Rest In Pieces of Candy | A Review

The official halfway point to Halloween has come and gone, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m counting down now. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get online or turn on the TV anymore without yelling, “Oh, come on. THIS now!?” So let’s just take a break from the hellscape outside and hold on to some optimism that October will bring us something a little more fun. I’ll even do you one better. Let’s dip into that spirit right now. I think we could all use it.


I scored these suckers last Halloween and have had squirreled them away until now. It’s R.I.P. Candy (or Rest in Pieces of Candy if you really want to stretch it) from ZomBee. The packaging promises “CANDY BONES INSIDE TOMBSTONES.” My assumption is that they’re an updated take on one of my childhood favorites, the legendary Mr. Bones. That’s my hope anyway, and you and I are about to find out together.

In the rare event that you’re reading this and actually don’t know what Mr. Bones is, I’ve wanted an excuse to write about them for the last 20 years, so it’s a win-win for all of us. Mr. Bones arrived every Halloween season in small plastic coffins and afforded kids the chance to construct skeletons out of sugary pieces of chalk. I like to think that every coffin came with enough pieces to construct a full skeleton, but it was just as likely that your ulna to skull ratio robbed you of that. I do remember pieces frequently being broken, but who cares? Anything that allowed me to mix and match candy bones into my own undead Modulok was worth a few compound fractures. Plus, the leftover coffin made the perfect spot to stash whatever tiny things a ten-year-old needed to hide from their older siblings.


Before we pry our way into whatever secrets lie inside, I’ve given each tombstone a shake, heard their rattle, and I’m going to assume that all three contain the exact same assortment. However, how cool would it be if the corpses of Ima Ghoul, Dr. Acula, and Yule B. Next yield totally different flavored bones? I convinced myself back in the day that the different colors of Mr. Bones represented different flavors, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in everything I believed in the 6th grade. I was also convinced that Air Jordans made me jump higher.


Time for the reveal. I’m going to give it to you straight. They’re all the same on the inside. They come with a little plastic bag of these waxy little things. 17 in total. Yes, I counted, because I’m out of work, and so are you, and it’s that’s just what we do now. I’m afraid that our dreams of reliving our Mr. Bones glory days are officially dashed. But on the upside, if your Ray Peterson action figure was one accessory away from re-enacting the “femur bone” scene a whole bunch of times, you’re in so much luck.

Ray Peterson figure

I may not have a full skeleton on my hands, but I’m still squeezing some Halloween fun out of this. I did a thing. We’ll call him Punky. Punky the Punkin.


Oh, I almost forgot. The taste test.


Yeah, honestly, they’re just a bunch of nothing. They have the same mouth feel as an Ibuprofen, with half the flavor. But if I’m level with myself, I was never really in it for the taste. It was worth it for the rad new tombstones and the excuse to drag those candle holders out for a photo shoot. Who am I kidding? There was no dragging involved. They were already displayed in my living room, and now the tombstones are hanging out with them. Did I mention I live alone? Did I even have to? Happy Halloween!


The Health class BODY BOOK

I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t get online right now without facing an onslaught of news headlines that just make me mutter, “Oh for god’s sake, what is it NOW?”. Since we’re all having our own version of The Shining going on right now and are in need of any diversion we can find that will keep us from finally snapping and…correcting…someone, it’s the perfect time to churn out fresh content.

New blogs and podcasts are popping up everywhere, and those of us with older ones are finally dusting them off and getting something done. Of all the surges I’ve been reading about lately, that’s the only one that doesn’t fill me with dread. I’ve got a backlog of ideas for things I’ve been wanting to do around here, and since I got laid off from the day job a couple of weeks ago, it’s not like I can say I don’t have the free time now.

Here’s a little nostalgic diversion that will send us straight to our happy places. So let’s go back to the 6th grade and get in touch with our bodies.

Calm down, it’s a class project I did for my 6th grade Health class:

I don’t remember if this was some sort of massive end-of-the-year final project or just a regular assignment, but for whatever reason, I used it as an excuse to GO ALL OUT. I have specific memories of getting permission to skip “gym class” (basically playing kickball in the hallway) to sit in the class room by myself and meticulously write and draw this whole mess out over the course of a week or so. What resulted is partly my take on Inner Space and partly just an excuse to work the word “anus” into my homework.

Chapter 1

By “write out”, I mean blatantly copy some of this word-for-word from an encyclopedia. Not all of it was complete forgery, and I don’t know if my teacher (Ms. Owens) fell for my chicanery, or if she knew what was up and just let it slide (“A” for initiative and all that), but the end result was fairly impressive for a 12 year old, I guess.

Let’s hit some of the highlights.


If you look closely, you can see the page under this one that contains the original image of the skeleton that I used to trace this one. The book contains an even distribution of worksheets and original content written and drawn by myself. It will become pretty apparent as we go along which images were traced and which were done freehand.


The main thing that jumps out at me here is skeleton guy’s uneasy grin. I like to think that all the images that are to come are of the same unwitting volunteer. We’ll call him Slim Nobody. He has no idea what he’s in for.

Food molecule

“Chapter 2: The Digestive System” gives us a look at “The Story Of A Food Molecule” (some sort of horse pill?) and its path through said system. I know it’s been a while, but I’m not entirely confident that this is to scale, you guys. Is his stomach in his chest? Are his intestines wrapping around his heart? What the fuck is happening with you, Slim?

Big illustration

And here we have the real “meat” of the book, so to speak. If I remember correctly, I didn’t trace this, but rather sketched it all out by looking at some reference materials. Slim’s coming together nicely, although, again, I have questions about his innards. I only wish my liver was that big.

Stomach and intestines

Making our way though the stomach and intestines,  my spelling is getting a little helter skelter, but not entirely inaccurate.


Chapter 3 lays out the nervous system, specifically the brain. I’m not sure if my Hellraiser obsession was in its beginning stages at this point, but I can’t help but think that I was subconsciously inspired by that first image of Frank’s newly formed brain when he clawed his way out of the floorboards. “Come to daddy…”



I’m not exactly sure what happened here.

Respiratory system

This is the bit I’ve been waiting for. Slim has clearly dropped some hallucinogens, has tapped into his entire genetic and evolutionary past, and is having his own Altered States moment.

Endicrine system

In Chapter 5, the third act twist is revealed. Slim has ovaries and gonads!! I was surprisingly progressive in 1989.

Chapter 6

Chapter 6 introduces us to the “Exretory System”, which was evidence that I was obviously getting tired at this point. If you notice, the illustrations have also devolved from intricate tracings and labels to vague humanesque shapes. This entire thing is falling apart.

Flux capacitor

This is just something I drew after I was standing on the toilet and slipped and hit my head on the sink. I had a feeling it would come in handy in about 30 years. Something to do with time travel. Oh shit, I gotta get to work!

Check spelling



And now we reach the end. Slim’s been put through his paces just in time to get some new lungs and assume his final form as a half-assed (half-chinned?) version of Kinski from Nightbreed. Science!

“But Deej, what was your GRADE?”


Thanks, Ms. Owens! Sorry about all the plagiarism!

Birthoween Weekend 2019

Ok, I’m not going to lie. This Halloween season kind of got away from me. I’m in the middle of two day jobs, Dj’ing gigs, a lot of travel, and well…life. But, we all know that Halloween isn’t just one day; it’s a way of life. So here’s my rundown of Halloween Weekend 2019, which at the end of the day, is much more than just a weekend.


Last week, my cousin and I carved pumpkins as we do every year. This is the first carving in his newish house, and just so you know, all the decorations you’re about to see outside his house aren’t just for Halloween. He’s living the dream (nightmare?) all year round (as you’ll see even more later), so the house has been decked out like this for quite some time. Yeah, it runs in the family.


Here’s the pre-carve pic. For the sake of privacy, I won’t post too much from inside his house, but all you need to know is the entire house is ridiculous in the best way. This is just a tiny glimpse of one corner of the kitchen.


Here’s the finished project. I pride myself on my punkin carving skills, but this one suffered a little “happy accident”. I’d worked in a little hole for a nose and a few fangs in the middle of his mouth, but the fangs and the nose were a little too close to each other, so they all just fell out in one big chunk. The deformity actually kind of works, I think.


The cousin’s turned out really well too. I will say, in recent years, he’s stepped up his game and has come up with some creative designs.




Believe it or not, for all my living on the dark side, Halloween day itself is almost always a little uneventful for me. Just like last year, I got off work and went home to watch horror movies and wait for trick-or-treaters who never showed up. I don’t know what happened to trick-or-treating, or if it’s just the area I live in, but honestly, it’s been about 10 years since I’ve had a single one. When did the shift happen that adults are keeping the fun spirit of the holiday alive more than kids?


Speaking of that, my birthday was yesterday, so Halloween week soon turned into Birthoween Weekend. I spent it in just about the most DJ D way possible. The cousin went off and got himself a new ride and I drove him down to Bennettsville, SC to pick it up! The couple he bought it from bought a funeral home, which they’ve converted into their actual home. It’s about as fantastic as you can image, but I didn’t get the impression that they were much into Halloween or decorating. It’s a shame, because they took us on a little tour of the house, and they obviously have a lot of potential there that they’re not taking advantage of.

On the way back, he and I went our separate ways, and unfortunately he ended up blowing two tires. A night in a hotel and a visit to Firestone later, and he’s got four new ones, but the car will need quite a bit of work over time. His own little weekend adventure was considerably more expensive than mine, but he’s got his dream hearse (probably haunted) and is living in spook central, so he’s doing his part.

After making sure he was going to be ok with the car, I made my way to The Art Bar in Columbia, SC, where I DJ’d a fantastic show called ‘A Nightmare on Park Street Part 2’. We had three great bands who came in from all over the Southeast, and me spinning selections from horror soundtracks, and just general spooky tunes. I also got confirmation from a buddy of mine that I’m doing some voice over work in a huge upcoming animated project that I might discuss later.

I also recently got to collaborate with some buddies who did a much better job than me at grabbing hold of the season and turning it into content. Check out all of Will’s Halloween Hell Show posts over at the Casserole of Disaster, and you’ll see a few familiar faces, including myself and Brian from Review the World. We nearly died from hot sauce intake, as we do whenever we get together. Brian is back at posting regular content too, so stay on top of that. Can’t wait to see what he’s got coming up.

I hope you guys all made the most of the last few months. Halloween really is an entire season, and you have to milk as much out of it as you can. I got a late start and probably could have done more, but man did I pack a lot of fun into the last week. Those of us who are tuned in to that vibe all year have a responsibility to not let it fizzle out just because all of retail has let red and green overtake the orange and black. We’ll be stuffing ourselves with stuffing in like five minutes anyway. And let’s face it, isn’t dealing with family during the holidays the real horror?

The September 2019 Days of the Dead Horror Con

Alright, everybody. Halloween is coming to get us like our name is Barbara, and I’m dangerously close to exclusively filling up the next tree weeks with…work. Not the good kind either. Boring day job stuff. But I’ll be damned if I let that happen. So, this weekend is devoted to CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT, and I’m starting in just about the best way possible.

I went to Days of the Dead and MET CLIVE BARKER AGAIN!

Of course, this isn’t the first time, but this time was a slightly longer meet. I had the pleasure of discussing literature a little bit with him, but didn’t want to take up too much of his time, as there were people in line behind me. I also had a nice conversation with his manager, Chris, who manages a few other horror legends. Just like last time, the room Clive was in was covered in his artwork and merchandise. Having a Barker original hanging in my place is major bucket list material for me. One day…


But I did check another one off the list that I wasn’t able to last time. The photo op! Finally, I achieved a lifelong dream of getting my photo with the man himself. I’ve mentioned this before, but Clive is essentially my idol, and the reason why I almost changed my major in college to English lit because I wanted to be an author. He’s my “who’s the one person living or dead you’d like to meet” person, and I’ve now done it twice. I tell ya, there are worse things in the world than sitting next to your idol, having him call you by name, shake your hand, and call you his friend. Yeah, it was a good day.

But, we’re not done. The other interactions didn’t disappoint either. This coverage is going to be a little different than all the previous ones, as Barker was the only photo-op I did. I had a lot of cool conversations, but you’ll just have to take my word for them, as in almost all cases, they were people who I’d met before. It’s pretty rare that I do a photo-op with someone twice, but it’s still fun to pop by a table and have a chat. Here’s the rundown:

Heather Langenkamp — We’ve met a couple of times before, and she never disappoints. She even remembered my name and the fact that I gave her a Barnes and Noble gift card that one time. We actually chatted a bit about books and what we’re both reading right now. Every interaction with her is gold, and it doesn’t hurt that one of my biggest childhood crushes knows me by name. You take the little victories where you can.

The Soska Sisters — SO GREAT! Seriously, go rob a bank right now if that’s what it takes to meet them. They’re super friendly and engaging, and give out hugs. I usually have a “Jerry Seinfeld meets Kesha” policy when it comes to hugs from strangers, but who passes that up? Also,  it was another case where they remembered me a little bit. We talked about the FANTASTIC promo they recorded for my show that one time, and I pulled it up on my phone and played it for them. They got a big kick out of it. We discussed Hellevator and their new remake of Rabid that I can’t wait to see. They’re two of my favorites.

Amelia Kinkade and Linnea Quigley — They were doing a photo op in costume as their characters from Night of the Demons. Obviously, I didn’t get that one, but I did have a nice chat with them at the hotel bar, and another one at their tables. I’d met them both before, and they’re another recommended meet, especially Linnea Quigley. It was enough to make me want to hop on top of a tombstone and do a little dance.

Tom Savini — Met him and chatted for about 30 seconds, just like the other three times I have. He’s a legend obviously, and there was a time in high school in which I was dead set on becoming a special effects artist myself. I can’t say it was a negative reaction necessarily, but I will say I got the famous “Savini cold shoulder”. Let’s just say he’s no Soska Sisters when it comes to fan interaction. Savini’s all business.

Judge Reinhold, Danielle Harris, Kristina Klebe, and Scout Taylor Compton — I had nice, brief conversations with that all of them. Reinhold’s obviously part of all of our childhoods, and I’ve met Danielle Harris before. With all of them, we spoke a little bit about the convention itself and how slow it actually was. Seriously, for everything this one had it going for it, it was oddly the deadest one I’ve ever been to. In fact, I almost didn’t speak with any of the Halloween girls because they weren’t at their tables that often. Not because they were at panels or anything, but because they were walking around. There were so few people coming up to the tables that it actually wasn’t even worth sitting there all day. This isn’t a criticism of the con itself, but rather just an observation about how odd it was. The joint was a ghost town.

In fact, there were a few that I wanted to meet that I never got to at all because they weren’t at their tables that often (Tony Todd, Traci Lords, and Clint Howard). It was just bad timing, but still kind of disappointing.


Not to end on a downer, but they put out a table for Sid Haig (R.I.P.). The bits of paper were laid out so you could write messages which would be passed on to his family. On a more positive note, 3 From Hell, which I missed the first time around in theaters, is getting another brief run through Fathom Events. Can’t wait to finally catch it next week!

Despite a few hiccups, this was obviously one of the best yet. To make up for all this being a bit text-heavy, here’s a little bit of a photo dump:



This standoff went on for quite a while, and ended with the three of them holding hands and skipping down the hall. True story.

Hey, guess what. We’re not done yet. The perfect capper to this was that later that night, the Ayrsley Theater was showing a double feature of both Hellraiser and Candyman. And cousin, you better believe I went! It’s all part of a Halloween retro horror series they’re doing right now.


Check out that lineup!

Kicking off the season by meeting your idol and finally seeing your favorite horror film on the big screen for the first time all in one day is pretty much perfect. I don’t know that I can top it, but we’ve got just a few weeks to squeeze as many spooks out of the season as we can, so don’t waste a minute of it. Buy some Oreos with witches on them…watch a cult horror movie you’ve never seen before…put spider webs on your desk at work (and keep them there all year round). Do whatever you can to capture as much fall atmosphere as possible before it all slips by and it’s (ugh) January again. Don’t waste a single second of it. LET’S GO.

The Horror Hound Weekend Part 1

Hey, folks. I’m not going to waste any time with preamble. You all know what we’re here for. I, DJ D, for real, this is not a drill, no kidding, actually met two of my biggest celebrity crushes last weekend. I FINALLY MET CHRISTINA RICCI…and FAIRUZA BALK!

The whole thing went down at the Horror Hound Weekend in Cincinnati, OH. I drove up on Friday night and crashed with one of my best buds, Brian of Review the World. The weekend was pretty eventful, and was full of firsts all around.


Before we get to the main event, let’s talk about the drive. That trek through Tennessee and Kentucky is incredibly pretty. Being flanked by enormous mountains for much of it makes being stuck alone in a car for 8 hours go by a little faster. You’re also surrounded by loads of billboards advertising pure Tennesse moonshine. If you’re wondering right about now if I stopped off and got myself some moonshine…Oh, I got myself some moonshine.

About halfway into the trip, I popped into Thunder Road Distillery, where the folks there were kind enough to give me a lineup of free samples. I hadn’t stopped off for lunch yet and was kind of running on an empty stomach, so I took it easy on the samples, but I did partake enough to get a feel for what they have to offer. I was looking for the purest, strongest, non-flavored moonshine they had. Give me that hard stuff. I wanted my hair to grow hair. So they hooked me up with a small bottle of Dumpling Creek, and told me it was 100 proof. I’ve had the real deal before, straight from a still in someone’s back yard (South Carolina, y’all!), and I was told that that sort of thing is typically 120 proof or so. Close enough.

I put it to the test that night once I got to town. Brian, his new lady friend, and I polished off the bottle. She and I took it straight, but he had to mix it with some Orange Vanilla Coke to make it go down easier. I’ll never let him live that down, by the way. It certainly wasn’t as strong as the real deal that I’ve had in the past, but it did the trick. I actually enjoyed it. Considering how strong it was, it was surprisingly smooth, and can best be described as a high end vodka, turned up to 11.

We also hit up a burger place called Mad Mike’s that was fucking delicious. I haven’t had any other burgers in Ohio, but I’d be surprised if there’s a much better one anywhere.

Saturday morning, after a solid breakfast, we made our way to the convention. I actually got my first glimpse of you-know-who as I was standing in line to get in, I just happened to be standing near one of the back doors used by security when I heard someone yell, “It’s Christina Ricci!” I turned just in time to see security walking her into the building. The morning was already starting well.

Once we made our way inside, I was instantly hit with how huge this thing was. You guys know I go to a lot of conventions, so I’m no stranger to a crowd, but this was something else. I’ve also never seen a con laid out this way. It was not…ideal, but it got the job done, I suppose. More on that in Part 2.

Unfortunately, my garbage phone has a crap battery and it spent most of the day nearly dead, so I have very few pictures to show for any of it, but the costumes and vendors were pretty impressive. You’ll just have to take my word for it. You’ll also have to take my word when it comes to all the other celebs I met. But let’s get to why we’re here.

The lines for some of the more A-list celebs were INSANE, and there were so many people that you had to be handed a ticket to determine what time you were even allowed to get in line. People were broken up into waves and ushered in, 50 or so at a time. As a result, even though we arrived at 11:00, I wasn’t allowed to get in line to see Christina until 1:00 or so. I was actually told it was going to be closer to 5:30 (!), but after smooth talking the lady guarding the line, she snuck me in earlier, and I was one step to making a dream come true.

The enormous crowd in front of me made it impossible to see Christina until I got about halfway up there, but once close enough to spot her, I had to take this selfie. This is my “She’s right there!” face:


So, you get up there and do the autograph/name thing with the assistant. I’ve been here plenty of times before. You give the assistant your name, pay a zillion dollars (in this case $50 for the autograph only), and they write your name down so Christina doesn’t have to even ask who she’s signing it for.

This is it. This is the moment we’ve dreamed of. DON’T SOUND LIKE AN IDIOT.

So, as she’s signing, I quickly tell her that I drove all the way from South Carolina just to meet her (even though the icing on the cake is that there were a few others I also was excited about). I also mentioned that I’ve been doing a countdown on my radio show to the big meeting and that my listeners have been excited about it too.

She looked up, smiled, and said, “Awwww, that’s so sweet!” You guys, I will have that smile burned into my brain forever.

As you can imagine, as these things go, the whole interaction lasted like 30 seconds; just enough to ramble on, shake her hand, and get ushered on.


But Deej, surely you got a picture with her. That came later. It was a professional photo op that I paid for ahead of time. It’s done at a scheduled time and they herd people in and out even faster than I’ve described so far. Brian was in line with me for the whole thing and it was honestly kind of a clusterfudge. We spent quite a bit of time getting shuffled around to 3 separate lines, only to end up back in the one we started. Organization and communication wasn’t the best there, but once it finally got moving, it was fairly quick. Once in the photo op area, it literally goes, “Ok, pose, ready, GO!..and next!” You have just enough time to pose, take the pic, say 2 words, and you’re pushed out. But, it was just enough for me to shake her hand again and say, “Thank you, you’re so beautiful. I love you!”


God, I’m such a goober. I’m also dead from stupid happiness. It’s all downhill from here.

But the day actually got better! Brian had to leave a little early, but I stuck around because there was still Fairuza!

Her table was next to Ricci’s. The line started out nearly just as long, but had shortened considerably by the time I got to it. Once up there, while she was signing the autograph, I told her all about my friend Laura. I may have mentioned her here before, but she was one of my best friends in the world, and unfortunately passed away from breast cancer a little over 10 years ago.

She was one of the funniest, bravest, and most stylish people I’ve ever known. She was also an enormous fan of Fairuza, and looked almost exactly like her. The two of us talked frequently about how we dreamed of actually meeting Fairuza, so I told her that the autograph I was getting was just as much for Laura as it was for me.


Fairuza was incredibly sweet about the whole thing, and gave me a giant hug and posed for four pictures. This is probably the best one of the bunch. I showed it to a friend last night and her first words were, “Oh my God, she could be Laura’s sister!” I tell ya, kids. a guy could have a LOT worse day than meeting his biggest celebrity crush twice, and then share a huge hug with another one.

But there’s still so much more talk about! Stay tuned for Part 2, wherein we go into all the other celebrity encounters from that day, plus my first trip to Jungle Jim’s, and a rad walk through a dead mall. Thanks for reading about me finally being a doofus with Wednesday Addams.

I MET CLIVE BARKER (and a load of other cool folks)!

Hey, would you guys like to hear about how I met my idol? Here we go.

I could go on and on about how important Clive Barker is to me and how much of an artistic influence he’s been, but if you’ve been reading this site or listening to Dark Entries: Goth Radio for any length of time, it’s hardly a secret. So when I found out that he and most of the cast of Hellraiser were going to make the scene at the Days of the Dead horror convention in Atlanta a few weeks ago, I made damn sure I did too. Here’s how it went down.

I’ve mentioned before when covering other conventions that I’m almost always there to see one guest. There’s always the BIG ONE that is worth making that drive, even if no one else shows up. But in this case, it was an embarrassment of demonic riches.

To avoid taking any chances, as soon as I arrive, I make a bee-line for the big one’s table, and get the autograph/picture thing out of the way. The rest of the day is gravy.

In this case, once I got to the hotel, I got my ticket and went straight to the table where you buy your celebrity photo-ops. These are typically more expensive than just paying to take a selfie with someone because they’re done by a professional photographer and given to you later on glossy paper. Unfortunately, Barker was just wrapping up all his photography for the day, so it was too late to do that. I was incredibly bummed out at first, but as you’ll see, it actually worked out in my favor. I wouldn’t have been able to afford it anyway ($85 for just the photo, autograph not included). Gah!

Since Barker was unavailable for a while, I had some time before he would make his way back to his table. The thing is, when you’re Clive Barker, you don’t just get a table; you get your own room.

I checked out the room and was glad I did, because it was all but empty aside from his people, and it gave me some time to drool over all the stuff he was selling. The most notable things were his paintings. Tons of them. They were lined up along the walls, propped up, unframed. You could even see the perforations at the top where he had painted directly onto the paper and torn it out. I was standing in a room full of work that I would slice someone from groin to gullet to own. Aside from meeting him, having one of his originals hanging in my house is also a huge dream of mine. Unfortunately, it will have to remain that for the time being, as the prices ranged from $900-1500. Deej doesn’t roll that deep, folks.

One other advantage of going to the room early was that you could pay early for the autograph, so I did. This became useful later.

After taking advantage of a fantastic lunch buffet upstairs, I headed back down and got in line to meet Clive. By that point, a couple of lines had formed – one fairly long one and another one that was pretty short. The shorter one was for pre-paid folks (ME!) and VIP members. I bypassed all the suckers, slipped into that one, and 5 minutes later, it was Clive time.

While pre-paying, I also went ahead and selected which of his glossy pictures I’d have him autograph. However, his handlers made it very clear that when you get the autograph, that’s all you’re paying for, and you’re not allowed to do the usual at-table selfie. But, you can take a picture of him autographing it. HERE IT IS!

Because there were so many people in line behind me, the whole affair was pretty quick – just long enough for him to sign, and for me to shake his hand and tell him he’s my hero. I also thanked him for turning me on to Ramsey Campbell. And that was that…for now. Read on, because the day’s not done yet.

Time to meet some Cenobites. Most of the cast of Hellraiser was there, including Doug Bradley, Barbie Wilde (Hellraiser 2), Nicholas Vince, Simon Bamford, Ashley Laurence, and Andrew Robinson. It would have been incredibly cool if Sean Chapman, Clare Higgins, and the elusive Grace Kirby could have shown up as well (dream on), but I’m hardly going to complain.

First of all, I probably would have made that drive just to meet Barbie Wilde even if Clive hadn’t been there, and she didn’t disappoint. It was a major thrill to meet her and she was the sweetest lady ever. Throughout the day, we had a few conversations and I can’t say enough nice things about her.

I also can’t wait to dig into both her books. Check out my newest prize possession. I’m really digging the fact that Clive did the cover and that the Soska Sisters, who are equally cool, wrote the forward. Barbie and I spent some time talking about them and how amazing they are. They recorded probably the best promo that anyone ever has for my radio show. Tune in some time soon and you’ll hear it. I’m dying for them to call in for an interview. Speaking of that, Barbie and I also talked about her calling in, and if I could make that happen…dream come true!

I also had some great conversations with Simon Bamford and Nicholas Vince. Bamford especially is one I recommend meeting if you ever get the chance. We spoke quite a bit about surrealist filmmakers and the Dada movement. The dude knows his stuff and is a wealth of information on film history.


Meeting Ashley Laurence (who apparently ages in reverse) was another major check off the Bucket List. I don’t know what box she actually solved and who she actually conjured, but I swear, she’s more beautiful now than she was 30 years ago.

Sat next to her was Doug Bradley, and we did chat for a bit, but it was near the end of the day. I’ve met him before and kind of already did the whole “try not to fan out on Pinhead” thing. Nice guy, though.

Across from him was a table that had a speaker which was blasting some enjoyable punk, which gave the whole experience a nice ambiance, but I don’t think Bradley was digging it. He’d been listening to it all day and looked like he was having none of it. I can’t believe how long it took me to even notice who was responsible for said punk blasting…

It was Eddie Furlong! We had a short but enjoyable conversation, mostly about music and doing conventions. I know he’s had a rocky career, but he came off to me as humble and just happy to speak to his fans.

Next up was Nancy Loomis (Annie from Halloween), and we talked for a bit. Nice lady. She was selling knit caps that had “Hey Jerk, Speed Kills” printed on them, and I’d have been tempted to buy one if I didn’t already own a t-shirt that said the same thing. Plus, these photo ops and autographs ain’t cheap, kids. At this point, my budget for the weekend was pretty much maxed out.

So, the day went on and I was getting ready to split since I had nearly a 3 hour drive ahead of me, but there was one last thing I needed to do. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years of convention attendance, it’s that there are two prime times to talk to a guest: super early on before the line really kicks in, and near the end. That last hour or so before the whole thing is about to close up, the lines have usually completely died down, and they’re just kind of hanging out. They’ve tired, but they’ve maybe had a few drinks, and are more apt to indulge you into a longer conversation.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. I made my way back to Clive Barker’s room, hoping to have a conversation that involved something a little more than, “Hi, you’re my hero…something something about Ramsey Campbell, okthanksbye…”

And it went way better than I could have hoped! I did, in fact, get to have a decent conversation with him. I mentioned that a while back I did a birthday tribute to him on my radio show, which he seemed to be pretty amused with.

Guys, it was then that I heard Clive Barker, my hero, my favorite author and artist in the world, the reason why I nearly changed my college major to English lit, say the words to me, “Well, do you ever do international phone interviews?”

While inwardly, I lost all the shit I had, outwardly, I calmly said, “Yeah, that would be great”. So, I talked to his guy, emails have been sent, and we’ll see what happens.


Wrapping things up, I made one last lap of the retailers and some of the tables I hadn’t visited yet. I got to have a fairly long conversation with PJ Soles, just about out lives and her grandkids. I’ve met her a couple of times before and running into her is always one of the big highlights of a con. I can’t believe that Lynda is totally a grandmother now.

Finally, the evening ended with a cool little encore. My phone, a total piece of 4 year old garbage, was dead at this point, so I needed to charge it before I hit the road. I made my way back upstairs, found a quiet spot with a comfortable chair and outlet, and waited it out. I’d brought my copy of The Hellbound Heart, thinking I might have Clive Barker sign it, but all autographs from him were $60 a pop, so…no. Having some time to kill while the phone was charging, I read the book from cover to cover. It’s not that long and it’s nothing I haven’t done before.

About 3/4ths of the way through, I see out of the corner of my eye Doug Bradley and his wife, hand-in-hand, walking down the hall. We’re the only three people around. I’m sat there reading the book, he looks over, gives me a smile and nod, and I give him one back. Talk about a day.


Oh, and here’s the only costumed character I got a picture of. Kane Hodder was actually there in full Jason getup too, but all I got was old bag-head here.

night of the paper hats

So another classic con was in the books and I came away with only one regret. It was not finally asking Andrew Robinson what in the hell “This is the night of the paper hats!” means while I had the chance. All these years later, and I still don’t have the first clue.

The Witches (1990)

Aside from eating enough dressing to put me into a coma, there are few things I’m more thankful for this time of year than the fact that even when I basically flake out on Halloween, there are three of you that still show up when I decide to spit out 1,000 words on something spooky. So since that’s exactly what’s happening right now, THANK YOU. Alright, down to it then.

I’ve made it a point lately of tracking down some of my childhood/horror blind spots, and I did just that a few weeks ago when the ground started to get a good dusting of crunchy leaves, and orange and black hadn’t yet been eclipsed by red and green.

This time around, it was 1990’s The Witches, adapted from the book by Ronald Dahl, directed by Nicolas Roeg, and produced by Jim Henson Productions. I actually only became aware of this film just a couple of years ago, and knew nothing about it at all until I decided to brew a pot of coffee and settle into it. What a fun ride! I intentionally stayed away from reading anything about the plot or the cast, so here’s my totally blind, blow-by-blow reaction as I went along.

First of all, if there was any doubt that it did in fact take place in 1990, look no further than nine-year-old Luke’s acid wash jeans. For the few of you who still haven’t seen it (spoilers ahead, by the way), the basic gist is that he and his grandmother Helga go to Norway for a vacation and end up at a hotel, where they run afoul of some…WITCHES.

It’s pretty straightforward stuff for an early ’90 kids fantasy movie, but the hybrid of a British/American cast and crew give it a different ambiance than comparable films of its time, and there are some unexpected turns along the way.


Straight out of the gate though, shit gets dark when we see that Helga’s past in the old country took some weird, tragic turns. We are to assume that either witches are responsible, or Grandma fucked around with Quitters, Inc. and it didn’t work out.

There’s also a subplot involving Helga’s childhood friend who is locked inside a painting like something out of Night Gallery. Speaking of which, the banner at the top of this very site may look familiar to some of you.

Julia witch

We get one of our first glimpses at an actual witch when Luke is in his tree house and “Julia” from Hellraiser strolls up. I’ll admit, I was disappointed that the scene didn’t end with her bashing his head in with a hammer before he gets a chance to “empty the old bladder…”

Mouse setup

Mouse setup 2
Luke’s pet mice get to hang out in essentially a homemade version of Mouse Trap, only much more Halloween. And it was here that I spotted something else – the book in this shot. It’s Lady by Thomas Tryon.

Too many years in film school have encouraged me to believe that this isn’t an accident, and a little bit of research may prove my theory correct. Lady tells the story of Woody, a boy Luke’s age, who spends his boyhood enamored with Lady Harleigh, a grieving widow who is haunted by a mysterious past.

An alluring, older woman…a woman with a mysterious, tragic past…Nice touch.

houston first appearance

Speaking of alluring, older women, enter Eva Ernst, played by Angelica Houston. She’s going full Houston here, and looking like icy sex on feet. Ernst heads up the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which of course is just a front for an underground conspiracy of witches who plan on turning all the world’s children into mice. I love this exchange between her and one of her biggest fans:

“I’ve been so looking forward to meeting you. You look marvelous.”
“Hmm. I wish I could say the same for you”

Houston delivers the line perfectly and then just cold keeps on walking. It’s enough to make your broom elevate, if you know what I mean.

Mr. Bean

Wait, Mr. Bean’s in this!? Didn’t expect that!


Wait, Barbara Jane Horrocks (Bubble!) is in this!?

…And Deej just outed himself as an Absolutely Fabulous fan. I’m ashamed of nothing.

Now we come to the money shot – that face reveal! I think it’s easy to forget how impressive Jim Henson’s projects were in the special effects department back then. It wasn’t all puppetry and cute swamp monsters. This is some seriously shocking and intricate prosthetic work, and I can understand how big of a deal this would have been to 12 year olds seeing it for the first time. It holds up well, and I certainly didn’t expect it. I so miss the era when kids movies didn’t shy away from going for the scares.


I love the animatronics of Mouse Luke. All the sequences in which he and his friend Bruno (also a mouse at this point) are running around in the hotel seamlessly alternate between live, trained mice and puppetry. I can’t tell you how much I miss all the innovative effects work during that era. Today’s flashy CGI would have made all these sequences so predictable and devoid of any of the charm displayed here.

Mr. Lucton's Freedom

While I’m on a roll here, we also get this shot of a book that Luke’s grandmother is reading – Mr. Lucton’s Freedom, by Francis Brett Young. It tells the story of a man on the lam who assumes another identity after he’s presumed dead, a theme that also shows up periodically in the film. Bruno eventually accepts his fate as being a mouse for the rest of his life, and the idea of duality is played out in the witches posing as normal humans while hiding their true, hideous faces.

baby in stroller

Also, they straight up tried to kill a baby by pushing it off a cliff. That happened.

In the end, Eva Ernst is defeated and Bubble (I’m sorry, I refuse to call her anything else), who was posing as Ernst’s assistant, turns out to be on the side of good and turns Luke back into a kid again and oh my god he’s totally naked. They just showed that little boy’s “Mr. Bean” in this movie.

It was a different time, folks.

I highly recommend giving this one a watch if you don’t feel I spoiled too much here. From what I understand, the book has a considerably different ending and is also worth a read. I may get to it at some point.

Expect more of me finally checking out more missed “classics” on RG in the days to come. I guess now is a good a time as any to confess that I’ve never seen Blade Runner. So yeah, stay tuned…

Days of the Dead Part 2!

Alright kids, I’m back for Part 2 of this. I hope you guys have enjoyed your extra long Memorial Day weekend. I spent it catching Solo, doing my radio show, and catching up on some reading. I would have gotten more done that involved being online, but I had a huge thunder storm here today and my power knocked out for most of the afternoon. It only just came back on about an hour ago. Time to read on and check out some pictures of me getting even more dwarfed by tall celebrities.

After awkwardly flirting with Taryn from A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3, it was time to make the most of what I left of the afternoon. As I’ve said in just about every account of every convention I’ve ever been to, time flies by when you’re spending a paycheck on autographs. At this point in the day, I just had a couple of hours left before everyone packed up and made their way to the bar or some screening or just back to their hotel rooms to get some peace and quiet.

One of my biggest priorities this time around was Tony Todd. Of course, we all know him as The Candyman, but he’s had an incredibly versatile career and has earned his horror icon status. Also, if you haven’t caught 1990’s Night of the Living Dead remake, directed by Tom Savini and starting Tony Todd, you haven’t lived. Made long before the current trend of rebooting/remaking/re-imagining/re-whatevering every single genre classic, it actually is one of the rare examples of a remake that not only does the original justice, but was made by people who had a genuine passion for the material. With that horror pedigree involved, it didn’t disappoint. And neither did Tony!

Tony ToddCandyman autograph

First off, dude is incredibly nice. He was kind enough to talk to me a little bit about my show, some of his hobbies, and some of the films he has coming up. He even hosted a college radio show back in the day.

Notice, he wrote “Goth Radio” just above his name in the autograph. Dark Entries has officially been blessed by The Candyman.


Nearby was also Dee Snyder and Linda Blair, who I’d met before. But was more interested in the guy around the corner – Derek Mears. But Deej, you’ve met him before too, right? Yes, but I’m an idiot and the first time around, I totally forgot to get a picture with him. I told him that, and also warned him against the overpriced drinks at the bar, because I was still nursing my $12 whisky and coke from before (Sorry about nearly spilling it on some of your pictures, Derek!). We chatted a bit about L.A. and projects he’s been involved in, and he was cool enough to give me a pic for free. It’s something he does because he’s just that cool. Despite all the monsters this guy has portrayed over the years, he is hands down, the coolest, nicest guy in horror, and a true fan. I can’t say enough good things about him.

By this point, the lines were dwindling down, and so was the con. The next thing on my agenda was a screening of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was smart enough to get into the front of the line early because the turnout for it was much bigger than expected (so big, that we had to wait an extra 45 minutes while the room was expanded to house everyone). It’s always cool to see one of your favorites on the big screen, especially when it’s something that I’ve only seen on the big screen once before, during a special Halloween event. Sat near me was a nice lady and her daughter, who I chatted with a little bit. The daughter had never seen the film before, and it was fun to see her reaction, even if she was confused by the ending. It was the 1980’s, hon. Just go with it.

I topped it off by popping in to catch a couple of songs during a performance by Elzig, who can best be described as an Elvis Presley / Misfits / Danzig tribute act, who predominantly plays songs by everyone mentioned above. All of that blends about as well as you can imagine it would.


Making my way to my car, which was parked on the roof of a nearby parking garage, I looked back at the hotel and this particular bit of Charlotte, taking in the moment. Another convention down, a ridiculous amount of money spent, and a few more memories in the bank. Can’t wait for the next one.


Days of the Dead Part 1!

Tonight’s a special night. Not just because I’m going to write about a seriously cool thing I did last weekend, but because I’m actually going to write about a seriously cool thing I did last weekend, and not 3 months ago. Retro Ghouls is actually up to date…for once!

Last weekend was the Days of the Dead horror convention in Charlotte and ol’ Deej made the scene. Days of the Dead is well established, but this is their first time setting up camp in Charlotte. The first pleasant thing I found was that it was at the Sheraton, which is the former home of the Mad Monster Party, so it’s an old familiar stomping ground of mine. I’ve spent many a weekend walking that long hallway, surrounded by monsters and fans. The name of the con may not be the same, but it was nice to see some familiar faces (both famous and not), and even some of the same staff. From what I hear, The Sheraton will no longer house the Mad Monster Party, but will be the home of Days of the Dead for the next few years, so it’s a win for the fans either way. Personally, I don’t care what you call it. Fill the place with cast members from my favorite slasher flicks, make the vibe fun, and just take my damn money already. This just means I get TWO horror cons in Charlotte every year. Double win!

Let’s get down to business. I arrived around noon and was starving, so instead of making my usual straight shot to my favorite celebs’s table, I went to the bar to inhale a fantastic burger. Just look at this thing.


Unfortunately, while the food was totally worth the money, the drinks weren’t. Later in the day, I was treated to a $12 “whisky and ginger ale”, which basically amounted to a $11.00 cup of ginger ale with maybe $1.00 worth of a tiny splash of whisky. I paid almost as much for that as I did for the burger. So, lesson learned: Find alternative ways to booze it up unless you want all your autograph money to go down the drain at the bar.

Back to positives. Time for Heather Langenkamp! This isn’t the first time I’ve met her, but she still remains my all-time favorite scream queen, so she’s worth a second autograph. And I’m not a multiple autograph kind of guy. At this point, she and almost the entire cast of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 were at a panel that was letting out in a few minutes, so I just hung out in the newly formed line at her table, waiting for her to show up. She must have gotten held up though, because that wait lasted for nearly an hour.

It did provide a little entertainment though. I chatted it up with some other horror nerds that were around me, as well as Linnea Quigley, who I love to death, and who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting before. I told her about how I play stuff from the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack on my show all the time, and we talked about Trash and some other projects she’s been part of. She’s another one who is incredibly gracious to her fans. Can’t say enough good things about her.

Also, Thom Matthews (Tommy Jarvis from Friday the 13th Part VI) was signing nearby, and that’s when I spotted this bit of trouble brewing. Ummm…

Tommy and Jason (1)

Finally, Heather showed up, we chatted for a bit, and I congratulated her on the Days of the Dead Hall of Fame award that she’d received on Friday night. Here she is with Tommy Faircloth, the other recipient of the award.

Heather and Tommy

Tommy and I run in the same circles and he’s a solid guy. He’s a Columbia, SC based filmmaker and also organizes the Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest, which is happening this weekend in Charleston. This festival is absolutely cursed though, I’m convinced of it. I’ve missed it every single year it’s been on and it looks like I’ll have to miss it again this weekend. But, I’ve got SO MANY THINGS happening this summer that it nearly makes up for it. I’ll barely have a free weekend from now till September. I’ve mentioned him before on RG as being the director of Family Possessions, which features Felissa Rose. He recently cast her again in his new film, A Nun’s Curse, for which he’s launched an Indiegogo. So go check that out and maybe throw him a few bucks if you can.

Heather Langenkamp

Heather and I did the whole autograph/picture thing and also talked about Hellraiser: Judgment (she has a cameo!), which I’ll be reviewing soon. I’ve seen it and believe me, I’ve got things to say. Best off, I finally scored this copy of her documentary, I Am Nancy, which I’ve been dying to see forever:

I Am Nancy

All the rest of the Dream Warriors were set up nearby (except for Patricia Arquette), so I went down the line and met EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

First up was Penelope “Welcome to primetime, bitch!” Sudrow, aka “Jennifer”. She’s actually the only one I didn’t get a picture with, only because after talking to her for a while, I honestly just forgot. Got the autograph though, as you’ll see in a bit…

Ira Heiden

Next up is one of my favorites, Ira “The Wizard Master” Heiden, aka “Will”. He was just as cool to talk to as you would imagine, and luckily no one else was at his table at the time, so we talked for quite a bit. Pretend that I Photoshopped Emperor Palpatine lightning coming out of our hands. It’s getting late.


Next up was Bradley “The Human Puppet” Gregg, aka “Phillip”. We didn’t have long to talk, but he was kind enough to record a promo for my show. Cool guy! Luckily, they didn’t seat him near any windows.


Rodney “The Quiet One” Eastman, aka “Joey” was next. He was wearing the raddest scarf in the building. Is it just me, or did Joey have the easiest gig in this movie? Dude said like two lines of dialogue and then got into some bondage play with a hot, topless poster girl. I mean, as far as ways to go out, it beats getting turned into a roach.


Next up was Ken “It’s time to stop guessin’ and start messin’” Sagoes, aka “Kincaid”. Speaking of dialogue, if you don’t think Kincaid got the best lines in this movie (maybe even better than Freddy himself), you haven’t paid attention.


And finally, that brings us to Jennifer “Beautiful and BAD” Rubin, aka “Taryn”. She’s still lovely after all these years, and was incredibly sweet. And TALL. Granted, being taller than me isn’t exactly that hard to pull off… This is one of my favorite pics of the day. Needle glove! And best of all, Rodney Eastman was the photographer.

What about the autographs, Deej? This is now the most expensive piece of glossy photo paper I own. Trust me, it was not an easy decision, choosing between getting all of these or getting the professional group photo with the cast (yes, that was a thing), but I’m happy with which way I went. It was costing a pretty penny either way. WORTH IT.

Dream Warriors Autographs

That’s it for now. Check out Part 2 coming soon, where I meet two of the nicest guys in horror (one for the second time), and add more to the radio show promo collection. There’s no bigger thrill as a fan than awkwardly shoving your phone in a famous monster’s face and convincing them to read for you. See you soon!

Saying goodbye to Pic-A-Flick Video

Today we’re here to pay our respects to my last local Pic-A-Flick Video. At the risk of showing my age (as if all the Jem and the Holograms nostalgia didn’t do that already), I worked at a few video stores in high school. Those experiences alone could fill up a post here, but we’ll focus on the Pic-A-Flick Video. Pick-A-Flick is (was?) a chain in the southeast that kind of ruled the game where I grew up. In the hey-day of video stores, there were plenty little mom and pop places to choose from the P-A-F was the most common sight. They even gave Blockbuster a run for their money. I can think of no less than 5 locations in a pretty small radius from my house, one of which employed me for a bit. But that’s a post for another day.

Back when I was researching the possibilities of video stores that were still kicking around me, I found out about this one. So a couple of months ago, I gave them a call and found out that they were not long for this world. You know what that means: VIDEO STORE CLOSING SALE!

Let’s go on a trip!


Am I the only one who apprecaites that those two businesses are next to each other?


Right away, I was greeted with the first of several sad signs advertising the store’s demise. I went somewhere around the second week of March, and the place was closing on March 31st. Of course, the prices got cheaper as the month went on.


This sign breaks down the price drops as the month went on. Of course, there is that temptation to hold out and just snatch up a bunch of Blu-rays for pennies at the end of the month, but I didn’t feel like making another trip out to that side of town, and there was the possibility that all the good stuff would be picked through by that point anyway. Already, the general public had the same thought I did: “Raid the video games!“. All of the PS4 and X-Box One games were gone, but there were still some choice PS3 ones left. I don’t have a PS4 (yet), but I do dust off the PS3 from time to time and try to catch up on all the games I’ve missed out on in the past few years. So, I snagged a few. More on that later.

While there, I spoke for quite a while with Jim and Jan, the couple who ran the place. I found out that they were actually the owners of all of the Pic-A-Flicks in this area going back for decades. We swapped stories about the one I worked at briefly in high school. They had an incredible memory and remembered almost all of the former employees from that store (I guess I wasn’t there long enough to hit their radar). They also remembered my 5th grade teacher who worked there for a while when I was a kid. It was always a trip to go by there and see Mr. Brazille out in captivity at his second job. I won’t bring down this post by commenting on the fact that one of my favorite teachers even had to get a second job to make ends meet. I also won’t discuss the exclusive field trip to Charlotte that he and another teacher took me on one Saturday afternoon. True story…but, that, like so many things, is yet another post for another day.


Back to business. As fun as the nostalgia trip was, it was kind of sad to see a few other eager shoppers picking the bones of a dying piece of American pop culture, especially when it’s one that’s so near and dear to my black little heart (and so many of yours). Also, watching the owners sit by and watch as strangers picked apart the last remaining pieces of what is likely the last Pic-A-Flick I’ll ever see, hit me a little bit. There were still two more weeks left in the month, and while I didn’t go back after this one trip, I wonder what it was like for Jim and Jan to sit there day after day, reminiscing as they went down with the ship.


Oh of course I hit up the horror section. The selection was actually pretty impressive, and while I rarely buy DVD’s anymore, I didn’t show up that night just to see the sights. Let’s go shopping!


Here’s my haul. Some of you may notice that there is a bit of a Clive Barker theme going on. Three of the four of the movies shown here are either based on a Clive Barker story or are Barker-adjacent (ahem, Hellraiser: Judgement). Contracted is the one exception, but I’m equally as excited about seeing that one. One of the stars is Caroline Williams, who I’ve met a couple of times at The Mad Monster Party, and she is one of the nicest genre stars around. She’s incredibly cool to her fans and will talk your ear off if you let her. Trust me, that’s not a complaint.

I’ve still not watched any of them, but that’s coming. I did pop in Resident Evil 5 for a bit though. A “bit” was all I needed. The 4th game is one of my favorite games of all time, but this mess was just a giant pile of digital wank. I don’t know who’s idea it was to make the entire damn game an escort mission, but they should be punished by…being forced to play Resident Evil 5. Ugh.

But Deej, what about that new Hellraiser? Oh, THAT SHIT WILL BE REVIEWED, SON. Stay tuned…

Thanks for the memories, Pic-A-Flick. I’m genuinely sorry for all the times I didn’t rewind.

Pic A Flick closing