Archive for the 'Horror Movies/TV' Category



The Keep Adventure Module (Role Aids, 1983)

The Keep Module 1983

The Keep Module 1983-2

What the hell “popular role-playing systems” are going to be compatible with The Keep? Call of Cthulhu, maybe? I’d love to browse the whole module.

Same cover art as the board game. Maybe Paramount required that this version be used on all licenses. I just noticed that the word ‘Nazi’ is not used on the front and back covers of either game.

(Images via RPG Geek)

Board Games: The Keep (Mayfair Games, 1983)

The Keep 1983-1

The Keep 1983-2

The Keep 1983-3

The Keep 1983-5

The Keep 1983-6

The Keep 1983-4

Another strange licensing choice attached to a very R rated feature that didn’t receive a lot of push from the studio. The Keep was not a “hit Paramount movie” in any sense, but it does have a cult following because of the memorable visuals and Tangerine Dream score. (I reviewed the film here.) What’s cool about the game is that one of the players gets to play the demon Molasar, who eats one of his servants every turn to maintain his infernal energy.

The box cover is a variation of the original movie poster—one of the best of the ’80s, and probably why Mayfair decided to buy the license—with one important difference. On the original, a group of Nazis is seen entering the keep. Here, we’ve got a couple of lovers kissing. It’s a very curious choice. I thought it might have been an alternate poster design, but I can’t find any evidence of that.

There was also an RPG module based on The Keep. I’ll post that later.

(Images via eBay and Board Game Geek)

Movie Theater Marquees: Dawn of the Dead (1979)

 DOTD Marquee 1978

I don’t remember where I found the photo, unfortunately, but it’s the creepiest one I’ve got. It almost looks like a screenshot from a post-apocalyptic movie referencing another post-apocalyptic movie. What’s the figure doing? Where is everyone else? Who’s taking the photo? The only thing I can think of is that he wants to show off his DotD t-shirt under the DotD marquee.

The Hollywood Theatre was a classic. You can see a better shot of the beautiful marquee here. It closed in 1992, “doomed” by “the seedy, dilapidated state of Hollywood Boulevard.”

Also, there’s this:

DOTD 1979

Halloween, 1984: Gizmo and Gremlins

Halloween Doom 1984

The Gremlins costume is a Ben Cooper, but I have no idea why it says STAR. It should say STRIPE, the only Gremlin named in the movie. At the time, even though I adored Gremlins (kids were literally running out of the theater, scared shitless—it was awesome), I would have been all over that Dr. Doom costume. In ’83 and ’84 my pursuit of comics was approaching mania.

UPDATE (10/12/15): Thanks so much to Shawn Robare for pointing out that the Gremlins costume does indeed say Stripe. My reading of “Star” was an optical illusion.

Here’s the Ben Cooper Gizmo costume.

img301 Halloween 1984

There was also a full body Gizmo costume. Here it is in action.

Halloween Gizmo 1984

And here’s the McCall’s pattern, if you want to try and track it down. Notice the box with the painted air holes (not included).

Halloween Gizmo McCalls 1984

(Photos via bobcat135/Flickr, Sean/Flickr, Needleloca, and Etsy)

Movie Theater Marquees: Friday the 13th, Don’t Go in the House, and Aliens (1980, 1986)

Friday the 13th 1980

The Warner Cinerama Theatre in New York, originally The Strand Theatre, opened in 1914. It was demolished in 1987.

Don’t Go in the House is a very low budget slasher about (the IMDb description is brutally succinct) “a victim of child abuse… who grows up to become a maniacal construction worker. He stalks women at discos, takes them home, then hangs them upside-down in a special steel-walled room and sets them on fire.” The trailer is here.

Below is the same theater seen from the opposite side. You can see a Howard the Duck poster to the left of the marquee.

I saw Aliens four or five times at the theater in the summer of ’86. It was a perfect movie then, and it’s a perfect movie now.

Aliens Marquee 1986

(Images via Jane R. Fink/Pinterest and Cinema Treasures)

Stephen King and Tom Savini on the set of Creepshow, 1981

King Savini 1982

(Via Cinematic Wasteland)

Tom Savini on Livewire, 1982

Nickelodeon’s Livewire was a talk show for kids that ran from 1980 to 1985. I haven’t seen it before, and unfortunately I can’t find an episode list online (not even on IMDb). But I’ve been going through the clips available on YouTube, and I’m impressed.

Savini is charming and giddy as he talks about “splatter films” being “on the way out” and demonstrates some of his special makeup effects. Creepshow was about to hit theaters, and he names “fluffy,” the nickname for the crate monster, his masterpiece. He also says that, among the films he’s been involved with, the controversial Maniac (1980) is his least favorite, and generally tries to separate himself from the ultra-violent genre he pioneered. (Read a 1980 interview with Savini here.)

Even if you’re not a horror fan, listen to the intelligent, searching questions the kids ask him, and ask yourself if it would be possible to produce a talk show for teens and preteens today in which kids are trusted to ask maverick adult guests articulate questions on live TV. (The Ramones, R.E.M., and The Psychedelic Furs all performed on the show and answered audience questions.) Not to mention the fact that every movie Savini had done to this point was rated R or unrated (now NC-17).

The level of respect kids got during this time—a level of respect we demanded—will not be seen again.

Comic Book Stand, 1975

Comic Book Rack, 1975

Photo via Detective21

Oh, how they gleam with fresh-off-the-press-ness. I can smell them from here.

Horror titles (comics and magazines) were immensely popular at the time, and comic back issues will cost you a grip today, even in poor condition. The genre saw a huge resurgence in the ’70s for a number of reasons, all of them mutually reinforcing: the commercial success of 1968’s Night of the Living Dead and especially Rosemary’s Baby; changes in the Comics Code (1971) that permitted the depiction of “vampires, ghouls and werewolves”; the proliferation of syndicated horror showcases across the nation: Fright Night (1970), Creature Double Feature (circa 1972), Chiller Thriller (circa 1974), etc. (I’ll post some of the intros later on Facebook.)

As much as I love The Tomb of Dracula and all of Marvel’s monster titles, DC really set the comics standard with The Unexpected, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, The Witching Hour, and Ghosts. Weird War (not pictured here) was a brilliant combination of the horror and war genres. If I had a choice of a full run, that’s the one I’d want.

Above the comics you’ll see some magazines, including Monsters Unleashed, Vampirella, and Famous Monsters of Filmland. The pile of Mad magazines on the bottom right is #174. Cheap!

Mad #174

Movie Theater Marquees: Night of the Living Dead (1968, 1986)

NOTLD Fulton 10-1-1968

Above: The Night of the Living Dead premiere at Pittsburgh’s Fulton Theater (now the Byham Theater) on October 1, 1968. The film was shot in rural Pittsburgh for a little over $100,000. It grossed $12 million domestically and $18 million internationally. The photo comes from The Complete Night of the Living Dead Filmbook (1985) by John Russo. I found it online at The Sweetest Psychopath.

Below: The Fulton again. According to Cinema Treasures, the photo is from 1981 or 1982, but Day of the Dead didn’t come out until 1985 (I was working in a video store at the time and remember eagerly awaiting the VHS release). You’ll see Sky Bandits on another marquee to the left. That movie came out on October 31, 1986.

The original Dead Trilogy in one sitting on Halloween in 1986? Mercy.

Dead Trilogy 1985

Board Games: Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Electronic Mall Madness (1989)

DOTD Game 1978

DOTD Game 1978-2

DOTD Game 1978-3

Mall Madness 1989

Mall Madness 1989-2

EMM 1989

EMM 1989-3

What a double feature.

The Dawn of the Dead game is a collector’s item, and it’s priced accordingly. Luckily, you can download the whole thing at Home Page of the Dead. From Board Game Geek:

Dawn of the Dead (based on the classic 1978 horror film) can be played as a two-player game (humans vs. zombies), as a solitaire game, or as a cooperative game with two to four players controlling the human heroes. The game map represents the shopping mall from the movie. Cardboard counters signify the human characters and zombies. To win, the zombie player must kill any three characters; the human player must secure the mall by closing all four entrances and eliminating all zombies within.

SPI (Simulations Publications, Inc.) was a leading publisher of board wargames throughout the ’70s. The company went bankrupt in 1982. Because SPI defaulted on a loan from TSR, Gygax and co. acquired its trademarks and copyrights in 1983.

Electronic Mall Madness precisely represents the degenerate vanity and vacuity satirized by Romero in DotD. I’m not sure where that leaves me, because I think it’s really pretty and I want to hear the mall talk.


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