Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween-ish Treats - Nekrogoblikon

I wanted to share this with you because its tangentially Halloween related, but also touches on two of my other favorite things - gaming nerdery and kick ass metal music.

An acquaintance of mine posted this video over on Facebook and I have found a new band that I absolutely love. They're called Necrogoblikon.

I will be the first to admit that I am at an age where I tend to wallow in the music of my youth. Yes, I know I still love old school Goth and Industrial - things like Revolting Cocks, Frontline Assembly, classic Ministry, Sisters of Mercy, or The Cure. I still like a lot of the music I listened to when I was in college and my twenties.

But, I do have mutable tastes. I can like new things. Pandora's great for that. There's all kinds of great new music out there that I love. Bands like VNV Nation, or Zombie Girl, or Wumpscut, or Neuroticfish, or Unter Null. And, despite Mrs. Zombie's arguments otherwise, I do listen to other music besides my 'weird untz-untz-untz or gloomy, I want to cut myself' music (her words).

I love music in all of its forms and occasionally do venture outside of what many of my friends or minions wold expect. For instance, I've recently become fascinated with the South african rap/rave artists, Die Antwoord. I love them, their style, the sound of their music, and especially their 'fuck the world' attitude.

But, a little closer to what one would think old Dr. Zombie would listen to, we have Nekrogoblikon. Out of LA, they've only done a few albums... but they're our kind of metal.

Their songs are a harsh, brutal, guttural homage to their favorite subject - goblins - and is filled with all kinds of other D&D inspired imagery. In fact, their music is a mix of classic thrash metal, sprinkled with a bit of poisonous Norwegian death metal, and liberally sprayed with the blood of an unapologetic adherence to their goblin-esque personas.

I'm including these in my Halloween Treats series because Halloween is about ghosts and ghouls and goblins - and because I have been listening to a lot of their stuff lately. Give them a try, and check out their website (Click Here for Nekrogoblikon's Official Site).

I said in last night's post that - if i was going to start a band - I'd love to do something like Van Helsing's Curse. That's only partly true because there are a few other types of bands I'd like to try. A metal band devoted to geekish themes like Dungeons & Dragons, or Horror Metal, runs a close second. Maybe if we could get some kick ass bagpipes in the mix, that'd be even cooler. So, Nekrogoblikon? Yeah I want to be these guys!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Treats - Van Helsing's Curse

Something a little more modern today to help with the Halloween mood!

Dee Snyder's got himself a heavy metal orchestra that does spooky/Halloween-themed music. Sort of like Trans-Siberian Orchestra does; only way cooler, much darker, and focused on the infinitely better holiday of All Hallow's Eve.

If I was in a band THIS is the band I'd put together. The spooky spectacle, the kick ass melding of metal and classical music, the unapologetic love of all that is dark. Damn, it gives me chills just thinking about how bad ass it'd be to do Halloween shows... or even better, play year round and treat every day as if it's Halloween. That's my motto really... every day SHOULD be Halloween.

Anyway, this is a reworking of Mike Oldfield's classic Tubular Bells (which you definitely recognize - it was the theme to The Exorcist). I'm a fan of the original, but this version just kicks ass.

Throw some rock and roll devil horns and enjoy!

Looking for Something Spooky to Read?

Just a quick reminder:   You can check out some of my better posts by clicking the 'Best of Dr. Z' link above. Also, as it's that time of year, make sure you click my movie reviews for all the best info on horror movies for your Halloween viewing. I watch the good, the bad, and the shitty so that you don't have to!

There's also a link up top for my books.

Finally, as Halloween draws near, consider checking out my collection of spooky, creepy, and disturbing short stories TODAY! Disturbed Graves: Tales of Terror and the Undead is only .99 cents on Amazon for like 10 stories that are guaranteed to CREEP YOU OUT!

And it's FREE to borrow if you have an Amazon Prime account... so borrow it and give it a read. FYI: I still get royalties if you borrow it for free, so that's a friggin' win/win for both of us!!

Synopsis: Disturbed Graves is a dark, terrifying collection of short stories from up and coming horror author, D. Allen Crowley. From gruesome stories of the undead, to bizarre and eerie chance encounters, this haunting and harrowing assemblage of short fiction will chill the most hardened horror fan. Including several of his previously published works, as well as several new and disturbing visions, this Kindle-only collection is best read on a dark, stormy night. Disturbed Graves contains 10 short stories with short author commentaries and is the perfect introduction to the disturbed mind and writing of D. Allen Crowley.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Treats - Sleepy Hollow

One of my earliest memories of Halloween involved watching the classic Walt Disney Sleepy Hollow cartoon. Only a few years later did I discover the actual story by Washington Irving. I read it when I was probably 9 or 10 and I absolutely loved it.

The story and the cartoon, or at least the last ten minutes or so of the cartoon, captured the fear and shiver-inducing terror of a spooky, dark Halloween night and featured one of the most iconic ghosts ever created.

The Headless Horseman is such a deliciously incredible and visual character, and Irving's description of it and poor Ichabod's journey home from the Van Tassels is exquisitely creepy.

Many of the things that come to mind when one thinks of Halloween can be traced back to Irving's story. American's love of Halloween is really a very recent thing. We only fully started celebrating Halloween in the mid-1920's. Before that, it was a Pagan holiday only celebrated by poor Irish peasants. The thing is, we have a tradition of being scared, and that tradition can be traced to the works of Washington Irving, or Nathaniel Hawthorne. However, the oral history and tradition of fable has permeated our culture even longer that that.

The Headless Horseman can be traced to German fables, and the imagery of jack-o-lanterns comes from turnips with candles that the Irish used to ward off the evil spirits that could reach across the barrier between our world and the world of the dead on Samhain. The mixing pot of American ethnicity and immigrants has commingled and created a holiday that is unique and very pleasing to the likes of old Doctor Zombie.

Headless Horsemen; lonely, spooky roads; cold, creepy autumn nights; and moody, dark stories about Halloween tricks? Yep, this has something for EVERYBODY!

Just recently, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp got together and made a version for the big screen that is mandatory viewing in Doctor Z's house at Halloween. Believe it or not Wolf Girl loves it and we've already watched it twice this Halloween season!

So, in honor of the season, here's an online copies of Sleepy Hollow in multiple formats so ANYBODY can read it and check out below for the full cartoon!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Halloween Treats - Let's Play a Game

Found this a few years ago and remembered it last night. It prevented my going to bed as early as I wanted.

This is just awesome. M&M's Dark has put together a game based on horror movies. M&M's?  Horror movies? What a perfect Halloween mix!

What we have is a web page done in the style of a Hieronymous Bosch painting (Bosch, by the way, is one of my favorite classical artists). Anyway, hidden in the painting are representations of 50 horror movies. You click on the picture and type in what movie you think it is.

Sounds easy, right?

Not so! It took me 35 minutes to do it, and I have an encyclopedic knowledge of horror movies.

Click here to check it out.  Prepare to lose at least a half hour or more of your life!

And, as an added bonus, here's a hint for one of the more obscure ones! Appropriate for the season, don't you think?!?

Oddly, I'm hungry for M&M's now. M&M's or something pumpkin flavored. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Treats - The Epitome

Is it weird that I watch Carpenter's Halloween year round?

You can level with me. I won't take it personally. Seriously.

My own creepiness notwithstanding, I really and truly believe that John Carpenter's 1978 masterpiece, Halloween, is - quite possibly - one of the most perfect horror movies of all time. And despite the fact that I watch it a few times throughout the year, nothing says Halloween to me as much as this film.

From Carpenter's menacing and jangly piano score, to the mounting suspense and unspoken horror. From the relentless evil of Michael Meyers to the masterful use of camera angles and suggested violence. Every inch of this movie is a sublime exercise in masterful horror.

Although it was summer in Pasadena, California when Carpenter filmed it, he managed to exquisitely capture the look, feel, and chill of a cold, Midwestern Halloween night.

This movie literally never gets old. Whether it's Jamie Lee Curtis' palpable terror and vulnerability or Donald Pleasance's over the top warnings about the 'Evil', or even the subtlety and sexy appeal of Nancy Loomis -- I love every bit of this film. Carpenter and Debra Hill together reached out and plucked that bloody membrane of shared consciousness and fear we all share like a string on some weird hell-spawned violin. They took the quintessential holiday - Halloween - and gave it all of the creepy, ghoulish teror it was due and, in the process, spawned an entire genre of copycats. That genre, the 80's slasher flick, was a touchstone in horror cinema and it's genesis can be tracked to this small independent film that almost wasn't made.

Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Ghostface, Chucky, Jigsaw, and even - to some extent - Hannibal Lector all owe their creation to John Carpenter's stroke of brilliance in the creation of Michael Meyers. And, although many came after, none can compare to our favorite and first; the butcher knife-wielding, overall-wearing, William Shatner-masked Shape.

If you haven't watched it yet this Halloween season, I've attached the opening credits and the brilliantly filmed opening scene below. WATCH IT! Get yourself in the Halloween mood.

By the way, did you know that - on hundreds of movie screams across the country -  Carpenter's Halloween is playing during the last week of October and leading up to Saim Hain and All Hallow's Eve?!? It is, and you can get tickets to see this masterpiece on the big screen. I've already bought mine and I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie in an actual theater - something I've NEVER done. It will be glorious, dear reader.

Any Cleveland area readers - feel free to join  me. Send me an email if you'd like to see it. I'm planning on a October 29th show on the East Side. Come on out!

 Until then, use this to whet your ghoulish appetite for some Michael Meyers evil!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Treats - Wondrous Beginnings

Special treat today! One of my favorite Halloween-themed movies of all time is the incredibly visual and hauntingly, Halloweeny, Trick 'r Treat. I LOVE this movie. It is one of the best horror movies old Doctor Zombie's had the pleasure of ever watching (and believe me when I say I've seen literally thousands of horror movies.... it's what I do, folks!).

Like I said, very few movies can fully capture the look and feel of Halloween so well as this little independent movie did. Off the top of my head, only a few come close - Carpenter's Halloween, for example; or Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. But neither of those come close to capturing the magic of that one night of the year when the gateway - the physical and psychic barrier - between this world and darker, spookier worlds is so thin.

Part of my grotesque fascination with this wondrous little film is the character of Sam. He's an iconic creature that - in my mind - rivals the ubiquitous and much heavier horror movie baddies like Michael Meyers, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, or Chucky. He's Samhain personified, and it really almost  pisses me off that I didn't create him myself or think of him for one of my own short stories.

So, in honor of Trick 'r Treat's Sam, I've attached the original Michael Dougherty animated short that inspired and turned into Trick 'r Treat. Dougherty seriously spilled blood making this cartoon (the blood on the animation cells is literally his own!) and it pays respects to the vintage imagery of Halloween. But at the same time, it melds itself with the 70's and 80's paranoia and fear of Halloween that all of our parents warned us about. That same urban legend that warned of razors or poison in candy, or roving bands of pedophiles looking to scoop up kids wearing Spiderman or Darth Vader costumes, all of those things from when we were young and trick or treating by ourselves.

It's ingenious, well-drawn, captures Halloween in all of its glory, and shows the genesis of one of horror's more iconic creatures!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween Treats - Classic Dancing Skeletons!

I love old cartoons. And by old, I mean the pre-World War II variety - when they were still trying to perfect the art. It was a different time and it reflected a mindset that is alien to us today. From the casual, offhand violence to the strange jerkiness of hand drawn cells - there's something so cool about old toons.

I especially love this one. Made in 1929, it captures the vintage Halloween feel exquisitely.  It manages to juxtapose the creepy imagery of Halloween with swinging, happy orchestral music.

One rarely sees this sort of awesomeness nowadays.

Nothing says Halloween like a bunch of spooky skeletons dancing in graveyard!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween Treats - Getting in the Mood!

I posted something similar last year, but this song always makes me smile and always gets Dr. Z in the mood for Halloween!

It's - by the way - based on Camille Saint-Saens Danse Macabre Opus 40, one of my favorite classical works.

I remember having this version on a 33rpm album as a child and playing it year round. It makes me smile with nostalgia. It reminds me of the smell of jack-o-lanterns burned by candle, candy corn, Halloween parties at Memorial Park Elementary, and the house I grew up in festooned with classic Biestle decorations. It reminds me of highly flammable plastic costumes with plastic masks and elastic straps that held them on. It reminds me of trick or treating and the crunch of falling leaves as I trudged from house to house in the cold and dark of a late October Halloween night.

And this video version is like a visual reflection of all of those memories.

It's artsy and cool and pleases Doctor Zombie very much!


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Hollyweird Shamble of Fame

I frequently get contacted by people all over the internet hoping that I'll use my blog to promote other zombie-related things.

Often, I send them a polite 'thanks, but no thanks' email because, truthfully, they've no idea what this blog is about. And I get it. They want to promote something zombie related, they see Zombie in the title or find it through a search, and they never even bother to read the blog. They just assume it's about zombies and that I will undoubtedly be thrilled to receive their crappy infographic, or promote their crappy zombie apocalypse-themed preparedness website.

In fact, some of them are actually persistent. There's a webpage out of the UK that's contacted me several times to put an infographic on here that is a messy mix of stolen copyrights. It has things like references to Max Brooks solanum virus confusingly mixed with Romero references, stolen images from t-shirts and other internet Google-searched photos and graphics, and trite advice on how to redead the undead. It's pretty messy, poorly designed, and  is obviously focused on the teenage 'wouldn't it be cool to take over the local Walmart when the zombies come!' mentality. Worst of all, it is from the UK, so it is all about using blunt instruments to kill zombies.

Besides the blatant theft of other people's works and egregiously poor design, I can't seriously be expected to promote a zombie survival plan that doesn't include the judicious application of high capacity semiautomatic firearms. Why? Because the UK doesn't allows gun ownership, so they're stuck killing their ravenous undead with cricket bats and, I don't know, biscuit tins or something.

The point is, this is a vehicle for my writing and whatever strikes my fancy and although I LOVE zombies, that's not the whole point of this blog. And they'd know that if they did more than just read Zombie in the title.

And, just so we're clear, because something's about zombies, that doesn't make it good. Uwe Boll, every zombie movie on Netflix, and crappy UK web companies riding the popularity of zombies in pop culture, looking for web hits, and who can't do anything original - I'm looking at you!

Now I'm not saying I won't whore myself or the blog out now and again. I did once take a $200 freelance payment to promote online casinos on the site. I'm no fool. There was $200 on the table. Of course, I'm sure the owner of the online casino didn't expect me to tie casinos to Cleveland's most famous serial killer, the Torso Murderer, in a convoluted tangent of trollish intent... but hey, I got paid. I've also written movie reviews when movie studios have sent me screener copies of direct to DVD horror films. Free horror movies are always awesome. I guess what I'm saying is I'm shallow and easily bought.

All that being said, I will occasionally post things that are sent to me with no tangible benefits to me per se. Sometimes it's because it's something that amuses me. Or for a good cause.

This is one of those good cause times.

You see, I received an email from a lady named Leslie two days ago. Leslie works for a group called the Zombie Research Society (ZRS). The ZRS has put together an IndieGoGo campaign to honor the man who can truly be considered the Father of the Modern Zombie.

Leslie wrote:


Leslie from Zombie Research Society here.

Wanted to give you a heads up that we just launched a campaign to get George Romero a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

As you know Romero invented the modern zombie with his 1968 horror classic Night of the Living, launching a global phenomenon that continues to infect pop culture more than 40 years later.

Stars cost $30,000 paid to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, so we're doing a fundraising campaign to let fans give back to the man that has given us all so much.

Here is the link, and as you can see we've got Simon Pegg, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Penn & Teller, and other celebs behind it:

The more eyeballs we can get on the attached link the better chance we have of reaching (and hopefully beating) our goal.

Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.

Go Romero!


That's right, faithful readers, they're looking to raise funds so that the ghoulish, creepy, and utterly awesome George Romero can have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

Pretty kick ass, huh?!?

If you'll remember, about this time last year I visited the heart of Zombieland and made the ghastly pilgrimage to the Evans City Cemetary outside of Pittsburgh. This unhallowed ground is where George filmed his first masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead. While there, I learned that there was a group of horror fans trying to save the cemetary's chapel (this group included the actress who played Karen Copper herself, the lovely Kyra Schon). That seemed like a great fundraiser to me.

So does this.

So why would I promote it, when I tell others to go get bent?

Because Halloween will soon be here. Because I love Saint George's unholy trinity of zombie goodness (Night, Dawn and Day of the Dead). Because I love zombies in general... and we have George to thank for that. If any man deserves a star on the Hollyweird Shamble of Fame, it's George Romero. These are all of the reasons I love this idea, will donate towards it, and will promote it on my blog.  

Full disclosure: I have been somewhat dismissive of George's more recent returns to the celluloid undead world he spawned. When there's no more room in hell,  the dead will walk the earth - only not as well as they did in the 60's, 70's and 80's. What do I mean? Land of the Dead is a really good movie. Diary of the Dead was good, although it stretched the bounds of believability. Survival of the Dead was a colossal disappointment. I've been - fair or not - a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to GAR's recent outings.

But one can't deny that he is responsible for making zombies so much more than their dumb origins. His first three films are masterpieces of horror and spawned an entire genre of horror films that - good or bad - take the idea of the dead rising from the grave and make them fucking scary as hell. Instead of vacant eyed, clumsy, retarded victims of voodoo - zombies now shamble or run, pursue you relentlessly, and want nothing more than to EAT YOUR FLESH!   Back in 1968, George Romero entered the subconscious of our society with a film about a satellite crash and strange radioactivity, a brother and sister visiting their father's grave, and the social and racial tension of survivors at the end of the world as we know it.

And, with 6 words, he changed horror films forever. Those 6 words?  

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

Give to the Zombie Research Society before THE ZOMBIES COME FOR YOU TOO!

Let's get George the star he deserves.  

Check the following link for Zombie Research Society's IndieGoGo campaign site - Give George Romero a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Check it out! Do it! NOW!