Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Doctor Zombie! Thought I'd do something different; so here's a special message from me - everybody's favorite, creepy, undead evil genius - as well as a little video montage of the thirty days of Halloween t-shirts!

The best day of the year is here and the sad part is we've got to wait another 365 days for Halloween to roll around again. Fortunately, you have Doctor Zombie's Midnight Theater of Terror - where EVERY DAY IS HALLOWEEN!!

Now excuse me while I go make myself sick on candy corn, Great Lakes Nosferatu, and pumpkin seeds!

video

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 30

We had our annual Halloween Party at Castle Crowley last night. It was a wild success.

I loved my costume so much that I'll be wearing it today AND tomorrow.

"You've got red on you!"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 29

Eric Pigors recently re-released this shirt and I had to get one for myself. I LOVE this shirt. The art is sexy, cool, and very Halloween-y.

Seriously, the Pumpkin Witch is probably one of my top five Pigors illustrations, and I couldn't order this one fast enough when he reissued it.

I'm going to ask Mrs. Zombie to dress up like this on Halloween night. Trick or Treat for Doctor Zombie! Grrrrr......



You too can own your own kick ass Eric Pigors T-Shirt by visiting his site - www.ToxicToon.com

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 28

More creeepiness from Unkle Creepy, hisself - Eric Pigors!

I love this shirt. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to wear it to family functions, church, the supermarket, or any place where I might be seen with Mrs. Zombie. Apparently, she finds it offensive and refuses to let me wear it around her. She says much the same thing about my Utilikilt and my Vibram Fivefingers. She said something along the lines of, "You're an attention whore who likes to stand out and look weird -- and I won't have the other PTA moms looking at me with those sad, sympathetic eyes that say, 'Look at what she married! Poor thing!'. Why can't you be more normal and not so fucking creepy and weird!?!"

Or something like that.

Anyway. I especially love this shirt because it resonates with me because of my illness. It's Frankenstein (the first zombie), he's got no nipples like Doctor Z. (just x's) and I can't help but think of what my friends Michelle and Stephen Wilson said when I first got sick. They said, "Fuck Cancer!" and that's the vibe I get from this shirt.

I will someday write a sappy, self-helpy nonfiction book about my battle with cancer and I'm going to ask Eric if I can use this for the cover.




You too can own your own kick ass Eric Pigors T-Shirt by visiting his site - www.ToxicToon.com

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 27

Time to pull out my awesome Eric Pigors t-shirts! No artist out there captures Halloween and all of its awesomeness better than Eric Pigors does. I have several of his t-shirts and will, someday soon, have an entire half sleeve tattoo based on his artwork.

There's something about Eric's art that is such a cool retro mix of Rat Fink and
1970's horror and modern Goth. It is a perfect, twisted view of everything I love about horror and Halloween.

There's actually a picture of me wearing this particular Pigors t-shirt on his website under his fan page. Full dicslosure, that actual picture was taken on St. Patty's day at my brother Richie's, and I was pretty lit up. I was, in point of fact, skonched. I think that may have been after several Guinnesses (Guinnessi?) and at least two or three Irish Car Bombs, which just goes to show that Doctor Z. always has Halloween, busty vampire chicks, Frankensteinian monsters, and horror on his mind YEAR ROUND.

That's just how Doctor Zombie rolls, bitches!



You too can own your own kick ass Eric Pigors T-Shirt by visiting his site - www.ToxicToon.com

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 26

You may recognize Lestat as a main character on the Anne Rice vampire books, or as Tom Cruise in the horrible movie, Interview With The Vampire.

As far as female writers from New Orleans go, I'm actually a bigger fan of Poppy Z. Brite than Anne Rice, but I digress.

For most Clevelanders, Lestat is one of the best local Goth bands ever. As it pertains to the horror theme, their band name is vampirey and their sound actually makes them cooler than their namesake.

Their working on a new album after several years off, and I've actually met their lead singer Evan recently (you can read about their reunion show a month or so ago by clicking here) Anyway, they remain one of Doctor Z's favorite bands and I'm proudly wearing their tour shirt from their 1994 release - Vision of Sorrows.

Yeah Lestat! Old school Goth music, especially at Halloween, makes Doctor Z. feel good!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 25


Chilly again - which means some Jack Skellington long sleeve t-shirt goodness. This is the last Nightmare Before Christmas one, I swear!

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 24

I'm a sucker for pop culture. And this isn't really horror-themed, but I wanted to show it off so you could all be jealous.

As a saving grace, and to shoehorn it in thematically, I did seriously think about going as this for Halloween, so I'm adding it to the 31 Days of Horror T-Shirts.

I just couldn't figure out where to get some cobras and/or honey bees!



Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 23

Zombies are horror, right? Zombies are Halloween, right?

OK, OK... so this isn't necessraily that kind of zombie... but I really think that Rob Zombie gets it. I've loved his special brand of horror rock since the early days of White Zombie. Despite his recent movie mis-steps (that's right Halloween II, I'm looking at you, you piece of shit!), I still think he's our kind of people.

He gets horror. He loves horror. He fucking rocks. And that makes him worthy of inclusion in the Doctor Zombie 31 Days of Horror T-Shirts Retrospective.

As an aside, I'm subscribed to his Facebook page and he's been updating regularly on the current filming of his latest horror movie - The Lords of Salem. I'm holding judgement on it until I see it, and I'm sure it'll heavily feature Sherri Zombie (groan!), but I still love House of a 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. That alone gives him some leeway in my book. We'll have to see.

Does anybody else wish he could find someone to finance and let him make Werewolf Women of the SS?!?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 22

It's everybody's favorite towheaded fiend, Herbert West! And it's also one of my favorite 80's horror films of all time!

Brian Yuzna's adaptation of Lovecraft's serial novel about ghoulish scientists who reanimate the dead remains one of the best film attempts to date.

It was gory, over the top, and incredibly perverse... to this day, I can't see Jeffrey Combs in ANYTHING without thinking of this movie.

I'm of course talking about The Reanimator!

BTW - the small print on the bottom is a caption from the original movie poster. It says, "Herbert West has a good head on his shoulders... and another one on his desk!"

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 21

Of course Dr. Z's horror t-shirt collection's going to have samplings from the sacred trinity of slasher flicks.

I'm of course talking about Carpenter's Halloween, Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th.

This shirt of course is for the latter on that list and memorializes everyone's favorite hockey mask wearing fiend, Jason.

Truthfully - when compared to the other two - I find Friday the 13th to be the inferior series. Michael Meyers established the genre and - until the last couple movies - stayed true to his origins. Nightmare on Elm Street took on an intensity and fantastical tact that, to this day, I think is unrivaled. I remember the first time I saw it (with a girl I was dating at the time) and getting chills at how incredible Freddy was. The melding of dreams and horror was perfection. The sequels, while making Freddy a wisecracking, shell of Craven's original monster - still had impact.

I can't say the same about Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th very quickly degenerated into absurdity and never redeemed itself. Which is a shame because the original was really good. It took the idea of teens (having sex!) in peril (while having sex!) and killing them (while having sex!) to new levels. It had the gore that Halloween didn't have or need, and introduced some of the tropes that became de rigeur in every slasher film after that. The thing is, Friday the 13th (the first one) wasn't even about Jason Voorhees. The killer was his mother and Jason was dead... or at least we thought so right up until the final frames.

That said, one's got to give props to old Jason. He's not - in my opinion - as scary, but he does kick ass. I did root for Freddy in Freddy Vs. Jason, though. How could I not?!?

When all's said and done, Jason's horror royalty. No proper horror collection would be complete without him!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 20

So... a couple weeks ago I wrote a review of one of my favorite bands new albums. It's especially appropriate now considering it's Halloween time.

You see, Midnight Syndicate does instrumental, dark, moody instrumental music... and I've been a fan for years.

Well, I was contacted shortly after I wrote my review (click here to read the review!) by Edward Douglas from Midnight Syndicate. He loved the review and asked to quote it for promotion. I heartily agreed.

But it gets better than that!

I'm pleased to announce that they've been kind enough to put me on their website under their "Legions of the Night" section, as well as putting a quote and a link to my story under the reviews for Carnival Arcane. Fabulous!

Please make sure you go to their site and show them some love.

I'm honored to be on their site.

And, if you haven't listened to Midnight Syndicate yet, what the fuck are you waiting for?!?

Anyway - on to today's shirt.

In honor of Midnight Syndicate and their incredibly awesome album, Carnival Arcane... I present this - one of my favorite horror, dark circus themed t-shirts!

Can't sleep, clowns will eat me....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 19

More Jack Skellington and Sally goodness!

Tim Burton is so awesome on so many levels, and I think that Nightmare Before Christmas could be considered in his top five, or maybe even top 3. I love Nightmare Before Christmas and think it's brilliant!



While I was taking pictures, WolfGirl decided she wanted to get in on the 31 Days of Horror T-Shirts action. To that end, she too wore a Nightmare Before Christmas tee... as well as her favorite stuffed animal.

She's a chip off the old block! She's the sort of young lycanthrope any evil mad genius would be proud of! That's her - my horror loving little werewolf!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 18

... and now for a very special episode of Doctor Zombie's Midnight Theater of Terror.

OK - This isn't a horror shirt. It's not about a horror movie, or literature, or even spooky music. It's not even about October or Halloween.

It's about the other thing that October is.

October is also Breast Cancer Awareness month. Because it is, I need to take a step away from my ridiculous preoccupation with fake scary stuff, and talk about some real life scary stuff.

Doctor Z's going to talk about boobs.

Shit's about to get real.

You see, if you've recently started reading... or haven't gotten around to checking my other links... you may not know this.

Doctor Zombie is a breast cancer survivor.

You're probably saying, "Wait a minte, Dr. Z?!? What the fuck? You're a dude! That is, I think you're a dude. I mean, you've got a goatee, and you LOOK like a dude. I mean... what the fuck, Dr. Z?"

Let me put your mind at rest. Doctor Zombie is indeed a dude. I, however, no longer have any nipples and, instead have some awesome Frankenstein-like scars where they cut the cancer out of me. (I'll let the horror of that image - the nauseating image of a shirtless Doctor Z. - sink in. Gross, right?)

Here's the truth of the matter. Dudes can get breast cancer too. Male moob cancer is rare and the overall ratio of female to male breast cancer is 100 to 1; which means about 2,140 men are expected to be diagnosed in 2011, and about 450 will die.

The fatality rate in men is significantly higher because:
• Dudes may ignore the warning signs that tell them something is wrong.
• Dudes may not tell their doctor about what they are feeling because they are embarrassed or worried.
• Dudes may wait too long to get help.

Common symptoms of male breast cancer:
• A lump in the chest area
• Skin dimpling or puckering
• Nipple changes

Men don’t think of themselves as even having breasts. For men, it’s their chest or their “pecs.” So it comes as a surprise to most men to find out that they are at risk of breast cancer. Most men don’t know they can get moob cancer.

The key to beating breast cancer - in men AND women - is finding it early and getting treated right away.

Talk to your doctor right away if you have any of these warning signs:
• You feel a lump, a hard knot or swelling in your chest area.
• The skin on your chest dimples or puckers.
• Your nipple pulls in toward your chest wall.
• You see any redness or scaling on your nipple.
• There is a discharge coming from your nipple.

Don’t wait.



Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 17


SQUEE!!

While I was in Evans City on Saturday - our mailman Dave dropped off a package on the front porch.

Within was a thing of beauty! I opened the package and out shambled something unimaginable and hideous! Something that filled me with vertiginous fear, a growing insidiousness, and an exceeding strangeness. Terrifyingly, it held a new, horror-themed t-shirt!

I've already gone on and on about my love for Lovecraft... so you can imagine my delight.

Behold the awesomeness of my new HPL t-shirt!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

31 Days of Horror T-Shirts - Day 16

Laid back day today, so I can wear one of my rattier, more threadbare shirts.

I still love this shirt though.

I bought it back in college - in the old gaming shop on W. Wooster in Bowling Green - when I was at the height of my roleplaying, card-playing, comic book reading geekery. I loved Vampire The Masquerade and Jyhad: The CCG and loved the look of this shirt. I loved the art, and loved that it was a member of the Brujah clan. I was playing Brujah all the time.

Then, it became a favorite go-to t-shirt for Goth clubbing after college.

It's much worse for the wear, it's old, it's frayed -- but I still love it.

The least I can do is wear it in honor of Halloween, while I drink some Great Lakes Nosferatu beer and watch my beloved Cleveland Browns play.

Ahhh, geeky memories...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Visit to the Evans City Cemetery!

"They're coming to get you, Barbara!"

With those words, spoken in a passably good Boris Karloff impersonation by Russell Striener, movie history was changed forever. I set out to discover that history.

I gassed up my Jeep (The U.S.S. Nostromo) last night and made the decision to brave the impending storms, rain, and 50 MPH winds to make a long overdue pilgrimage to the Evans City Cemetery. Yes, verily did Doctor Zombie bravely enter Zombieland, a land of Steelers fans and - it's been rumored - cannibals. (Seriously. I hear Steelers fans eat their own young. Gruesome indeed!)

Anyway, I drove halfway to Evans City yesterday evening and spent the night at my family's hunting camp on the Ohio/Pennsylvania border.

I woke early, having slept unwell because of the rain and winds, and was on the road by 7:30. By 8:45 - I was in Evans City. Today was a great day to make the pilgrimage to what could - arguably - be one of the holiest meccas for a horror fan EVER. It was a perfect October day. Cool, stormy, and the wind blew and swirled the fallen autumn leaves like disembodied spirits. I couldn't have asked for a better day!

Evans City is - for those of you joing us late in our programming - where George A. Romero filmed his 1968 zombie masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead. I'm fortunate that I live so close to Pennsylvania and, if you'll remember, last summer I made the pilgrimage to Monroeville and the Monroeville Mall.

You can read about that adventure by clicking here!!!

At that time I vowed to return and visit the holy land of zombie films itself. Evans City. Romero's Night of the Living Dead changed the face of horror movies and also changed how we saw zombies. Rather than there being portrayed as the magically or chemically voodoo'ed victims of Haitian sorcerors - they became the ravenous, undead monsters we all know and love today.

And it all started here.

You can imagine my geekish joy as I drove southward out of the small town (where Romero also filmed his paranoid, government conspiracy film, The Crazies , a few years later. The Crazies was a good movie, but its recent remake is one of the rare exceptions to the rule in that the remake was exponentially better than the original)... and suddenly I was there.

That iconic road cutting up into the forest.

Here's a picture of it from the original movie...


And here's what it looks like today. Note the new sign just to the right of the Nostromo.


Here's a closer look at the new(ish) sign...


I made my way up the hill with anticipation and, as you round the curve at the top of the hill, you see two newer signs on the drive in. The first replaces this sign from the movie...


It now looks like this...


Further up the road is a nice new Evans City Cemetery marker that is really, really new.


Just past this sign, following the curve of the hill, I was suddenly there. Immediately as you enter the cemetery, you pass the famous chapel. I swung around and, based on these shots from the movie...



... used the Nostromo as a fill in for Johnny's groovy blue coupe!


Then it was a matter of finding the other graves. At first I was a bit anxious about it. The cemetery's actually quite big, especially seen from the chapel near the entrance. But then I realized that, based on where I was standing when I took the shot of the chapel, I was already there. All I needed to do was turn around because Romero filmed everything in the same area. Seriously - he literally turned his cameras around and shot the follow up scenes.

So I set up capturing the sights on film. First, I found the grave that stood in for Johnny and Barb's dearly departed old man.

Here's them approaching it in the movie...


...and here's Doctor Z doing the same! (In his snazzy Night of the Living Dead t-shirt! Bonus points for the 31 Days of Horror T-shirts!)


Here's a better shot of the grave. I should note that many of the trees in the original movie were blown down in a tornado several years ago, so there's very little of the shade that you see in the original film.


Here's one of Barb from the other side (as she walks away from Johnny when he delivers his famous line), and also how it looks now...



That last shot may look familiar. Although I moved the camera maybe three or four feet, that's also the same place where Bill Hintzman's Zombie # 1 makes his first appearance.


And, today... what a nice beautiful sunny sort of day in this nice cemetery...


Wow. It got awful dark. I just got a chill...


Wait... is that something moving up there?!?


Look's there's one of them now! They're coming to get you... Aahhhh! It's Doctor Zombie!


And of course, this is the point where the zombie attacks Johnny... and Barb cowers in fear...


Not as pretty, but just as scared...


This next part was, I thought, going to be difficult. I looked around for the grave that Johnny was killed on, but all of the graves looked so much alike I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find it. Luck struck out of the blue and I turned from the grave where Barb cowered above, to see the one the next row up. To refresh your memory. Johnny gets attacked, and he is pushed to the ground, striking his head on a gravestone and - presumably - dying.



My concern was that I couldn't read the name on the screen captures I had with me. At no point can you see the name on the tombstone... but then, as I said, I turned and saw the headstone. If you look above, there's a very distinct circle pattern in the marble on its side. That what I saw and I breathed a sigh of relief...I'd found it!



But then I had my skull bashed in by another passing zombe. How rude!


Here's some more shots of Johnny's car driving...



And my attempts at recreating them...



Some further comments on these. In the second one, with the power lines... this is in a newer part of the cemetery and there are tons of new tombstones that - obviously - weren't in the shots from 1968.

About the one with flag... how fucking cool is that?!? I managed to get a shot with a flag as well. Near as I can tell, that is a flag placed on the same grave for the same US Vet. I took a picture of the tombstone because I thought it was cool that he contributed to Night of the Living Dead, and could also help me in my geeky idiocy almost 45 years later. Plus - Doctor Z. loves graveyards and the stories they tell. And Staff Sgt Elmer McClelland must have had a great story.


And so, as I finished those last shots, I logged into my Kindle and geekily announced my whereabouts. And then, sadly, I bid adieu to the Evans City Cemetery.

I made two more quick stops on the way. First, I drove further south from the cemetery and - again by pure luck - found another shot that I'd hoped I could find. About 4 miles down the road is a distinctive curve from the intro..


How it looks today...


Then, as I turned around and headed back towards Evans City, I decided to stop at a convenience store because I required the sort of sustenance that every road-tripping zombie needs - human flesh. Unfortunatly, they had none, so I had to settle for some spicy beef jerky and a diet Coke Zero. The thing is, I walked in and immediately saw a big Night of the Living Dead poster by the Coke cooler. You see, the chapel in the cemetery is falling apart. Sadly, Evans City has decided the cheapest way to deal with it is to knock it down.

So, several of the people involved in the movie are working to save it for its historic value. I couldn 't agree with them more.

To that end, there's a charity event next weekend in Zelionople (which is about 5 miles away).

Being the geek I am, I asked the lady behind the counter of I could take a picture of it. She said abolutely and commented that it was funny how many fans of the movie visited the town because of the cemetery. She also laughed and said that George Romero himself visits the store quite often (I imagine it's to replenish his cigarettes. The man is a smoking fiend!). Apparently he lives nearby. Even funnier, she said she had no idea who he was until she saw a news story about the chapel a few weeks back.

I thanked her, bought my beef jerky and coke (and threw in a couple Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins. Mmmmm!) and ran and got my camera. I snapped a picture of the poster and seriously debated whether I should camp out in the parking lot of the convenience store to stalk down and meet the master himself, George Romero. Cooler heads prevailed and the logical part of my undead brain won the argument with the calmly constructed argument that Mrs. Zombie'd probably divorce me if I didn't get back home soon.


The funny thing is - in a strange twist of fate - I'd snapped a quick photo of the theater where the benefit's being held when I'd driven through Zelionople earlier in the day. I snapped it because I thought 'How goddamned cool! An old time theater playing classic horror movies in October.'

Pure coincidence!



So I left Evans City behind. But I didn't leave alone.

Like I said, the chapel's falling apart. While I was walking around it, I found several old pieces of mortar laying around. I couldn't help myself... I grabbed one off of the ground. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it is a piece of horror cinema history, and it will hold a place of honor amidst the other memorabilia I've collected over the years. Moreso if they fail to save the chapel. Sad, indeed!



Some final words:
The Strand Theater in Zelionople has information on the benefit to save the chapel.

Check out the Save the Chapel Facebook page for ways you too can help save the chapel.

And if all of this has you jonesing to see the original movie - or at least the parts that I talked about - I've attached a clip of the entire cemetery scene. Enjoy!



(Note: I used a mix of screenshots of the original Night of the Living Dead for the comparison photos in this story. Some of them are black and white, and others are color. I know some of you out there may consider the colorized versions borderline blasphemous, but truthfully, the updated and colorized version is a much better copy and made clearer screen grabs.

In other words, don't get your panties in a bunch, Nancy... Dr. Z.)