Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 Days of Halloween Presents: Pumpkin Faces in the Night (I Remember Halloween)

Halloween isn’t what it used to be.

Yeah - this is going to be a total Old Man Rant, so hang in there.

Back when I was your age we waited until it was dark to go trick or treating. We walked from house to house across every neighborhood in a two mile radius. We actually said, “Trick or Treat” to every single person that opened their door. We did inspect our candy, but only in the most cursory of ways. And nobody ever, under any circumstances, went trick or treating without a costume. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: 17 Questions With Walker Stalker Con's James Frazier and Eric Nordhoff

Normally I keep these Q&As to a reasonable 13 questions, but when I got the opportunity to interview the gentlemen responsible for this coming weekend's huge Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta, I knew I wanted to throw a few extra in.
After all – these were tow guys that went from doing a podcast to planning and organizing a three day convention featuring not only the top stars of The Walking Dead, but also a number of luminaries from other parts of the industry – Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, Judith O'Dea, Joe Lynch, and Giancarlo Esposito. Not to mention Zack Galligan, with whom I conducted an audio interview for this year's episode of Earth Station Boo!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

31 Days of Halloween Presents: Last House on Memory Lane by Son of Celluloid

I am absolutely honored to bring you today’s Guest Post. It’s from an Atlanta horror legend named Nathan, who you may know better as the madman behind Son Of Celluloid.
Nathan surprised me last month by asking me if I would like to contribute to SoC’s Halloween celebration. I jumped at the opportunity to be featured alongside the likes of Allan Trautman, Sean Whalen, Cleve Hall, and Shane Morton, as well as Nathan himself. And of course, having gotten very slightly cannier over the past couple of years, I made sure to ask Nathan if he’d like to contribute to Needless Things’ 31 Days of Halloween.
So here now is an outstanding post about Nathan’s journey through horror and how he came to be…
Son of Celluloid

Monday, October 28, 2013

31 Days of Halloween Presents: Treacherous Couch Surfing - Jersey Shore Shark Attack by Zartanamiss Prime

I am extremely proud to be able to present today’s 31 Days of Halloween post. The contributor is a young lady I met at Dragon Con who attended the GI Joe: A Real American Hero panel with her fiancée, Snake-Eyes. They had a blast at the panel and probably gave me too much credit for being able to talk about nerd shit for an hour.
Zartanamiss Prime – as she goes by – contacted me afterwards about writing and doing stuff online. She had checked out Needless Things at that point and no doubt had the same thought many of my contributors have had – “Seriously? I could do that.” This is her first post for a website – not that you can tell – and I am totally stoked to be bringing it to you. This is some great stuff, people.
Zartanamiss will be pursuing her own site soon and I will definitely be keeping you posted. For now, enjoy her review of the SyFy Original classic, Jersey Shore Shark Attack!

When it comes to Halloween favorites there is nothing like a good old creature feature. I feel the mother of this genre has to be those lovely shark movies. From the beautifully executed cult classic “Jaws” in 1975 to today’s mediocre catch of the day, we love to see fresh young beach-goers devoured by rows of razor sharp teeth. It is, after all, a very real possibility and what is scarier than being eaten alive? Well folks, I have found a hilarious Halloween treat with some one-liners that would be just as terrifying to suffer through. The movie is called “Jersey Shore Shark Attack”.

Friday, October 25, 2013

31 Days of Halloween Presents The Next Big Movie Monster by Beth V

I never ever ever ever ever thought that I would say this, but I'm kind of getting bored with zombies. I hate myself just a little bit for even putting it into writing. I mean, I've loved zombies since the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead oh so many years ago. I was instantly hooked, and watched every zombie movie I could find from then on.

The hit or miss Italian films, the dark times of Return of the Living Dead (they were at least funny), even Day of the Dead despite how boring I thought it was (sorry George). When Shaun of the Dead seemed to be reviving the genre in a fresh direction I was thrilled. Fido, Dead Snow, Juan of the Dead – all good zombie movies. I even liked the Dawn of the Dead remake despite all of my purist husband's objections, and my own general aversion to fast zombies. All that goodness was tempered with crap like the increasingly stupid Resident Evil movies, Diary of the Dead (sorry again George), and American Zombie. Then we go a level deeper into hell and find Zombie Apocalypse, House of the Dead, and Rise of the Zombies. That one was probably what pushed me over the edge. It “starred” Danny Trejo, LeVar Burton, Mariel Hemmingway, and Ethan Suplee. You will never find a more random cast. To be perfectly honest it was so bad that I couldn't even finish it. But at the ¾ point where I think I turned it off Ethan Suplee was still alive somehow. I've said it before, and I'll say it again – my suspension of disbelief can only go so far. No way that guy outlives Danny Trejo when the zombies come looking for lunch (sorry if I spoiled that for anyone, but you shouldn't waste your time watching that nonsense anyway). I still kind of want to see Retarded even though I know it's going to be bad, but I'm just the kind of asshole who would find that sort of thing funny. For like, five minutes.

But of course, as I'm writing this I'm watching a Mythbusters Zombie Special. There's also a spanking new zombie book on my kindle, and I just finished another playthrough of Left 4 Dead 1 and 2. The irony (or hypocrisy) isn't lost on me. Maybe it's not the zombies I'm sick of. It really seems just to be the zombie movies. If I may get a little “cranky old lady” for a minute (and since you can't stop me I'm going to pretend like you gave me the okay and just say whatever I want) – things were different when I was young. Back then if a style, theme or particular monster became popular people just enjoyed it and called it a day. You might get a knock off here or there, but it was a lot harder to mass market movies back then. Now any idiot with a few friends and a digital camera rips off the popular thing and gets it crammed onto SyFy or Netflix as fast as they can. I watched about 30 seconds of a movie that looked like it was filmed with the VHS camera my dad used to shoot home movies on in the 80's. Dawn of the Dead remake do well? Let's grab Ving Rhames and remake Day of the Dead too. People liked Abraham Lincoln killing vampires? Let's have him kill some zombies. And the second you dare to give one of these film school projects gone awry a chance Netflix starts recommending countless other failed film-making attempts to you. For simply watching Resident Evil last week (which I guess counts as bad even though I like it) Netflix thought I should watch Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight, Gangs of the Dead, and The Core. Not really sure how that last one fits into there unless Netflix knows that I have the humor level of a pre-pubescent boy and laugh like Butt-head every time I hear the names Swank and Tucci together (I just did it again). But I have occasionally been led to some good movies through the recommendations. Boy Eats Girl, Rammbock, and Pontypool are all definitely worth watching if you haven't seen them yet. But for the most part zombie movies coming out now are crap, and not the kind of crap that I actually enjoy watching. I have come to the conclusion that it's time for a new movie monster. Trying to decide what it would be was the hard part.

Certainly not vampires or werewolves. I don't care if they ever come back at this point. The last good vampire movie I can think of was The Lost Boys. There may be something more recent that I liked, but since nothing else spring immediately to mind it couldn't have been that good. I guess the Fright Night remake was decent, but a lot of that had to do with the excellent acting of both David Tennant and Colin Farrell's eyebrows.

Dudes took over vampires and werewolves with Underworld (admit it, you only like it because of Kate Beckinsale in skintight vinyl), and the kids took them from the dudes with Twilight. They can keep them for all I care. Until I can think of vampires as something other than a sparkly Robert Pattinson they are done for me. So vampires and werewolves are right out.

I briefly toyed with the idea of Mummies or Frankenstein monsters, but they're really glorified zombies when you get right down to it. Mummies are just zombies wasting gauze, and Frankenstein monsters are a build your own zombie kit. I don't want to rally for change just to throw in more of the same. I'm ready for something completely different.

I had been thinking that the chupacabra might be ready for a chance, but the horrible Chupacabra Vs. the Alamo dashed my hopes entirely. Bad CGI and Erik Estrada's acting killed them before they even got off the ground. Sad really, because I thought they had a lot of potential.

Sea monsters? Killer Pandas? My Neighbor Totoro on a child squashing rampage? Nope, nope, and (I'd love to see that) nope.

So my personal pick for the next big movie monster is...the Sasquatch. Or Yeti, Bigfoot, whatever you want to call them. I know that there have been movies already, but I haven't seen anything good or bad enough to remember recently. That means that they are prime for a comeback in a big way. There's so many scenarios you could use them in too. One could terrorize teens out on an “innocent” camping trip, or several could attack an isolated mountain town during some sort of freak storm, or a group of Yetis gang up and take down a Tibetan temple (those peaceful ass monks have been asking for it for years). They could be extra huge with enormous claws to rip out throats in one swipe. There could be a giant herd of them destroying the upper northwest (don't look so surprised Idaho). Abominable Snowmen could fight polar bears, and kick over igloos. I can't think of any movies featuring an all Eskimo cast so that would be a big first (and go a long way towards convincing my husband that Eskimos aren't just Latinos in fur coats). The possibilities are, if not endless, at least numerous.

So there you have it. Sasquatch is the next movie monster. I've got it in writing now so it's a done deal. Get on it Hollywood, or Toronto, or idiot with a few friends and a digital camera. But probably not him. He's still busy making unwatchable zombie movies while the rest of us are moving on.

-Beth V

Phantom Troublemaker vs. 31 Days of Halloween
I’m changing the format a bit this year in order to more accurately portray SyFy’s schedule and also to preserve my sanity. I had the genius idea to cut and paste the schedule directly from SyFy’s page rather than typing it out in my own format. This has saved me an awful lot of time and also means that individual episodes are listed rather than blocks of programming like previous years. So what I’m going to do is provide commentary where I feel it is needed rather than posting next to every single entry. Don’t worry – you’re getting the same amount of hilarious, then kind of funny, then labored, then thoroughly disenchanted Phantom content. Just in a different way.
Like last year, I am covering the programming from the time this posts until the time of the next post. That means that on Fridays you are going to be treated to a shit-ton of this stuff.
Let’s do it!
Oct 25 12:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Monster Ark

I’m still disappointed that this movie featured a single monster rather than an ark full. It isn’t really a bad movie, but they should have called it Ark With One Monster Inside, So Don’t Get Your Hopes Up. The only time I have been more disappointed by the monster-related content of a movie was Monsters. I am not excited about that dude directing the new Godzilla movie.

Oct 25 02:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Red: Werewolf Hunter

Oct 25 04:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Underworld: Evolution

Oct 25 06:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans

Oct 25 08:00 PM WWE Smackdown 

If Vince McMahon had a brain in his head he’d be featuring El Phantasmas, Professor Morté, and the creatures of Monstrosity Championship Wrestling on this edition of Smackdown and Monday’s RAW. 
Oct 25 10:00 PM Haven Lay Me Down

Oct 25 11:00 PM Being Human What's Blood Got To Do With It

Oct 26 12:00 AM Haven Lay Me Down
Oct 26 01:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings

Oct 26 03:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines

Oct 26 05:00 AM Deals From The Darkside Titanic Deck Chair


Oct 26 05:30 AM Deals From The Darkside Houdini Handcuffs

I won’t be up, but I’d watch this if I were. I’m a sucker for Houdini stuff.

Oct 26 06:00 AM Paid Programming 

Oct 26 09:00 AM Scare Tactics Home Video Horror

In this episode, Tracy Morgan shows unwilling victims his collection of home movies.

Oct 26 09:30 AM Syfy Original Movie House Of Bones

Did I already make my annual joke about boning Charisma Carpenter?

Oct 26 11:30 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Devil's Advocate, The

Not a horror movie. Not bad, but not good.

Oct 26 02:30 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Blade II

Oct 26 05:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Zombie Apocalypse

It’s time for a ZOMBIETHON! I haven’t actually seen Zombie Apocalypse, but I bet it isn’t as good as the one we have in Atlanta.

Oct 26 07:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Rise Of The Zombies

This movie stars Danny Trejo and is absolutely terrible, but in a great way. I enjoyed it.

Oct 26 09:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Zombie Night

This is new. I know nothing about it other than I will be recording it for future viewing.

Oct 26 11:00 PM Syfy Original Movie Zombie Apocalypse

Oct 26 01:00 AM Syfy Original Movie Zombie Night

Oct 26 03:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie The Dead

It would be so awesome if this was a movie were based on Sideshow Collectibles’ excellent and strangely abandoned line of sixth scale zombie figures, The Dead:

I bet it isn’t.

Oct 26 05:30 AM The Twilight Zone Time Enough At Last

Oct 27 06:00 AM Paid Programming 

Oct 27 09:00 AM Scare Tactics When The Larvae Breaks

Oh, gross.
Oct 27 09:30 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Case 39

This is the only movie SyFy is showing all day long that they haven’t already shown this month. It stars Traci Lords as a private investigator who is looking into the kidnapping of a stripper who actually turns out to be an advanced sex robot from an alien world.


No, that’s the Cinemax Original Movie, Case 69.

I have no idea what this one is about. But I bet it doesn’t have a sex robot.

Here’s a fun activity (since I won’t be commenting on all of these other movies that SyFy has already shown multiple times):

Would you rather have a sex robot that could alter its appearance to be anybody or anything


Be guaranteed employment with at least your current salary for the rest of your life?

Oct 27 11:30 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Blade II

Oct 27 02:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Ninth Gate, The

Oct 27 05:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Hitcher, The

Oddly enough, I don;t think SyFy has shown this one yet. The remake was okay, but you'd be much better off watching the original. And keep in mind - I'm not one of those "I hate remakes" guys.

Oct 27 07:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Drive Angry

Oct 27 09:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Ghost Rider

Oct 27 11:30 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie The Ninth Gate

Oct 27 02:30 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Drive Angry

Oct 27 04:30 AM The Twilight Zone Perchance To Dream

Oct 27 05:00 AM The Twilight Zone Judgment Night

Oct 27 05:30 AM Tz: Cable In The Classroom Where Is Everybody

Oct 28 06:00 AM Paid Programming

Jumpin' Jack-O-Lanterns on a pogo stick. A whole day of Scare Tactics. Come back on Monday to see what I have to say about that.

Oct 28 08:00 AM Scare Tactics Toxic Shock

Oct 28 08:30 AM Scare Tactics Tow Truck Killers

Oct 28 09:00 AM Scare Tactics Ghoul Bus 2

Oct 28 09:30 AM Scare Tactics Dying To Kill!

Oct 28 10:00 AM Scare Tactics It's My Party

Oct 28 10:30 AM Scare Tactics No Pain, No Brain


Thursday, October 24, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Creepy Toy Review DC Comics Super Villains Joker from DC Collectibles

Scott Snyder’s “Death of the Family” is not only a classic Joker story, it is one of the best I have read.
It’s hard to go into something with the amount of hype this one had without being cynical. Let’s face it – comics today are not what they used to be. Everything that happens is considered an “event” and even the slightest change to a character calls for a press release that ruins the surprise and 84 variant covers.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Costumes by Allie and Tara

Awesome logo that Jim Stacy made for me that I was too lazy to use this year. NEXT YEAR!
31 Days of Halloween is bringing you a special treat today. I have put together a tag team of Needless Things favorites to talk about costumes!
Allie has been here before writing about wrestling and other stuff, while Tara has contributed posts about Dragon Con and her own experiences in the worlds of geekery. So here are two posts combined into one, Magnokor-style, to give you a look at a couple of different costuming perspectives!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Spooky Toy Review Masters of the Universe Classics: Filmation Shokoti from Mattel

Before I get into the review I want to mention the passing of Lou Scheimer .
I’m not an encyclopedic-type guy, but I can tell you that Scheimer was a co-founder of Filmation, the company that produced a huge number of the cartoons I grew up with. Fat Albert, Ghost Busters, Bravestarr, and of course He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra. But Scheimer wasn’t just a behind-the-scenes producer guy. He also provided voices for many of the characters from those shows.
I saw that name almost every day of my young life without really knowing what it meant. I just knew that whoever he was, he must be pretty awesome because he had something to do with a ton of cartoons.
Scheimer was involved with animation in some form or another right up until his passing. He is a true legend of American entertainment and if you’re around my age he had an impact on your very consciousness through his work. From what I can see it looks like he had a full life and was constantly pursuing his interests.
I just wanted to take a moment to honor his memory and thank him for everything he did.

Monday, October 21, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse 2013

Greetings, Phantomaniacs! It is time once again for my annual recap of my trip to Atlanta’s greatest Halloween attraction, the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse!

Before I get any further, I want to make sure you know that I work with one of the creators of AZA and have known him for years. I consider the guy a friend and a great talent. But that does not mean I’m going to do any turd polishing. If you read my recap from last year, you can see that I’m pretty straightforward about the zombie shoot. While I admit that I probably tend to go a little easier on folks that I know, I still try to be as objective as possible.

Also, I won’t be spoiling anything here. There are two walk(run)-throughs at AZA. A mystery haunt and “Return of the Curse of the Undead”. I’ll discuss them both, but only in as much detail as I feel is absolutely necessary. And for those looking for a straight review; well, this isn’t really it. This is more of a narrative of AZA and the events surrounding it. Honestly, all you need to know is that it’s a unique attraction that has to be experienced to be understood.

Every year we look forward to the night we can go to AZA. We find a sitter, get a group together, load up on adult beverages, and head out. Only this year I was working Monstrosity Championship Wrestling at Six Flags and then heading straight over to AZA, so I – for the first time ever – experienced AZA stone cold sober.

Side Note: I was discussing this with someone the other day. I don’t know what this says about me or my perception of the world or my mental health or whatever, but I enjoy almost everything to a greater degree when I have some alcohol in my system. I think it’s from being raised in such a massively uptight household and being pretty uptight myself. I feel like the straight edge people or folks who don’t drink or whatever must just be freer spirits than me. Or they aren’t actually having fun and just don’t realize it. I dunno. My point here is that booze is great.

I was all kinds of sweaty and gross after four hours of walking around a wrestling ring outdoors in four layers of clothing and a wrestling mask:
So after the show I went to Queen of Crunk and Bear’s place to take a shower. I cannot possibly express how much I appreciate them letting me do this. There’s a shower at Six Flags, but I’m just not a guy who does public showers. Plus, I have learned something absolutely fascinating since I have been working the MCW shows at Six Flags – the combined smell of zombie paint, sweaty humans, twenty different kinds of aerosol deodorant and twelve different kinds of colognes creates the worst smell you could possibly imagine. This stench is the Voltron of olfactory nightmares, with legs formed from Drakkar and CK1, arms from Right Guard and Axe Body Spray, a torso of pure human ass funk, and a Blazing Sword of Hi Karate. The head is made from Quozzy Quozzborne’s eyeball sweat. It would take a giant Robeast made of nothing but Febreze to even put a dent in that stinking miasma.

So I really didn’t want to hang around. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even change out of my gear on Saturday because I knew I was going straight to somewhere I could change.
Queen of Crunk and Bear live in what appears to be a huge military complex with a fancy central garden and pool. The apartments are super nice and their auxiliary shower is great. After I showered and put on fresh clothes it was pretty close to the time we were all supposed to be meeting at AZA and I hadn’t eaten yet. I told Bear I was probably going to just go to McDonald’s and he got this look on his face that healthy people get when you tell them you’re going to McDonald’s. Well, healthy people and food snobs (I believe Bear is more of the former). He said there were plenty of better places to eat that were just as close and gave me a list. I thanked him and acted all excited about eating at some place better than McDonald’s and then went to McDonald’s. And super-sized my meal.

I texted Mrs. Troublemaker to let her know I was running a little late and she said that they were, too. She was coming down with Beau and Sally since she’s seen my act and doesn’t need to be sitting around a hot arena all day watching me sweat. 
We had agreed to meet at the paintball facility where AZA is staged at 8 PM. I got there at about 8:30 thanks to my GPS deciding to direct me out onto 85 and then 285 rather than taking me through downtown. I felt like that was wrong, but I have a terrible sense of direction and no ability to judge proximity, so I didn’t fight it. I did spend the drive wondering how I ever managed to get anywhere on short notice prior to owning GPS-enabled devices. I remember getting lost a lot and making lots of turns.

Pro Tip: Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse is a fun and amazing Halloween experience. Essential, I’d say. But they are there to make money. As such, they realized a couple of years ago that they could charge for parking. So remember to bring a few bucks cash for that. I told the attendant I thought it was ingenious. He said most people didn’t feel that way. I’m all for capitalism.

The AZA compound is basically a massive block of offices. When you arrive you will see a central area with t-shirts, snacks, and picnic tables. To the right of that is ticket sales and further right is the entrance to the mystery haunt. To the left and all the way around the side are the Zombie Killer and Return of the Curse of the Undead attractions. I won’t be talking about Zombie Killer this year because I wasn’t crazy about it last year and, quite frankly, funds are super tight right now. Between all of the normal October expenses and how much it’s costing me to work MCW this month (yeah, you read that right) I just didn’t have the extra to spend on what might or might not have been an improved zombie shooting experience. That’s not even considering the fact that Matty has loaded this month and next month up to be the most expensive in the history of the MOTUC line.

But there was no way I was going to miss out on the two main haunts. “Return of the Curse of the Undead” is a sequel to 2012’s excellent slightly Evil Dead-themed adventure. I was excited about returning to that world. But the main draw of 2013 had to be the mystery haunt. I had heard whispers that this was some amazing new innovation in haunted houses. Everybody I know that was working AZA was very excited about it and – most amazingly – I hadn’t heard anything.

Once the rest of the crew arrived – Mrs. Troublemaker, Beau, Sally, Queen of Crunk, Bear, and Little Nikki – we got our tickets and went straight to the line for the mystery haunt, which was marked only with a slightly ominous “?”.

Pro Tips: The perfect number of people for a group at AZA is ten. If you can make your group that size you will have the best time. Otherwise you run the risk of having douchebags merged with your group. By which I mean the sort of people who walk through a haunt pointing out that everything is fake or just generally not getting into it. I don’t know why these people spend all that money just to be a drag and clearly not be entertained, but they are out there. And you do not want them in your group. We had seven and got lucky with both haunts. The people added into our group were all fun.

Have fun. Go in with an open mind and let the experience take you away. If you are cynical or don’t like to have fun, maybe you should just stay home and fold laundry or shine shoes or something.

Be ready to spend a long time in line. We bought our tickets around 8:45 and didn’t leave until a good bit after 11. Neither of the haunts take more than about fifteen minutes. But they are totally worth the money and the wait.
 I’m not going to say anything about “?”. To reveal even a little tidbit about it would be to say too much. It is awesome and innovative and I predict that other haunts will be attempting to mimic it for decades to come. You must experience it this year. And don’t try to find anything out. Just do it. I doubt I’ll ever see anything so innovative again in the world of haunts. 
Return of the Curse of the Undead” continues last year’s story of a strange cult occupying the woods behind the compound (and much of the interior). Upon entering you are greeted by a fella named Toby and a psychic who bears a striking resemblance to a certain young lady from earlier in the narrative. This pair lays down the basic story of what happened in last year’s “Curse of the Undead” and Toby says he’s leading tour groups through the woods to look for ghosts and other paranormal occurrences. These two were a hoot and a holler; Toby in particular. The characters you meet in the haunts provide a large portion of the fun of AZA. You like Toby – useless as he is – and you like psychic girl, so it works to the benefit of the narrative when they do things or when things happen to them.

This time around the haunt starts in the woods.

Pro Tip: You will be running a lot at Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes and be ready for action.

Pretty much as soon as you are immersed in the trees, shit goes bad. Even though “Return of the Curse of the Undead” is a bit more of a standard storyline and isn’t a carefully guarded secret like “?”; I don’t want to give too much away. There’s a lot of fun to be had and plenty of ghastly surprises. The final scene features a satisfying conclusion and a couple of great monsters. 
I know I didn’t go into a whole lot of detail, but I think it’s best if you just go to Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse knowing one thing – it’s an experience unlike any other. No other haunt is so immersive. No other Halloween attraction features the narrative qualities and cinematic structure of AZA. That’s not to say that other haunts aren’t fun and don’t have something to offer, but this one is a singular experience. I would not consider my Halloween season complete without a visit.
Phantom Troublemaker vs. 31 Days of Halloween
I’m changing the format a bit this year in order to more accurately portray SyFy’s schedule and also to preserve my sanity. I had the genius idea to cut and paste the schedule directly from SyFy’s page rather than typing it out in my own format. This has saved me an awful lot of time and also means that individual episodes are listed rather than blocks of programming like previous years. So what I’m going to do is provide commentary where I feel it is needed rather than posting next to every single entry. Don’t worry – you’re getting the same amount of hilarious, then kind of funny, then labored, then thoroughly disenchanted Phantom content. Just in a different way.
Like last year, I am covering the programming from the time this posts until the time of the next post. That means that on Fridays you are going to be treated to a shit-ton of this stuff.
Let’s do it!
Oct 21 11:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Chain Letter
This is a decent movie with a silly premise. Or maybe it’s a silly movie with a decent premise. I’m not even sure. I do know that the opening scene is a lot of fun of the “They’re not really going to do that, are they?” variety.
Oct 21 01:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie The Collector
We saw the sequel – The Collection – before we watched this one. Both are excellent movies that any horror fan needs to see. They have a very Japanese feel but are purely Western creations. Don’t go looking up synopses. Just watch them. Not only are they great flicks, they’re total owners and can be bought for cheap. Do it.
Oct 21 03:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings
Oct 21 05:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines
Speaking of cheap, both of these chapters of the series about backwoods, inbred horror appear to have been made for about a hundred and fifty bucks. Not each – both of them. I love the first three movies, but these two – which I believe were filmed at the same time – are awful. The makeups look terrible and the stories are incoherent.
Oct 21 07:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
I forgot to mention it any of the many other times that SyFy has shown this movie this year, but you should check out Mark Patton’s Jesse's Lost Journals for some pretty interesting works that are meant to be companions to the movie.
Oct 21 09:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Fright Night (2011)
Oct 21 11:30 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days
Oct 22 01:30 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Toolbox Murders
Pretty good flick, pretty much on par with Tobe Hooper’s latter-day works (take that as you will). I haven’t watched the original, so I can’t comment on how well done or necessary this remake is.
Oct 22 03:30 AM Scare Tactics Genie In A Beer Bottle
Time for more Tracy!
Oct 22 04:00 AM Paid Programming
Oct 22 06:00 AM Paid Programming
Oct 22 08:00 AM Scare Tactics The Screaming Room
Can I find a video of Tracy Morgan screaming?
Sort of.
Oct 22 08:30 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Toolbox Murders
Oct 22 10:30 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Primal
- Phantom

Friday, October 18, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Best Cartoon Ever (of the Month) – Dungeons and Dragons by Kalan

Oh how I long for the days of yore (ahem, the 1980s) when carnivals were carnivals and more importantly cartoons were cartoons! Picture yourself strolling along, enjoying the sights and smells that are so nostalgically tied with a carnival, when all of a sudden you happen upon probably the most awesome ride you've ever seen in your entire life – a Dungeons and Dragons ride! How flawlessly the transition from turn-based role playing game to carnival ride has been made! Your friends (yes, in this bizarre world you have them) have already begun sprinting towards the entrance! All seems well until, wait! What could possibly go wrong?!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Resident Evil Movies - Enough Already by Beth V

Note: The views expressed in this work do not necessarily reflect those of Phantom Troublemaker, Needless Things, or its parent company Needless Troublemaker, Inc. We love the Resident Evil franchise, Paul WS Anderson, Milla Jovovich, and Michelle Rodriguez.
Especially Michelle Rodriguez.
I love Resident Evil. The games, the half-assed anime, and even the movies. Since my first (if somewhat late) exposure to the T-Virus I've been infected with zombie fever. And seemingly the only cure was more zombies.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: 13 Questions With Jason Flowers

Jason Flowers was the first artist we ever approached about doing a Phantom Troublemaker sketch. Mrs. Troublemaker knew him from her work in the comic shop and I knew of him because I had seen his booth at several cons and his subject matter was always awesome. Killer Clowns from Outer Space, Pumpkinhead, Gremlins, Ninja Turtles, Gillman – all kinds of monster and cult awesomeness. And Flowers’ style was so specific and eye-catching that his work always jumped out of the booth and drew me in.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

31 Days of Halloween – Happy Anniversary

This isn’t particularly Halloweeny and likely won’t even meet my self-imposed 1,000 word minimum, but it doesn’t matter because today is the most important day of the year – me and Mrs. Troublemaker’s wedding anniversary.
I’ve told this story before and I will almost certainly tell it again, so hang in there.
I first met Mrs. Troublemaker many, many years ago at the comic shop. Not where it is now, but where it used to be. I was the manager of the Video Game Exchange in the same strip mall. It was 1995 and I was nineteen years old. I had been on one of my comics hiatuses before I got transferred to that store, but since there was a comic shop a few doors down I started buying again.
I’d go in and talk to the manager, who was slightly overbearing but incredibly nice.
Every once in a while there would be this beautiful girl sitting behind the counter, reading comics. I never spoke to her because I had certain esteem issues that I have mostly resolved now, but I was absolutely enchanted. I only worked in that Video Game Exchange for a few months before they moved me to a bigger store. There was another comic shop near the new store, so I started going there.
But I never forgot that girl’s face.
Almost a decade later I was looking to rebuild a comic collection that had been whittled away by car repairs and various other things that had necessitated money in a hurry. I was managing a GameStop at the time and there was a comic shop down the road. I went in and couldn’t believe who was there – it was her. There was no mistaking it, because she was still sitting behind the counter reading comics.
I told her I was looking for fun superhero comics. I was sick of all the angst and “grittiness” that seemed to be dominating the Big Two’s books. She said her favorite book at the time was Fables. This was spectacularly unhelpful considering I wanted superhero books, but I didn’t care and bought the first two trades. Because that’s what dudes do. I finished those (they were very good) and returned the next week to buy more. Not really because I wanted to read more Fables. They didn’t have the third trade in stock, so I bought something else.
Side Note: I hate to put a Side Note in here, but I have to mention that the shop being out of that trade set the standard for years to come. To this day they never have specific volumes of things that I need. I have the first and third volume of Mark Waid’s Daredevil but not the second. This happens all the time.
I started a pull list there and made a point of going in every Thursday to get my books (because back then I had a great schedule and could do things like that). Not because that was the only day I could go, but because I knew the store would be dead and I could hang around and talk to her for a couple of hours.
That continued on for a while until I finally decided I wanted to spend some real time with her. Like, not in a comic shop. So I hopped in the car after work and went to the comic shop, running through ways to ask her out as I drove.
No matter how much self confidence I develop, no matter how many things I accomplish, no matter how many Phantomaniacs I ever meet, there is one thing that simply won’t ever change about me – I have zero game. I do not know how to talk to the ladies. Obviously it doesn’t matter now because I won, but it mattered (to me) back then. So I put an awful lot of thought into how I was going to ask her out. I think I even asked people for advice. But when I got to the doors of the comic shop I felt good. I knew what I was going to say. I was also ready for rejection. Whatever happens, as long as I could get my opener in I would be good to go.
When I walked in, she was up on the ladder putting some Silver Sage stuff back on the high-dollar racks. I appreciated this because she has a sweet can and this particular activity afforded me a spectacular view. She was on the phone, so I looked at the new release wall without really seeing anything because I was nervous and excited. I was totally going to do this.
As she finished up, I couldn’t help but over hear her conversation on the phone:
I am so fucking sick of guys coming in here and asking to see the Silver Age stuff just so they can look at my ass… No – these assholes were just in here and of course didn’t buy anything. They weren’t even subtle about it…. Yeah, all day long these jerks just coming in here and hitting on me. I’m just sick of it.”
That I had not been prepared for.
I bought my stuff and left.
I think it took me a few weeks to build back up to finally asking her out.
Obviously things went well.
Around a year later we went to Walt Disney World together. When we got to the top of the Starship Earth ride – where you’re under the gigantic night sky that is so much clearer than any real night sky – I pulled a diamond ring out of my pocket and proposed.
We got married on October 15th, 2005 and it is still the very best day of my life, results-wise. Marrying her is the best thing I have ever done. Every day since then my life has been better. She gives me strength to be who I am now. She is the reason for every wonderful thing in my life, from our son to my work with ESO to MCW to everything that makes life not just worth living but awesome. I know that as long as she is by my side, there is nothing else in this whole universe that matters. It’s all small stuff compared to the fact that this amazing girl loves me.

Monday, October 14, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Eerie Comic Book Review – Afterlife With Archie #1

I’m writing this introduction before I have even opened Afterlife With Archie. I want to be sure and get across just how much I have no idea what to expect. 
I mean, I know all about Archie – who doesn’t? I know Betty (the nice girl) and Veronica (the rich bitch) fight over Archie. Jughead’s his best pal. Reggie is a rich snob. Moose is the overgrown jock (though I can’t remember if he and Archie are friendly). I think the principal is Mr. Weatherby and there’s an old lady teacher. I know the basics.

Friday, October 11, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Stop Showing Me the Boogeyman by Beth V

If you've read anything else I've written you'll know by now that I love horror movies. If you haven't read anything else I've written then get yourself into Phantom's archives, and get back to me. We all on the same page now? Good.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

31 Days of Halloween - Creepy Toy Review Masters of the Universe Classics: Filmation Batros from Mattel

What better way to celebrate the impending holiday than by doing a review of a guy dressed up as a bat?
No, no – not Batman. Batros.
You know – Batros? From that one episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe? He was the guy that was dressed up like a bat because… uh… because some writer thought, “Heck, we haven’t done a bat guy”. And who better to steal some books than a bat guy?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Spooky Album Review - CALABRESE – Born With A Scorpion’s Touch

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Calabrese. They have been putting out consistently great horror rock for (?) years now and became one of my favorite bands almost as soon as I first heard them. I’ve preordered the last two albums they put out and this new one was no different. I want their new stuff as soon as possible, but I am still stuck in the mindset where I need to hold the album in my hands. I’d rather wait a week for the disc than download something the day it comes out.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: 13 Questions With Michael R. Carr of Quiver

I first got to talking to Michael Carr of CZKWorld a few years ago. He was one of the few folks that actually commented on Needless Things. We got to talking about GI Joe – because pretty much anybody in my general age range can talk about GI Joe – and horror and other stuff. We’ve followed each other’s blogs since then and chatted from time to time.
Then he sends me a message a couple of months ago about this comic book he’s writing – Quiver. It sounded like an interesting take on a Hell On Earth/Post-Apocalyptic kind of thing. Then I saw the awesome and somewhat familiar-looking artwork attached and I realized the immensely talented Jason Flowers was attached to this project. I was already interested, but seeing that the Bloody Olde Englund artist was involved was the clincher.
As it turns out, the timing worked out perfectly for me to feature both Carr and Flowers during 31 Days of Halloween. Michael is the subject of today’s post and we’ll be hearing from Jason next week. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

31 Days of Halloween - Phantom Troublemaker Behind the Scenes of MCW at Fright Fest

When I first heard several months ago that Monstrosity Championship Wrestling was going to be running shows at Six Flags Over Georgia’s annual Halloween celebration I experienced many emotions simultaneously – excitement, disappointment, surprise, reservation. I had no idea what to think initially, I just knew I wanted to make the absolute most of the opportunity.

Friday, October 4, 2013

31 Days of Halloween - The Walking Dead: Companion Shows and Video Games by Beth V

When I read the news announcing a companion series for The Walking Dead my very first thought was “isn't that what Talking Dead is for?”. Upon actually reading the article I was left with more of a “huh...okay I guess” feeling. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't that excited about it. So I started writing this to see if I could understand why I was indifferent to something about one of my favorite shows.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Creepy Toy Review Albino Predator (SDCC Exclusive) By NECA

I’ve been saving this review because not only is this guy a scary monster, he also basically looks like a Halloween variant of a Predator. Like Target does with Batman figures and stuff, except really nice.
This Predator is another one from the excellent fan film Batman: Dead End. I still can’t get over the fact that NECA is producing characters from a fucking fan film. And that 20th Century FOX is letting them. The mind boggles, especially considering all of the hilarious restraints other toy lines operate under. I’m not going to name any names because this is 31 Days of Halloween and we’re all here to have fun, right?