By Cait Brennan
Ever since the creeping dawn of that undead-zombification machine known as television, monster movies and horror hosts have been joined at the hip, like a mad scientist and his freakishly deformed sidekick, like Jan and her pan, like Rosie Grier and Ray Milland’s racist head. From Vampira and Ghoulardi to Dr. San Guinary and Morgus the Magnificent, horror hosts were an indelible part of pop culture in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.
But nowhere is there a horror host whose career—and life—has lasted as long as John Zacherle. The rockingest of horror icons, Zach got his start as Roland (pronounced “Roland“) on Philadelphia’s WCAU before pulling up stakes to New York and becoming “Zacherley” (same ghoul, different name). Now 94, the eternal Cool Ghoul is almost certainly the last survivor of the golden age of horror hosts, and he still looks as good . . . he still looks as . . . he still looks like Zacherle, and he’s still out there making convention appearances and delighting generations of horror fans.
In a world where The Walking Dead is one of the most successful TV programs on the air, where politics shambles on brainlessly, and it seems that the end times are nigh, why wouldn’t you want to dress like it’s Halloween? If you live for the absurd and obscene, there is at last a lifestyle book for you and your peers. This black-hearted parody of the best-selling Queer Eye for the Straight Guy tie-in books brings an undead perspective to the perennial challenge of living well, looking good—or, in this case, horrible&mdash’and being exactly the decaying, mindless flesh eater you’ve always wanted to be.
For those who have read the Queer Eye book, the parody is dead-on and hilarious. With sections titled such things as “Inner Preparations,” “Should I Eat Human Brains?” and “Social Skills,” every aspect of the gruesome, yet satisfying world of being a walking abomination is addressed with wit, variety, and a very silly thoroughness. Yet this is not just a point-by-point parody; Zombie Eye also contains quite a few pointers to enrich and enliven (so to speak) any good zombie costume for those still breathing.
By Emily Carney
Black cats are frequently maligned for their perceived status as being “bad luck” to people. Each year during this time, I come across many Halloween scenes in party stores depicting these feline creatures in graveyards, slinking around, bringing much fear to trick or treaters and leaving little turds filled with bad vibes strewn around neighborhood yards (not sure about the last part, but cats definitely are fans of frequent BMs). But enough of that . . . because it’s all conjecture. Here’s why black cats are the most gorgeous, loving, wonderful cats to own.
New this week on Popshifter: I assemble my favorite reviews from Fantastic Fest 2012, reveal the full lineup for Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2012, and review two new worthwhile Blu-Ray releases: The Tall Man and Chained; Emily calls John Cale’s oddly-titled Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood “recommended listening;” Chelsea says the songs on Dark Dark Dark’s Who Needs Who are “catchy and insightful;” Michelle has conflicted thoughts on The Minus Times Collected; Ricky Lima poses questions to Artistic Director David Dacks about the upcoming X Avant New Music Festival; and Elizabeth brings us her latest installment on Linear TV.
Issue 024—Halloween Horrors IV: The Awakening—Interview with author Jemiah Jefferson; Rue Morgue‘s Festival of Fear 2011, including Lance Henriksen, Tom Savini, and My Bloody Valentine 30th anniversary cast & crew reunion; Features: The Music of Silent Hill, Batman: Arkham City–The Album, Bioshock, True Blood Soundtrack Volume 3, Batman: The Animated Series, TV Horror Hosts, Garth Marengi’s Darkplace, Apollo 18, Theatre Of Blood, Halloween Nation: Behind The Scenes of America’s Fright Night; Horror Films of the 1970s, Cujo, Horror In Radio, Are Vampires Still Vicious?
I’ve been a fan of horror for a while—though I wasn’t always willing to admit it—but only in the last five years have I gone into overdrive, perhaps trying to make up for lost time. I understand my motivations and thus, I have accepted my fandom fate, even though other people might think it makes me a bad feminist. Luckily, I have a patient, open-minded spouse and a few horror-loving friends who both tolerate and encourage my obsession.
By Lisa Anderson
With electronic books pulling ahead of paper books in popularity, self-publishing is getting easier and easier. One of the pioneers on this new frontier is Dark Horse comics editor and Popshifter contributor Jemiah Jefferson. Jemiah and I met up over IM to discuss her recently self-published novel, Mixtape for the Apocalypse, as well as her previous work.
Every August, Rue Morgue hosts its annual horror convention Festival Of Fear as part of FanExpo Canada (which also includes Gaming, Comics, Sci-Fi, and Anime). Every year, I await their list of guests and schedule of events. This year they presented a Near Dark screening with Lance Henriksen (read more here), a Q&A with Tom Savini (read more here), a 30th Anniversary cast and crew reunion for My Bloody Valentine (read more here), and much more, like events and panels with Malcolm McDowell, Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Elvira, and John Waters. There are literally too many things for one person to do. If ever there were a compelling reason to clone myself, it would be for Festival of Fear.
Every year as part of their Festival of Fear, Rue Morgue screens an iconic horror movie accompanied by a special guest. This year, we were treated to a screening of what may be the perfect vampire film, Near Dark, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, with Lance Henriksen (who plays Jesse Hooker) in attendance.
Near Dark is one of those movies that, forgive the cliché, truly improves with age, much like the vampires it portrays. It is even more relevant now than it was when it was originally released in 1987. Back then it was not exactly box office gold, although it has grown in both critical and cult status since.
Horror movie fans know the answer to the question: “Who is Tom Savini?” For the rest of you, here’s a quick summation: he’s one of the most well-known and highly respected special effects make-up artists in the movie industry. His filmography of effects work is impressive, including the original Dawn of the Dead, Maniac, Friday the 13th, Creepshow, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Trauma, and many others.