Tuesday, October 9, 2018

S1E3. A joke on the children: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

October is always a special time for Horror Enthusiasts and it is no different for this guy. I watch horror movies all year long, but once October hits the juices really start flowing. Something about the change in weather--the shorter, colder, drearier days--makes warming up to a good spooky flick all the more enjoyable. I had planned to talk about Dead & Buried for October, but left it up to listeners and Halloween III won out hands down. I had fun doing this one because heck, it's a fun movie and there's a lot to talk about. Listen to find out where I rank this among the Halloween franchise, what I think about Tom Atkins as a leading man, and some thoughts on filmmaker Tommy Lee Wallace. And if you count how many times I say "clunky" or one of its derivatives you can win some stickers! Post the number on any platform for your chance to win. Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to Wake Up Heavy!

Friday, September 14, 2018

S1E2. You're so pretty: Tourist Trap (1979)

It's time for a new, full episode of Wake Up Heavy. This time I tackle David Schmoeller's classic freakfest Tourist Trap. Starring pre-The Beastmaster Tanya Roberts and post-The Rifleman Chuck Connors. Do mannequins creep you out? Then you're in for a bumpy ride with this one!

Pseudo-slasher? A wax museum? Telekinesis? Nominal aphasia? An episode in under an hour? What exactly is going on here? One thing I know for sure, there is no nude scene in this movie.

Use your voice and place a vote for next month's episode. Help me choose between Dead & Buried or Halloween III: Season of the Witch. You can leave a comment here, or on Facebook, SoundCloud or iTunes, or use the Suggestion Box in the sidebar.

Monday, September 3, 2018

MIniSode #2: Favorite Modern Horror

In which Mark, your Horror Host, rattles off another list of movies that are good and that you should watch. If your mom will let you! This time though it's the newer stuff, and it's the shortest episode yet. 😀

There's also some techie talk, pleas for donations, suggestions, ratings, and comments, and a coughing attack. What more could you ask for in a Horror Movie Podcast?! Nothing, that's what!

Also: A story about a comic book I read over 35 years ago. And coming soon, another full episode by the middle of September on Tourist Trap. Holy poop, the year is three-fourths over already!

Stickers are here! Hit the link to get yours now and help fund WUH.

(Garage Cast™ by Mark Begley)

Something Different: The Pull of Nostalgia, Ghosts (1976)

Like so many people my age, I often feel the strong pull of nostalgia for the "simpler" times of my youth. However, I also love the modern world. Have I mentioned how much I love being able to stream hundreds upon hundreds of movies at the push of a button? Well, I do! Nostalgia for me is mostly tied to things; toys I once had (or didn't, but really wanted), comic books, and of course, movies. This little tale is about one particular comic that has buzzed around the back of my brain for at least 35 years, and how nostalgia and modern technology can work together.

We used to take an annual summer trip to Portland, OR to visit my mother's family who all lived/live up there. It's a bit of a drive, about 750 miles, and when my sister and I were young, the trip would get broken up over a couple days. Sometimes we would stay in Stockton with my dad's brother's family, and other times we would stay overnight at a motel further north in California.

On this particular trip (I honestly have no recollection of how old I was, but I'm guessing younger than 12) I had brought along some comics to read. Or they were possibly purchased in the town where we had stopped for the night. Either way, this story is about one horror comic that I recall reading in the car and motel room on that trip. Horror comics were not my thing at the time--I stuck mainly to Marvel Super-Heroes--maybe that's why it left such an impression on me. Here's where my memory has surely conflated things, but from what I recall one story was about someone getting buried alive, or possibly grave-robbing, and one was about a vampire. A single image from the vampire story is the ONE thing that really stuck with me for all these years: the vampire was lying in a coffin, extremely withered, with a large, wooden stake in his heart. And he wore a blue suit, which I think stood out since I was used to vampires being dressed in black.

As people are wont to do when they "grow up" I got rid of all my comics and most of my toys at some point (or more accurately my MOM did!) and didn't think too much about them until, well, I did. When I did think about this comic from time to time, I never really sought it out. I mean, where does one even start, especially pre-internet? But last year I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to go all Three Investigators* on this thing. I quickly realized that searching for: A Horror Comic Most Likely By Marvel From The Mid To Late Seventies wasn't going to cut it. For one thing, I really had NO idea whether the comic was actually a Marvel title, whether I bought it on the trip, or if it was a hand-me-down from one of my neighbors who had grown out of comics (which meant it could have been from EARLIER in the decade). After some investigating I realized just how many horror titles there were in the Seventies! I hit a couple message boards with the memories I had but to no avail. I thought I had it nailed down to an issue of The Tomb of Darkness: a Marvel title, with a vampire on the cover and story descriptions that closely matched what I remembered, but I never did buy a copy. I just wasn't convinced this was the right book.

That brings us to this past July when I started mulling over the branding of Wake Up Heavy. I was originally looking at sci-fi and horror books for inspiration, then moved to horror comics. During these searches that one old comic from that long ago trip to Portland crept back into my grey matter. I thought, "Well, maybe I'll stumble on a cover image that will light a spark in the ol' noodle factory." Really though, it just made me realize again HOW MANY HORROR TITLES THERE WERE. Eeerie, Creepy, The House of Secrets, Unexpected, The House of Mystery, Dead of Night, Beware, The Witching Hour, Vault of Evil, Vault of Horror, The Tomb of Darkness, The Tomb of Dracula, Chamber of Chills, etc., ad infinitum. I searched the cover galleries of most of those titles, and more, with no luck.

Last week I was scrolling through my Instagram feed on my phone and I saw an interesting image of a little custom made toy of a skeleton with a cape. Now my feed is full of toy images because it's something I collect, but it was the card-back that struck my noggin. It was of issue #50 of the DC horror title Ghosts (not a title I had searched for before) and it looked vaguely familiar. My recollector was in high gear when I clicked on the image and swiped to see the second picture.

(Courtesy @retrogimmicktoys)

(Courtesy @retrogimmicktoys)

And then my brain lost it, I HAD THIS COMIC! I wasn't sure it was the comic, because, although I recognized the panels, I didn't remember this being one of the stories from that comic. Still, I knew I had this comic, so maybe the one I was looking for was a different issue of Ghosts? I had a lead! I searched through the comic book database again, but nothing was striking a chord. I thought I'd go back to Instagram and peruse some posts there. With the hashtag #dcghosts and fingers crossed I hit SEARCH. And there it was, about three posts in, panels from that comic!!

(Credit to @rm_renfield, although this is my scan.)

But there was no issue number listed! I commented, "Can I ask you what issue this is? I think this is one I’ve been searching for since I was a kid!" The answer back: Issue #50! The same one!

I hit my local comic shop, and although they had a few issues of Ghosts, they didn't have #50. eBay was next, where I found a nicely priced copy. So here we are, 35 or more years later and I have a second copy now in hand. What a strange time in which we live!

The story I remembered was, "Most Fearful Villain of the Supernatural." And here are the images that had burned themselves into my brain:

Reading through the comic I was struck by just how many images hit my memory receptors in this story and in, "Home is Where the Grave Is." I was wrong about the buried alive/grave robbing story, although there is mention of grave robbing in the vampire tale. Maybe that was it, or maybe that's actually in the issue of The Tomb of Darkness I posted above?? Or maybe something totally different. I don't really want to try and track down another 40 year-old comic! A little trivia, the vampire story is supposedly a true-tale about Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula.

Big thanks go out to Instagram members @rm_renfield, for posting the panels of the vampire from that issue, and @retrogimmicktoys, who created the Ghosts Skeleton figure that helped me track down this comic.

*That's a whole other story. I loved that series of books!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

MiniSode #1: Favorite Horror Sub-Genres

I like lists! In this mini-sode I list my favorite horror sub-genres, and I list examples of each. It's List-o-mania! I mention the book House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films by Kier-La Janisse. The description from Amazon relates to my self-created sub-genre, "Hysterical Women."
Cinema is full of neurotic personalities, but few things are more transfixing than a woman losing her mind onscreen. Horror as a genre provides the most welcoming platform for these histrionics: crippling paranoia, desperate loneliness, masochistic death-wishes, dangerous obsessiveness, apocalyptic hysteria. Unlike her male counterpart - 'the eccentric' - the female neurotic lives a shamed existence, making these films those rare places where her destructive emotions get to play...
I think I should read this book! And credit where credit is due, thanks to the Faculty of Horror for mentioning the book in one of their early episodes.

A couple other movies that were left out that I would like to mention here are Alice, Sweet Alice for the, "Killer Kids," sub-genre, and The Nesting for, "Hysterical Women." I'm sure I will have to do another list at some point to catch all the ones I will think of later!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

S1E1. Warning shots are bullshit: Phantasm (1979)

Welcome to the first official episode of Wake Up Heavy! This is Mark, your Horror Host, with one of my all-time favorite movies, Don Coscarelli's Phantasm. Give a listen and find out what it is that makes this gem from 1979 so darn special and why it has stuck with me for over 35 years!

Happy listening! --Mark

(Please see the About Spoilers page for general spoiler info.)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Do horror movies still scare you??

Hello and welcome to Wake Up Heavy: Recollections of Horror. My name is Mark and I will be your Horror Host! Please join me as I muse about treasured memories of watching strangely curious horror films from my past that I still love to this day.

In this introductory episode my daughter helps me tackle some questions about the podcast and offer some insight into why horror movies intrigued me when I was young and why I still love them now.

Please scroll down for important links mentioned in the podcast. Thanks! --Mark

And enjoy this creepfest, one of the scariest things a 9-year-old could possibly see!