Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Music & Reviews: Welcome to the Horror Show by Sam Haynes

Track Listing:
1. All Hallows
2. Ghost House
3. Shadows
4. Scarecrows
5. Zombie
6. Doll House
7. Ghost Train
8. Midnight
9. Seance
10. 31-13
11. The Dark
12. Halloween Night
13. Midnight at the Funhouse
14. Endless Nightmare
15. Ghost House (Fettdog remix)
16. Scarecrows (Cheekyboy Dub)
17. Witching Hour
18. Spirit Box

Welcome to the Horror Show, the second album from Sam Haynes, is a collection of tracks that were created to be used in Halloween haunts and on horror movie soundtracks. There are sixteen individual pieces, plus two remixes; Fettdog's more aggressive remix of Ghost House and Cheekyboy's darker take on Scarecrows.

The album is very atmospheric throughout and tracks such as Ghost House, Spirit Box, Doll House, Midnight and 31-13 are particularly ominous and would be perfect for haunts and horror movies. There are, however, some more up tempo, danceable and almost "cute" tracks like Zombie, Halloween Night, Ghost Train, and Witching Hour, which would be great for Halloween parties and spooky fairgrounds.

While the influences of 70's, 80's and 90's horror soundtracks - everything from John Carpenter's Halloween and Christine scores to the Phantasm and Suspiria soundtracks by Fred Myrow/Malcolm Seagrave and Goblin respectively -  are overt, Sam Haynes manage to mix in their own brand of creepy to Welcome to the Horror Show as well. Many of the tracks have a familiar feel to them, but are simultaneously unique. 

Overall, Welcome to the Horror Show is an enjoyable and creepy album, with a great balance between horror-influenced scares and mischievous fun. It's definitely one for those with a love for movie scores and Halloween haunts.

Sam Haynes are giving away 5 free digital copies of Welcome to the Horror Show and all you have to do to win one is head over to their Facebook page and hit the "Like" button! Winners will be chosen at random on August 13th, 2013.


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Books & Reviews: A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup: Conceptual Creations by Japanese Makeup Artists

I received A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup... as a present last year and I'm very grateful!
Acclaimed as the best book ever published on the subject, A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup covers everything from basic facial makeup styles, simple scars and gashes, to masks, molds and cast-making; everything you need to know to create vampires, zombies and other fantastical characters.  
Featuring step-by-step instructions, with hundreds of color photos, from makeup artist professionals who have worked on films such as Alien vs Predator and Land of the Dead
Whether you are a beginner preparing for a Halloween party, or a cosplayer interested in learning more complex techniques, this is the definitive guide.

"Cattleya" by Manabu Namikawa
Photo: Takuyuki Saito; Model: Marie
Beauty Make-up: Keizo
The first thing that hits you when you begin the book is the well-lit, absolutely stunning photographs of each make-up piece. They really give a sense of just how impressive these looks would be in person, as well as showing enough close-ups to see all the details.

"FBI Agent from Hell" by TOMO
It might seem doubtful that there are "hundreds of color photos" included in this collection, but once you reach the first project tutorial page, it becomes a lot more plausible. Every look shown also has a step-by-step tutorial, complete with concept drawings/ideas, tools needed, application techniques and, except in the case of full-face masks, photographs of the models before, after, and during the transformation process.

"Vampire Queen" by Akiteru Nakada & M.E.U.
There are four chapters in the book: 01: Basic Makeup and Cuts, Gashes & Scars; 02: Masks; 03: Making Molds; 04: Practical Application. In addition to providing how-to guides for the nine looks featured at the beginning of the book, there are also various guides for smaller, less time-consuming/complicated projects throughout. The projects include everything from basic beauty makeup and facial lacerations to accessory sculpting and mold making, all of which are very clear and easy to understand. There's also a "Special Effects Makeup Glossary" included at the end, which means that even complete novices will have no trouble understanding the terminology.

When the photographs finish, there is then an insightful interview with professional SFX makeup artist Yuuchi Matsui (Ringu, Ichi the Killer, The Happiness of the Katakuris, Pulse etc.) and the very last page includes short profiles of each of the makeup artists featured throughout the book.

"Executioner's Mask" by Keizo
Overall, this was a fantastic read and I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in SFX makeup!

"Goth & Loli Zombies" by Akiteru Nakada & M.E.U.
Photo: Takuyuki Saito
Models: Kancho & Mari

"Silene" by Manabu Namikawa

"Bud" by TOMO
Photo: Yosuke Komatsu Model: Marie
Beauty Make-up: Keizo
Costume: Yuta Okuyama & TOMO

Music & Reviews: Vacant Tombs & Full Moons by Tommy Creep

Track Listing:

1. Death Beach
2. More Zombie Than Zombie
3. Pull The Switch!
4. Electronic Voice Phenomena
5. The Gravediggers
6. Haunted House Party
7. The Cemetery (Creepy VIP)
8. Castle Dracula
9. The Cemetery (Original Mix, with Ghoulshow)
10. More Zombie Than Zombie (VIP)
11. Stiff Wagon

Label: Graveyard Calling

Release Date: 29th July, 2013

Vacant Tombs and Full Moons is the new album by Tommy Creep, being released through UK-based label Graveyard Calling Horror Records on July 29th, both in digital formats (via BandCamp) and on limited edition cassette tapes. The release consists of 11 horror EDM (electronic dance music) tracks, including The Cemetery (Original Mix), a collaboration with fellow Graveyard Calling artist, Ghoulshow. 

The album opens with the up-tempo EDM track Death Beach, which features samples from 1960's b-movie The Beach Girls and the Monster for vocals. The song - much like the movie it samples - has a fun, somewhat comical feel, with a spooky electronic organ being used to create a 60's beach vibe. 

From there, the album takes a darker tone with great use of samples from classic horrors and sci fis, such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, Atom-Age Vampire, The Corpse Vanishes and The Body Snatcher, among others. Sometimes the samples can be a little too long, and there are sometimes too many within one track. However, the samples create some interestingly creepy music; especially when intertwined with the glockenspiel, harpsichord and theremin synth melodies, and set to bass saws, occasional screams, squelches, evil laughs and all sorts of other horror sound effects.

If you're a fan of classic horror/sci-fi b-movies and EDM, you'll love this album and even if you don't, give Vacant Tombs and Full Moons a listen -  you might just change your mind!


Monday, 22 July 2013

Music & Reviews: Tales from the Netherworld by Ghoulshow

Track Listing:

1. Spookhouse
2. Monster Closet
3. Nethervator
4. Jungle Voodoo
5. The Cemetary (Ghoulish VIP)
6. All Hallows Eve (Samhain)
7. Zeta Crash Landing
8. He Who Stalks the Night
9. The Cemetery (Original Mix)
10. Spookhouse (VIP)
11. Necromancy (Dead Roam Free)

Label: Graveyard Calling

Release Date: 29th July, 2013

Tales from the Netherworld, is the new release by electronic horror artist Ghoulshow, coming from the UK-based label Graveyard Calling. The album is being released both in digital formats and on limited edition cassette tapes, which are available through the Bandcamp page

It's a spooky yet danceable collection of tracks, from the theremins and saw bass of Spookhouse and menacing beat and xylophone of Jungle Voodoo, to The Cemetery (Original Mix) - a classic horror movie sample-laden collaboration with Graveyard Calling label-mate, Tommy Creep. Unusual sound and genre combinations are used throughout the album, not least on the track He Who Stalks the Night. It begins with gothic horror-esque harpsichords, before transforming into dub, then picking up the tempo with some EDM and dubstep at the end. 

Two songs on the album - Nethervator and Zeta Crash Landing - have a somewhat different feel to the rest of the album. Whilst they retain the spooky vibe of the other tracks, by way of foreboding synths and minor chords, they're distinctly different. Zeta Crash Landing has spacier sound and is definitely more influenced by sci-fi than horror, while Nethervator has an appropriately mechanical sound, even incorporating elements of experimental jazz into the mix. 

Overall, Tales from the Netherworld has a creepily sinister atmosphere, without losing the synth sound or tempo of EDM (electronic dance music), dubstep and drum & bass. Even if you're not usually into this type of music, it's still an enjoyable listen for fans of classic horror film & game soundtracks.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Music & Events: The Candy Spooky Theater US Tourdates / Pandemonium Tour Vol. 1

Tainted Reality, who are the US management of horror rock band The Candy Spooky Theater, have announced that the band will be on tour in the US again this autumn as part of the Pandemonium Tour Vol. 1. DJ SiSeN, GPK, and Mighty Mike Saga will also be taking part in the tour. At this time, all information is subject to change, but the current dates are as follows:
  • Sep. 27th - Bellingham, WA (TCST only)
  • Oct. 2nd - Bellingham, WA (DJ SiSeN & GPK only)
  • Oct. 4th - Bellingham, WA (DJ SiSeN & GPK only)
  • Oct. 5th - Bellingham, WA (TCST only)
  • Oct. 9th - San Francisco, CA (TBA)
  • Oct. 11th - Das Bunker, Los Angeles, CA (All artists attending, performance by DJ SiSeN only)
  • Oct. 12th - Complex. Los Angeles CA (All)
  • Oct. 13th - Phoenix, AZ (TBA)
  • Oct. 14th - San Antonio, TX (TBA)
  • Oct. 16th - Boston, MA (TBA)
  • Oct. 17th - New York, NY (TBA)
  • Oct. 18th - Philadelphia, PA (TBA)
  • Oct. 21st - Columbus, OH (TBA)
  • Oct. 26th - Mexico City, MX (DJ SiSeN & GPK only)
  • Oct. 27th - Mexico City, MX (DJ SiSeN & GPK only)
  • Nov. 1st-3rd - Nekocon (All artists attending, performance by DJ SiSeN only)
  • Nov. 4th - Norfolk, VA (TBA)
You can buy tickets for the two TCST solo shows via NeonPromotions at TicketLeap here: TICKETS

For up-to-date information, check the official TCST website or Tainted Reality's website.

Short Films & Animation: The Green Ruby Pumpkin

The Green Ruby Pumpkin was made by visual effects artist Miguel Ortega and Tran Ma in their living room, with the help of a small crew of their friends. It was "inspired by the work on Edward Gorey, Dr.Seuss, Charles Addams and Shel Silverstein" and the film has an overall storybook feel to it.

Although the space and budget were limited, the pair managed to create and elaborate, spooky world and characters through the use of green screens and digital effects.

The story takes place on Halloween, in a town where all the children visit the house of Bella Deats each year, for a chance to get some of the candy from her green ruby pumpkin.

There is, however, one rule: "No costume, no candy"...

For more information on The Green Ruby Pumpkin, its creators and their current, feature-length project The Ningyo, visit the sites below↓:

Friday, 19 July 2013

Toys & Dolls: Blade (Puppet Master) Plush Doll

"He'll kill you with cuteness"
Full Moon Direct very kindly gifted us one of their Blade (Puppet Master) plush dolls for review, but I should point out that this didn't influence my opinion of the toy in any way. 

Blade is the leader of the puppets in the Puppet Master films and one of only 3 characters that appear in every movie in the series. In the films, he's a little creepier and looks more like this:

The doll arrived inside a sturdy cardboard box, packaged in plastic; no other packaging was necessary for a soft toy. I also feel the need to mention that even though Full Moon Direct are located in the US, the shipping time to the UK was only 5 days, which is pretty fast!

The adorable over-sized plush is a creepy-cute version of Blade and all of the character's distinctive features are included, from his white hair to his knife and hook hands. He stands at 12 inches tall, wears a trench coat, trousers, and shoes made of felt and a wide-brimmed hat made of rigid hat felt. The coat and trousers can be removed, if you really feel the need to undress him, but the hat is sewn into place so that it doesn't fall off of his head.

The quality of the doll is great; the materials used are durable and the stitching is well-finished. The only somewhat negative point about him is the hair. It's stitched to his head at the sides, but still looks like hair due to the fake fur fabric used. However, at the base of his head it is left unattached, which means that the edge of the fabric is unfinished and so tiny clumps of fur occasionally fall out along the bottom. That is only very occasionally though, and doesn't detract from the look or durability of the doll.

Overall, Blade is a well-made and unusual plush doll that I would recommend to fans of the Puppet Master franchise or lovers of the "spooky cute" genre. 

↓You can purchase your very own Blade plush doll, for $24.95, from Full Moon Direct below↓
"Blade" Plush Buddy

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Written and directed by Oklahoma Ward the independent horror film, CRAWL BITCH CRAWL, is set for release sometime this year. The plot takes place in a world in which the human population has been decimated by a virus, which causes women to become infertile and unable to bare children. An elite security team have been assigned to protect the last fertile woman in the world - known as "The Package" - and in order to complete their mission they must escort her through a claustrophobic system of tunnels.

Nicole Alonso as Tank in CRAWL BITCH CRAWL
If that weren't already enough to deal with, they end up being chased by a terrifying creature, through two thousand feet of the fourteen inch wide tunnel.

Torey Byrne as The Package in CRAWL BITCH CRAWL

Books & Art: The Book of Skulls by Faye Dowling

"The skull is one of the most recognizable symbols of today's contemporary visual culture. Since its 1970's renaissance in the iconic album designs of bands such as the Grateful Dead, the skull has found its way into the visual vocabulary of urban life, adorning T-Shirts, badges and rock memorabilia as the ultimate symbol of anarchy and rebellion. Repurposed and recast by artists, illustrators and designers, it has become one of the most iconic cultural symbols of our time. In response to this cultural phenomenon, The Book of Skulls presents a cool visual guide to the skull, charting its rebirth through music and street fashion to become today's ultimate anti-establishment icon. From Black Sabbath to Cypress Hill, skater punk graffiti to Gothic tattoos, from high-couture to Hello Kitty and Dali to Damien Hirst, this book is the ultimate collection of cool and iconic skull motifs. Drawing together artwork from music, fashion, street art and graphic design The Book of Skulls is a celebration of one of today's most iconic cultural symbols."

Last year, my sister gave me The Book of Skulls by Faye Dowling and I then spent a happy few hours pawing through the gorgeous artwork and interesting bits of information included within the book. As you may have guessed from the title, its focus is art and design pieces, all of which incorporate skulls in one way or another.

This collection is not only beautiful, but is peppered with historical contexts and insights into popular culture over the years as well. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes macabre art or - obviously - skulls, as it a quirky, semi-humorous take on what is usually a dark subject matter.

More pictures after the cut below↓

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