"QUITE SIMPLY, THE BEST HORROR-THEMED BLOG ON THE NET." -- Joe Maddrey, Nightmares in Red White & Blue

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

VAULTCAST! Interview w/Tom Six & Laurence Harvey, Director & Star of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2!

It's the most talked-about horror film of 2011, and I've got an interview with the men both behind and in front of the camera. The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) has already been banned in a few countries, and has been making quite a stir, so it was impossible to pass up an opportunity to chat with director Tom Six and star Laurence Harvey (who sounded so nice and loveable with his gentle Liverpool accent that I couldn't match up the voice with the monstrous character he plays in the film).

I'll reserve my opinions for my upcoming review of the movie (keep checking Babbling About Books, and More, where I also reviewed the first film,) but for now, let's all enjoy this little chat with Tom Six and Laurence Harvey (my apologies for the occasionally shoddy audio.) Feel free to listen in on the embedded player below, or proceed to the Vaultcast page, where you can download it for later!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Random Ramblings from the Vault...

  • Also on the horizon: If you're in the New York area for Halloween weekend, I'll be giving a talk on horror and religion at 92YTribeca on Friday night, October 28. Join me and Rabbi Dan Ain for some dinner and discussion on zombies, vampires and the Torah! More info to come...
  • Speaking of Halloween... yes, it's already well on the way once again. Amazing how that happens, isn't it? We're preparing this year by watching our fill of classic monster movies with the kiddies. We recently kicked things off with The Invisible Man, and there are plans to continue with Hammer's The Mummy and Creature from the Black Lagoon. How are you preparing?
  • But wait, it's not just about classic flicks... Because we've got our very own mad monster party planned for Halloween weekend. Donuts on strings, ghost stories, costumes and all that good stuff. Pictures sure to follow. No promises, but I may even break out my long-awaited Rocky Balboa costume...
  • Joining me for the party preparation this year is Captain Cruella, whose already legendary Village Invasion looms once more. There will more info to come, but if you are unaware, it's New York's most anticipated zombie crawl, and this will be the second year running. For my part, I plan to be hosting a screening of The Evil Dead (yes, I know it's not a zombie movie, calm down, fanboy) at Sugartown Vintage Boutique right in the heart of Saugerties. It all happens Saturday night, October 22. Can't wait for this one...
  • Am I talking too much about myself this time out? Too bad. Because I am also proud to announce that John Kenneth Muir's soon-to-be-published book Horror Films of the 1990s will feature a whole bunch of entries by yours truly. I was invited by the illustrious Mr. Muir some time ago to contribute a whole slew of reviews of '90s horror flicks, and am thrilled to soon see them in print. I invite you to do the same.
  • I recently had the honor of appearing remotely--through the miracle of Skype--at the Horror Realms convention in Pittsburgh, as part of a horror blogging panel that also including the Rondo Hatton Award-winning blogger Max Cheney (a.k.a. The Drunken Severed Head). Always a pleasure to discuss something so near and dear to my heart. I hope to eventually have video of the panel to post right here...
  • In case you haven't noticed, The Vault has recently undergone a bit of a makeover. Not that there was anything wrong with it (other than taking 48,765 hours to load), but the time had come to spruce things up a bit. Kind of like how they refitted the Enterprise before the first motion picture and added those fancy nacelles and everything. So anyway, please let me know what you think.
  • We recently had the chance to watch Madhouse on FEARNet. No, not the Madhouse with Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. The Madhouse with Lance Henriksen and Natasha Lyonne. Yeah...I felt the same way.
  • My recent viewing of The Human Centipede 2 (more to come on that at a later date) got me thinking about how awesome it would be if someone made a movie called The Centipedal Human, about a guy who stitches together a bunch of centipedes in the shape of a person. Huh..? Huh..? Awesome, right? Shut up, you know it would be.
  • If you haven't done so recently, or if you never have at all, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the classic Brian Froud/Alan Lee coffee table book, Faeries. I recently took it out from my local library, and I continue to marvel at the rich, evocative illustrations, and how they've influenced so many filmmakers in later years, from Peter Jackson to Guillermo Del Toro and beyond. Beautiful stuff.
  • And finally, as always, we invite you to come down to the Avon Theatre in Stamford, CT, to take in some of the films in their Cult Classics series, hosted by the Captain and myself. Most recently, we were proud to present John Carpenter's They Live!, which was prefaced by a bit of audio from an interview I did with Roddy Piper himself a few years ago. Plus, there was bubblegum for all! There are plenty of upcoming screenings to choose from, including PSYCHO on December 1! So don't be fruity like Norman's mom--be there.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Six Degrees of Sinbad: Working for the Brother of a Genre Legend

The Vault of Horror has led to a whole lot of unusual experiences over the years, and certainly my love for horror in general has led to some fascinating discoveries. There was the time I got a chance to review the script for See No Evil while working for WWE (sort of painful, but a privilege nonetheless.) There was the time I wound up editing copy at Wine Enthusiast magazine with one of the staff members of the old Famous Monsters of Filmland. Most recently, The Vault of Horror did more than bring me an interesting experience--it actually helped open up a career door for me. It was one of those times I was grateful to be a horror blogger.

As you can imagine, when going on a job interview, I'm never really sure if bringing up The Vault would be a good idea, or a bad idea. It does represent some of the writing of which I am most proud, so there's always the temptation to show it off to prospective employers. But naturally, there's also the fear that they're going to look down their collective noses at my little online ode to blood and guts. So it's usually a crap shoot, and I like to feel them before I cart out the ol' VoH.

It just so happened, last year, that while interviewing for a prominent position with Juran Institute, an industry-leading quality management consultancy firm here in Connecticut, that I found myself sitting across the conference table from a CEO who seemed like he just might be interested in checking out what I was really capable of doing as a writer and also in terms of managing a blog. After all, a large portion of the job's responsibilities would be the writing and maintenance of the company blog. So as you can imagine, I wanted to give him a glance at what yours truly could really do when given the reigns of an online domain.

And so, going for broke, I decided to show him what I can do. I punched up The Vault of Horror on his laptop and held my breath. Either he would be impressed at my creation, or he would take one look at The Human Centipede vs. The Very Hunrgy Caterpillar and have me shown to my car. I waited as he scanned the page, my fingers crossed under the table. Would he find it totally unprofessional?

"Hey..." he said, as his eyes moved up and down the screen. "Have you ever seen Night of the Living Dead?"

It was right then and there that I knew that showing him the blog was the right thing to do. He got it. Not only did he get it, but he informed me that there was actually a connection between his company and the genre. As it turned out, Dr. Joseph Juran, the founder of Juran Institute and one of the most respected gurus of the quality management business, was the brother of Nathan Juran--the director of such films as Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, The Deadly Mantis, as well as the Ray Harryhausen classics 20 Million Miles to Earth and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

The Oscar-winning art director for the 1941 classic How Green Was My Valley, Nathan Juran carved out a niche for himself as a journeyman director of westerns and sci-fi cinema in the 1950s and 1960s, later transitioning to TV with shows like Lost in Space and The Time Tunnel. The fact that I was interviewing to work for a company founded by his big brother was just another one of those surreal moments in the life of a horror blogger.

"Did you do all this yourself?" he asked me. And I was proud to say that I had. We got to talking about Nathan Juran's amazing films, as well as other horror flicks.

I landed the job with Juran Institute, and was proud to serve them as Communications Director, helping to get their social media presence off the ground, and working to advance the company blog, both visually and content-wise. From that point on, I became known as the "horror guy" in the office, and it wouldn't be unexpected, for example, for me to be asked my opinion of Let the Right One In just before a big board meeting. It was a gratifying experience, and I wouldn't say it's an exaggeration to say that I very well might not have gotten the opportunity if it hadn't been for The Vault of Horror. Not bad a for a guy who just wanted to write about scary movies.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Horrors of the Holidays: Halloween Knock-Offs

First and foremost, let it be known that Captain Cruella and myself had a righteous blast this past Thursday night at 92YTribeca and another glorious edition of Kevin Geeks Out! Silly me for thinking that this ingenious pop culture series from the mind of Kevin Maher was really dead. I mean, he said he was retiring it, but in the grand pro wrestling tradition, retired is never really retired. And thank goodness! Because KGO is truly one of my life's great joys.

Where else can I find myself amongst my fellow geeks, wallowing in the shamelessly masturbatory enjoyment of genre treasures? The theme of the night was rip-offs--and this time out, the comedy variety show featured the likes of Daily Show writer Elliott Kalan picking apart the abysmal German E.T. knock-off Nukie; the sardonically brilliant M. Sweeney Lawless condensing British Kong rip-off Konga down to its bare essentials; pop culture savant Prof. Geoff Klock analyzing Quentin Tarantino's brilliant rip-off techniques as utilized in Kill Bill; comic book blogger Nick Nadel presenting a montage of painful superhero rip-offs; filmmaker Matt Glasson rehashing his favorite Jaws copycat; and the witty artist-baker Sara Reiss regaling us with her own home-made breakfast cereal knock-offs?

And oh yeah...this time, for the first time ever, I got to join in the fun. That's right, it gave me great pleasure to take part in a show I've been enjoying for so long. As part of the night's festivities, I presented a tongue-in-cheek look at the unusual subgenre of calendar-inspired horror films that followed in the wake of John Carpenter's Halloween. I'm so proud of the finished product, in fact, that I've embedded it right here for your viewing pleasure...

I ran into some technical difficulties getting the bookend video clips to work, and so I'm simply including them here both before and after the PowerPoint itself. You can choose to watch them, or just jump right into the presentation, which is the second embedded video...

Thanks again to Kevin for inviting me to be a part of KGO. It was also a thrill to have a fan of the blog step out of the audience to shake my hand and offer sincere praise. It's always humbling to be reminded that people out there are actually reading this dreck. Those people are the reasons I keep writing. It may have gotten a bit slow around here as of late, but that's about to change.

The Many Faces of Lionel Atwill

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