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Shocktober Shennanigans - a month in review.

Where did October go? Did anybody see it? Seems like it was summer only yesterday.

October’s traditionally a pretty busy month, but wow - the last 31 days were a blur. A fun blur to be sure - but a blur nonetheless.

Shocktober was fun. I love the idea of picking a theme and then running with it for the whole month. It draws me into corners of my film collection that I might not visit too often and it gives me the opportunity to revisit films that sometimes I haven’t watched for years. Sometimes, I’ll find that a film has improved over the passage of time, and other times, well - my memory of the film is perhaps better than the reality.

Watching those Craven Images films, I was surprised by how downright awful Vampire in Brooklyn really was. I mean that damn thing is just irredeemable. Who would ever consider casting Eddie Murphy as a vampire for crying out loud? (Oh yes...Murphy himself). Shocker was another that ultimately disappointed me as I watched it. But, there are others that just won’t age. The Hills Have Eyes being a prime example.

Sadly, I had to cut the season a little bit shorter than I’d planned. I didn’t get around to covering as many of Wes Craven’s films as I had intended. Swamp Thing and The People Under The Stairs were on the list, as were Red Eye and New Nightmare, but time was running out. I was getting late with my Future Imperfect for Starburst and being somewhat obsessive (so I’m told) especially when it comes to deadlines, sacrifices had to be made. But, you never know - maybe there’s a place in Cult Corner for those titles.

Before I leave Shocktober 2011, there’s one question I’ve been asked - how come Scream and its sequels weren’t in there? Well, I decided that I’d cover the lesser seen and not-as-well-known movies from Craven, and the Scream movies are so well known that covering them seemed redundant at the moment. Plus with Scre4m’s recent DVD release, it was just too recent. Maybe when I decide to cover Slasher movies in a future Halloween run up.

Speaking of Cult Corner, that section is something that seriously needs attention - as I was reminded by a friend of mine about a week ago. I had intended to run Shocktober in Cult Corner until I decided to dedicate a section to it.

I’m limited to the number of sections and pages that I can have on the site, and I’m currently running at maximum. When I launched the site on Halloween of last year, I thought it would be a great idea to have a guest book so that I could pool opinions what worked and what didn’t. All fine, good and noble. But, over the past couple of months, the guest book became more of a problem as it became an easy target for spammers. Most days, there would be long and nonsensical entries, sometimes in foreign languages, containing links that probably should be avoided. Others were more overt and were openly linking to viagra sites, porn sites and so on.

I wouldn’t exactly consider myself prudish, but unless I can personally vouch for the safety and suitability of a site being linked to from here - I don’t want it around. The site is ad-free and I mean for it to stay that way, especially if the companies placing the ads are doing it for free. So, as the guest book insanity was increasing and I was spending more and more time deleting spam, I decided to pull the plug and use the web space for something more useful and audience friendly.

Withdrawing that facility doesn’t mean I don’t want your comments. I invite you to leave them on the site’s Facebook page, or alternatively check the contact me page - there’s an address there I can be reached at.

Currently, I’m in the early stages of planning NEXT year’s Shocktober, and I’m thinking of giving you a choice between a Stephen King season, a Hammer season OR...zombies.

If you’re reading this, please let me know your preference, cast your vote and I’ll make it happen.

We got in to the Halloween weekend spirit on Saturday by carving pumpkins. It’s always fun to design a template and try and execute it. I decided to model one on Gene Simmons’s iconic make-up this year. It actually turned out quite well, despite seeming somewhat deflated the morning after.

My deflating Gene Simmons pumpkin is on the right, next to Steve's menacing "Venom".

Sunday was an all around excellent day. Steve and I, along with a good friend of mine had tickets to see Alice Cooper’s Halloween Night of Fear in Manchester’s O2 Apollo. This is the third consecutive tour we’ve seen, and Cooper fully delivered on all counts, supported by the legendary New York Dolls. If there’s a better way to spend build up the Halloween than with Alice Cooper- I’d love to know what it is. There’s a full review (and I really mean FULL) right here.

Cooper’s show also carried on to Halloween night itself. Traditionally, we have a candy fuelled double bill based on a something old/something new theme. For example, last year, it was Night of the Demon from 1957 double billed with the Nightmare on Elm Street remake.

Well, having spent the summer enjoying the second season of The Munsters on DVD, and being let down by the fact that there’s no UK DVD release of the original feature film Munster Go Home, I imported one from Germany. It’s odd seeing them in colour, all the original cast are there (it was filmed directly after the series finished) apart from an inexplicable recasting of Marilyn (the "normal" one). Lovely to see Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis go through their routines again. I’ve always reckoned they were one of the great comedy double acts of TV history.

For the something new - I bought in John Carpenter’s The Ward, but as Sky Arts were showing a broadcast of Alice Cooper’s show from Friday night, and Maria and Tiffany hadn’t been with us in Manchester, we watched that instead.

Things I’m currently looking forward to:

Stephen King’s new book. This time of year is specifically set aside for that, every year.

The new season of The Big Bang Theory. This has been THE big discovery of 2011. Recommended by a friend, I now have all four previous seasons and it is, in my humble opinion, the best ensemble comedy on TV since Friends - and it’s just getting better every season.

I’m working on an interview with a stunning horror actress that you’ll read exclusively on this site. I was watching her performance in a movie this past Saturday night, and the whole movie blew me away, so keep watching the site - she is more than worth the wait.

And finally - one more thing. Stand by for a HUGE announcement from Starburst magazine. I won’t mention anything further right now, but it looks like 2012 is going to be a tremendous year. (Shame it has a downer of an ending, according to the Mayans.)

Stay low. Stay sharp. Stay safe.

Copyright © 2010 - 2011 Robin Pierce. All Rights reserved.


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