating boyfriend. But as it turns out, there’s a killer on the loose that lives inside the Dark Ride! How much more dull can we be here? The male stars are actually the better actors in the film and that isn’t saying much.
Now that’s acting!
Now that’s acting!
Oh, and if you thought I was too harsh on Sigler’s performance, you have no clue what you’re in for with David Clayton Rogers performance. Here’s another idiot that thinks he’ll get further in his career if he has 2 first names. This kid redefines that old addage “don’t quit your day job.” Before he decided to become an actor I heard he would sneak into public ladies rooms and steal the money out of tampon machines. What a dick! That money benefits autistic children, doesn’t he know that? Despitef his previous career as a complete loser, someone actually let him be an actor. The fact that Hollywood is still letting him practice this craft is completely beyond me. I hope and pray to the Gods of Film that I never have to witness an atrocity such as David Clayton Rogers ever again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish anything bad to happen to him, I just wish that he would realize he sucks and try his luck at another career. Isn’t there a Jack in the Box or a Carl’s Jr. you can work at?
OK, I feel like I’m being too harsh. Dark Ride does have some redeemable qualities but what stunk most about this film is that it could’ve been so much more. Being from Jersey, I was blessed with some of the best haunted houses and dark rides ever. Take Castle Dracula in Wildwood or the haunted castle at Six Flags Great Adventure for instance would make great stories. Because of lame producers, filmmakers are constantly dumbing things down. This movie is not one that a fanboy, or an X-E fan would enjoy.
After feeling guilty that they didn’t film in Jersey,
they flew their film crew to quickly take some footage of Asbury Park and The Stone Pony
Why didn’t the producers hire Weird NJ
to hop on as consultants? Let’s talk urban legends, local myths, etc. Any film about the Jersey Devil has sucked and now they’re sucking any coolness out of dark rides from Jersey as well! C’mon…The Jersey Shore used to be famous for it’s haunted houses! It’s interesting to note that the majority of this movie wasn’t even filmed in New Jersey, but in Los Angeles and at the Santa Monica Pier. That’s most likely because it’s so damn expensive to film in Jersey.
Horror Freak from Oregon on IMDB claims that he didn’t see the twist at the end coming at all. I think he may just be completely out of his mind. This was the most predictable movie, possibly as predictable as a Full House episode. I hate this movie so much, if I keep writing about it, I don’t think I’m ever going to want to blog again. So in an attempt to save my hobby from the clutches of the evil movie Dark Ride, my little boat ride stops here.
Last week my girlfriend told me that I had to check out this house that was all done up for Halloween. My first reaction was, “How cool can a house be?” I figured it was done by some run of the mill obsessive decorator, like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. You know how neighbors are always trying to one up each other. Well, I’ll be damned, because I was dead wrong about this one!
Mike Spade, a local magician, has the most kickass Halloween setup and he told me he’s been doing it for about 19 years. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard about this and I lived in the area my entire life! It’s obvious that Mike genuinely loves putting his Haunted front yard up year after year. The amount of work that goes into his display and the details that you can pick out are spectacular. After checking it out on a cold October night, it was outrageous.
I’ve been to a ton of haunted houses. I’ve visited independent walk throughs, Disneyland, big sponsored haunted ordeals, and I can tell you that nothing can compare to one man’s quest to scare the shit out of people. Mike basically put a dark ride in his front yard sans the boats. What’s most surprising is that he does this all because he loves it and he doesn’t charge people, he only puts out a donation box.
Mike’s Halloween setup has been featured in Weird NJ. For those who aren’t aware, Weird NJ is a magazine that began as a small fanzine type newsletter featuring oddities around the state and now it’s gotten so popular that the publishers Mark and Mark have hosted their own show on History Channel and now also publish books about oddities in other states.
There’s only one day left but you should definitely check out “Mike’s Haunted House.”
Pictured above are some of my favorite moments from the display. You’ll see Samara from The Ring crawled out of a television set and is climbing up a tree. There were some glowing ghosts that moved so gracefully, exactly how I picture a real ghost. Mike also built an old fashioned hearse with a coffin inside that won’t stay closed because of that damned skeleton in there! Coming out of the ground are some ghouls that clearly want to come and join you while your taking your spooky stroll through Mike’s haunted house. For more info about Mike and video of the display click here.