Wednesday, September 28, 2016

They're coming! The monsters are coming!

Every year the monsters make their appearance at the Chesapeake Central Library in Chesapeake Virginia. For the 13th time, they will invade once again!

On October 1st, this Saturday as I write this entry, Monster Fest 13 will be happening. Every first weekend of October I look forward to visiting and sometimes hosting a discussion panel at this one day free convention.

Rob Floyd and friend.
The convention is organized by Rob and Phyllis Floyd, two great folks who have become good friends of mine. I have been attending the fest and the bi monthly series Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion, for the past seven or so years. Each year the fest gets bigger and better.

One of my favorite things about the fest is the appearances of some of the local t.v. horror hosts from years past. Dr. Madblood, who still has a yearly Halloween special, is always on hand along with a cast member or two from the show. Rick Clark aka The Keeper from Chamber Theater will also be on hand this year as well. These two figures were a staple in my horror t.v. diet growing up. It's always a joy to talk with them as well because they are such nice people.
Dr. Madblood

The fest also features a ton of vendors as well as great panel discussions of genre films and subjects. There is also live music for those who need to get their spooky funk on. For past several years The Cemetery Boys have been playing all day during the fest. There is just so much fun to be had and if you are in surrounding area of Chesapeake Virginia or even if you are a couple of hours away it is worth your while to come check it out.

Don't forget that after the fest at 7pm there will be the Monster Fest episode of Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion. This year's double feature will include the classic Frankenstein (1931) and the classic slasher Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3D! Two great films that represent the core of what the fest is about (the celebration of monsters and horror) but also a nice symbol of this being the "13th" year.

A few frightful things you will find at the Celluloid Coffin table.
There's just way too much going on for me to really type up in this entry so I am going to leave some links for you clickity click on. If you come out be sure to drop by the Celluloid Coffin table and say hi to me, Coffindan.

Stay cool ghouls!

Monster Fest the 13th

The Cemetery Boys

Dr. Madblood

Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion

Bloke's Terrible Tomb of Terror

Monday, September 12, 2016

It's almost upon us!

Greetings ghoulies! It's getting very close to that oh so wonderful time of the year! Yes, you know what I'm talking about, HALLOWEEN!

It also means that there is a lot going on at the Celluloid Coffin as well. There are several new releases that are ready for your trick or treat pail and the Celluloid Coffin will be making an appearance at this years Monster Fest in Chesapeake, Virginia! I've been attending the fest for several years now. I've also been part of a couple of discussion panels there as well. One on the magnificent artwork of the old VHS days and another on the history of zombie films. This will be the first time I have been a vendor though. I am extremely excited! Check out the link to Monster Fest 13 won't you? If you are in the Chesapeake area or would just like to spread the word wherever you are, check out the flyer, download print and distribute to all your favorite ghouls and haunts!

Monster Fest is a one day convention that is in, well as you can guess by the number, in its 13th glorious year. Each year the fest has gotten a little bigger and has always been a great time. Once the convention ends the fun times aren't over because there is a double feature that night! This year they are screening Frankenstein (1931) and Friday the 13th Part 3.....wait for 3D! You can't beat that with a stick....or body part! So come on down if you are in the area or if you'd like to make the trek to beautiful Chesapeake, Virginia.

In other news there are two new Celluloid Coffin Video releases ready for all you spooks and goblins to add to your cauldron in preparation for the greatest month of the year!

The Coffin continues it's double feature releases with a double header of shock! Francis Ford Coppola's directorial debut, "Dementia 13(1963)" and the always spooky "I Bury The Living (1958)". 

I have to be honest, I hadn't seen Dementia 13 in quite some time when I decided to pair these two together and I was taken about by how great this film is. It's stark black and white photography pairs incredibly well with the (for its day) ultra violent content. It's low budget doesn't shine through like so many productions that came out of the Roger Corman studios in the 50's and early 60's. A real shocker and a true gem!

I Bury The Living has always been a spooky good time. Richard Boone plays the part of a business man who has to take on the responsibility of running a cemetery for the firm he works for. When he accidentally switches pins in the cemetery map, marking living people for dead......well they end up dead! Soon he is caught in a swirling pool of madness. Well filmed and acted. It's directed by Albert Band whose name you probably don't recognize. He is the father of Charles Band who gave us Media Home Entertainment, Wizard Video, and Full Moon Entertainment! Both prints for these films look really nice to be hanging around in the public domain.

Last year I put together and fun little DVD entitled Coffindan's Haunted Halloween Hootenanny. A fun tribute to the old Super 8mm digests of yesteryear. Well I decided to go back to the grave for some more fun!

Son of Halloween Hootenanny is another trip down Super 8 memory lane. Chock full of classic trailers and spooky fun cartoons plus four great "features" done up in that classic digest format. Prepare yourselves for "The Giant Gila Monster", "The Ape Man", "I Was A Teenage Werewolf" and "Plan 9 From Outer Space".

All are great fun little films shrunk down to the 10 - 15 minute run time that was the norm for film companies such as Castle Films and Black Hawk Films. A fun time for all and makes a great party DVD to have playing in the background at your next cemetery bash! Both Hootenanny presentations are also a great way to introduce the classic horrors to the little budding monster kids running around your lab too! Son of Halloween Hootenanny also features some great spooky music from Norfolk, Virginia's Cemetery Boys. The Boys created some of the greatest spook rock this side of of the old abandoned sanitarium. Check out the opening credit sequence of Son of Halloween Hootenanny and listen for  yourselves!

These two new titles plus more are available at the Celluloid Coffin Etsy Store as well as the Ebay Coffin so drop on by and check us out! And if you like what you hear from the Cemetery Boys drop by their Bandcamp Mortuary for some more spooky rock!

Stay cool ghouls!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Netflix gets Stranger!

So I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other morning and came across two posts about a new Netflix series called "Stranger Things". The comments really piqued my interest and so as I sipped my first cup of coffee, I checked out the first episode.

Without spilling any beans about specifics of the story of Stranger Things, I am going to try and sum it up as best I can. A 12 year old boy goes missing while on his way home from his friends house one night. He wasn't taken by someone but rather some thing. As the story begins to unfold around the boys disappearance things get strange.....yeah I did that, glad you noticed. Something seems to have escaped from a near by testing facility. Something scary and really weird. A young girl has also escaped from the same facility and she is wee bit strange as well. The local sheriff is called in to investigate the disappearance of the boy and begins to discover more than he bargained for. The boys mother also begins to experience some paranormal happenings in the house which leads her to believe her son is somewhere and able to communicate with her. Pretty soon the boys friends and family all become involved together in a race to find their friend and save their little town from something very, very evil.

Twenty minutes into the first episode I was totally SOLD! The story takes place in 1983. In that time frame I was 12 years old. Many of the main protagonists in this show are 12 years old. So I TOTALLY identify with their characters. Add to that fact, there are so many nods to my childhood in this show. A Jaws and Evil Dead poster are spotted on the walls of bedrooms. Atari 2600 games pop up on top of a t.v. console. The game of Dungeons & Dragons is on display at the beginning of the first episode and is actually referenced several times throughout the story line. Throw in late 70's automobiles, rotary phones, tube socks, The Clash and everything else that made the early 80's great and I am in a time warp that quite frankly, I don't wanna come out of. Oh and the story line is incredible!

The writing is good, the acting is good, the special effects are good. I honestly cannot find anything wrong with this show. Some have said it has moments that are too "The Goonies" and while I have never seen that movie (WHAAAAT!? YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN THE GOONIES!?), I think I understand where they are coming from. I doesn't bother me though. I like the interaction of the kids in this show. I guess because it just really takes me back to such a simple time. I think my time was more simple than these kids though. I didn't have any child abducting creatures running around in the woods behind my house. Although I think one time a friend and I were chased by a least we think it was a hobo. We didn't look back, we just ran our asses back to my house.

Speaking of acting, I just want to give a nod to Winona Ryder. Her acting as the distraught mother who believes her child is communicating to her from the "other side" is top notch. It's nice to see her on the small screen too. She is scared to death but yet is able to portray a sense of strength that she didn't know she had. David Harbour (Black Mass, Quantum of Solace) stars as the hard nosed sheriff that is battling his own personal demons but is able to screw his head on straight enough to battle the evil head on.

And nay nay, Ryder is not the only 80's star to make an appearance in this show. Matthew Modine (The Dark Knight Rises, Full Metal Jacket) is the sinister head of the testing facility out to capture the young girl who has escaped and is a threat to his entire operation. There....a little tidbit of the story line that doesn't really give too much away.

I'm just gonna say that as I write this I have only one episode left to watch. There are only 8 total so it's not too bad of a binge watch if you have a day to kill. I've purposely refrained from binging and have watched 2 episodes back to back max. It's hard not to click on the "Play Next Episode" button believe me!

So if you are a child of the 70/80's who loves their horror then this show is definitely for you. I've already heard that Netflix is signed on to do another season which sounds good to me even if I have no idea how this season ends. The creators of the show, The Duffer Brothers (Hidden, We All Fall Down) have really knocked it out of the park. Their work on this makes me want to check out some of their other material since I had never heard of them before. This is only the second original Netflix series I've watched. The other being Daredevil which I think is a fantastic series. My wife is hooked on Orange is the New Black so I think Netflix has been firing all on cylinders with their programming. Stranger Things definitely gives the big network a run for their money!

So until next time kids, Netflix and SCREAM!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Queen is screaming at Etsy!

Greetings! Another double feature release is now available from the ole Coffin! This double feature includes two of Barbara Steele's classic Italian gothic horror films. The Ghost (1963) and Nightmare Castle (1965).

Steele, as usual, is outstanding in both of these films. The Ghost is a continuation of the Dr. Hichcock theme that starred Steele in the 1962 film "The Horrible Dr. Hichcock" that was also directed by Riccardo Freda. A slow burn type of horror film but well acted and filmed. This was one of Steele's films that I hadn't discovered until about five years ago. Nightmare Castle is one of Steele's most well known films probably taking second fiddle to Black Sunday (1960). Directed by Mario Caiano who claims the film was a tribute to Gothic cinema and to Steele herself. Steele knocks it out of the park with her dual performance. Story wise it fits right in with the Hichcock themes which makes this a very nice double feature. It also stars the lovely Helga Line (Horror Rises From The Tomb).

Celluloid Coffin Video also has a new home on Etsy! We will still list on Ebay but I thought it might be a good idea to expand so we will see how things go. I mean come on you can get your craft on and pick up some great horror, sci-fi and euro spy flicks! Right now only domestic shipping is available through the Etsy store but that is only temporary. For our international customers you can continue to pick up titles through Ebay. So come on by and check us out!

Celluloid Coffin Video at Etsy

Celluloid Coffin Video at Ebay

The next Halloween Hootenanny disc is in the editing stages. I've got some great ideas for what I hope to be another great fun release that will include some giant monsters, angst ridden werewolves, outer space invasions gone awry and hopefully Vincent Price! Also another double feature release will happen soon. I've got an idea that's been kicking around the coffin that involves fangs, the living dead and everyone's favorite Spanish lycanthrope, Paul Naschy! So stay tuned and stay scary!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Slash O Rama Drive-in is here!

Greetings again fellow ghoulsters! I am happy to announce the all new Celluloid Coffin Video trailer compilation entitled "Coffindan's Slash O Rama Drive-In". I finally put the pedal to the metal and finished this little gem before the summer hit. 97 minutes of heart pounding, blood splattering, throat slashing horror! A tribute to one of my favorite sub genres in horror, the slasher film. Along with these great trailers are also plenty of drive-in theater intermission ads. A lot of fun to be had on this little disc and a sure fire hit for your next family get together.....if your family is a bunch of psychopaths....not that there's anything wrong with that!

Also available from the Coffin is "Don't Look In The Basement" / "Messiah of Evil" double feature!
A double dose of shock and sleaze! Both films
were filmed in 1973 and are staples of low budget horror and exploitation. No trailers on this disc just bare bones horror!

I'm a bit of new comer when it came to "Don't Look In The Basement" so it was a treat to check
this one out before figuring out what to pair it with. "Messiah of Evil" has been in my horror vocab since the 8th grade when I discovered the old Video Gems big box rental. It certainly isn't the be all, end all zombie flick but it's a cool twist on the sub genre. What I love about both of these films is that they really show off their birth dates of 1973. The settings, the fashion, the hair, just ALL of what made the early 1970's so bell bottommy glorious!

Be sure to drop by the ole Ebay Coffin and check out the new titles. There are more on the way as I come up with a few more double features in anticipation of having a vendor table at this years Monster Fest 2016 in Chesapeake, Virginia. Plus another Halloween Hootenanny is on the drawing board and I hope to get that started and finished in the next few months!

Stay Ghoulish!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The mummy must return to it's tomb....

Due to rights issues Celluloid Coffin Video is discontinuing La Venganza De La Momia. This 1973 film also known as The Mummy's Revenge was one of the first titles in the Coffins canon and as a small time DIY I was rather proud of this one. It was a good print, uncut, widescreen and in Spanish with English subs, a real treat for collectors of Spanish horror.

The good news is that Dorado Films has acquired the rights to this title which is a great thing! I know I can't do it justice with limited funds. I'm just a collector who's offering titles to other collectors. Dorado will do this up nicely. From what I have seen of their product, I have been impressed. Finally this wonderful film is getting an official U.S. DVD release (not sure about Blu-Ray) and I look forward to seeing the end result!

Stay groovy ghouls!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Back holy man! Back shaman! Back priest!

In 1979 I was just 8 years old. I was a 2 year graduate of the Star Wars (1977) phenomenon and by now a full fledged monsterkid. When the T.V. commercials began to appear for a new mini series on CBS that involved vampires, my pointed monsterkid ears perked to attention! Salem's Lot is by far the end all be all horror mini series. It freaked me out as a kid and it still delivers the goods for me 37 years later.
The mini series is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, as pretty much anyone reading this entry knows. It's been quite awhile since I have read the book but I remember it freaking me out as much as the T.V. adaptation. It concerns a writer by the name of Ben Mears (David Soul) returning to his childhood home to write a novel. A novel about a house, THE house, the Marsten house that sits at the top of the hill as one enters the sleepy little Maine town known as Salem's Lot.

There is also a new face in town. A face that ultimately comes to represent an unspeakable evil. An evil in the guise of an older British gentlemen by the name of Richard Straker (James Mason). Straker is a business partner to the yet unseen Kurt Barlow, they own an antiques company that has settled down in the town. What the residents don't know is that not only is Straker bringing in fine antiques, he is also bringing in and ultimately harboring the most evil and corrupt vessel of horror known to man.....a vampire.

And now the stage is set for director Tobe Hooper and screen writer Paul Monash to make it all come together in a two night, four hour historical television event.

Tobe Hooper is of course then and now best known for his seminal "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974) and Monash had already had success with Stephen King producing the film adaptation of "Carrie" (1976). This was certainly a "dream team" that came together at the right time and under the right circumstances. Monash combined and deleted characters from the original novel which is pretty understandable but still did a great job of conveying the story line and some sub plots. For me the stand out is of course Hooper's direction. The first part of the film (basically the first 2 hours) is spent introducing characters and building them up for the audience to either love or hate. Hooper also throws in a smattering of atmosphere and a few little jumps to keep you on your toes. I feel this is why the film works so well.

Hooper is able to keep you glued to the screen during the first half of the film. It really goes by at a very nice pace and you never get bored. There is just enough spookiness that you are kept in anticipation waiting for the truth to finally reveal itself. The first half ends on such a great note as well. The last half hour or so gives a peek at how the evil that has descended upon Salem's Lot is beginning to grow. The demise of the Glick brothers is a series of incredibly photographed sequences that are guaranteed to give you the shivers and keep you up night when you think you might have heard a slight tap at your bedroom window. The delivery of something cold and all out wrong in the guise of a headboard in a large crate is another extremely well filmed, albeit simple, sequence that is completely driven by actors Geoffrey Lewis (Mike Ryerson) and Barney McFadden (Ned Tibbets). This sequence alone shows how to convey horror and terror with not one single drop of stage blood nor a glimpse of what we all know has got to be in that crate.

At the end of the first night, the evil has wormed its way into the town and several of its townsfolk. The look of the undead is thrown right up in our faces as well. We all know what these vampires look like and they are scary as hell. The decision to go with glowing eyes through contact lenses was perfect. The eyes are more unsettling than the fangs in my opinion. And speaking of the fangs, these vampires are equipped with some wicked canines. They are discolored, which is a great look and really conveys the pestilence and disease that these creatures are carrying and dealing out.

The second half of the series finally introduces us to the big bad vampire played by Reggie Nalder. The name is never truly given but to the audience I always felt we are lead to believe this is Kurt Barlow. The "business partner" to Straker. Straker really is more of a body guard to Straker, an enabler, a protector if you will. James Mason plays this part very matter of fact. He pulls no punches really, he oozes evil. We really see it when he confronts the local priest and challenges the holy man to put down his cross and put his faith against the face of the monster. "Faith against face holy man!". The second half of Salem's Lot is an all out race against time. The townsfolk are being vampirized  pretty quickly as many are starting to show signs of being tired and sluggish. A side of effect of having your life blood drained during the wee hours of the night. The confrontation of Mike Ryerson and high school teacher Jason Burke (Lew Ayers) is one of those moments that sticks with you. Geoffery Lewis (Mike) seated in the rocking chair and slowly rising and contorting his body while hissing the lines "Look at me teacher!" gives me goose bumps as I'm typing!

Another brilliant confrontation is in the hospital morgue when Ben (Soul) is confronted by the Glick boys newly turned mother is expertly filmed and acted especially by David Soul. His stammering of Psalm 23 while the body of the mother begins to twitch and rise from the exam table is another goose pimply moment. He is able to fend her off with a cross made of tongue depressors and medical tape which really conveys the theory of faith being an important tool in fighting the undead vampire. The last hour of this second part of the film is very fast paced and finally brings us to the center of all the evil. The Marsten House confrontation is outstanding in set design alone. The emptiness of an abandoned house worn with age and neglect is perfectly captured. The house itself was a facade built on the hill for the film and cost a reportedly $100,000. I don't know if that included the inside set or not but wow did they nail it! Ben is accompanied by the local doctor Bill Norton (Ed Flanders) who is finally convinced of what is going on in Salem's Lot. He is also the father of Ben's love interest Susan (Bonnie Bedelia) who has also made it to the house after seeing a young boy, Mark Petrie (Lance Kerwin) enter the house looking for revenge upon the vampire.

The final battle sees Straker abduct Susan ("I've taken her to meet who she came to see.") and also impale her father on a wall adorned with antlers. A nice scene that shows that Straker is a rather powerful man or possibly more than human. He is killed by Ben when tries to attack him and Mark. Ben unloads a .38 revolver into him and Straker finally expires. Ben and Mark make it to the cellar of the Marsten house and discover the vampires resting place, its coffin residing in root cellar behind a metal door. They drag the coffin out and as the last rays of sunlight disappear Ben is able to slam a wooden stake into and through the heart of the dreaded vampire. This is another striking sequence that is well filmed and full of suspense. The space in which the coffin hides is also a resting place for those that have become servants of the undead vampire. As Mark looks on the horror of Ben staking the vampire you see the awakening of the others. They slowly crawl towards Mark as his back is to them, their eyes glowing and their hissing becoming louder as they approach. It really is a long lasting image that will forever be burned into my brain. It certainly is my favorite part of the entire film.

Ben and Mark set fire to the Marsten house, ultimately destroying the nest of vampires inside and Ben laments the fact that Susan has been turned into an undead creature and is dying inside. This brings us to our epilogue which finds Ben and Mark on the run from the scourge of vampires. They are in Guatemala filling up on holy water when the vessel begins to glow brightly and they know they have been found. Ben encounters a vampire in the house they are in and it turns out to be Susan. This is the one occasion where the vampire is presented in an eerily beautiful light. Ben is able to resist his love for Susan and brings her to an end with a wooden stake thus bringing the greatest mini series ever to a close. 

Let me take a moment to say something about the character of Mark Petrie. Mark represents the monsterkid in all of us. His room is adorned with movie posters for Frankenstein and Dracula. He has an incredible collection of the old Aurora model kits from the 70's and he already has a working knowledge of vampires and how to defend himself against them. There is even dialogue where he explains what a ghoul is to his friends the Glick brothers. While the whole movie clicked with me, this character clicked with me on a whole different level. While Mark is a teenager and I was only 8 when the mini series came out, I completely identified with the character. I had a working knowledge of monsters and vampires and I knew what a ghoul was. I so put myself in the shoes of Mark Petrie when he confronts the vampire and says "I'm gonna kill you!". I guess this is why this mini series works so well for me. Right place, right time.

If you haven't seen Salem's Lot do it and do it now. Find the mini series and completely bypass the condensed theatrical version that was released in Europe and VHS in the states as Salem's Lot: The Movie. While it's not a complete waste of time, it just doesn't have the bite that the mini series see what I did there right?

Cheers ghouls!!

Salem's Lot (1979) Trailer