Eleven Eerie Retro Reasons Not to Miss Days of the Dead Atlanta 2019

Posted on: Jan 24th, 2019 By:

Days of the Dead returns to Sheraton Hotel AtlantaFriday-Sunday Jan 25-27! Here are our Retro Reasons to catch this year’s chills indoors!

1) SUCH CENOBITES TO SHOW YOU! It’s been way too long since Clive Barker has been at an Atlanta con, and he’s never appeared here alongside Doug Bradley, Barbie Wilde, Nicholas Vince, and Simon Banford, who played cenobites and denizens of Midian in horror cinematic classics HELLRAISER (1987) and NIGHTBREED (1990).  And if that’s not enough Hell, HELLRAISER human cast members Ashley Lawrence and Andrew Robinson will also be there! The sinister Cenobites may be masters and mistresses of inflicting a puzzling kind of pain, but we’ve met Clive and actors who play them and can attest they are nastily nice. See the entire eerie ensemble together on one stage for the Cenobites Panel at 7 p.m. Friday, and signing and doing photo ops all weekend.

2) THE CANDYMAN CAN! Just when you thought that’s a helluva lot of Clive Barker, Tony Todd is in the hellhouse, too. Hear him tell talk about his own dip into the dark dreams of one’s of horror’s greatest authors Friday at 9 p.m.

3) SPIN ANOTHER ROUND OF FREEBIRD!  Not only are Sid Haig and Bill Moseley back, but they’re offering a dual in-costume photo-op in their iconic roles of Otis and Captain Spaulding (Rob Zombie’s HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES (2003) and THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005)! We can’t put into words how much we love these guys. Sid is one of those rare B-movie icons and character actors whose career spans the decades back to Jack Hill’s blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Quite frankly you scared the sh-t out of us and since we’re not easily scared, for that we salute you both! Experience Sid Haig’s High on the Hog Panel Sunday at noon and Bill’s panel Sunday at 2 p.m.

4) TRICK OR TREAT! John Carpenter’s original HALLOWEEN (1978) is the cult classic that really kickstarted the slasher oeuvre! Two Michael Myers, Jim Winburn and Tony Moran, will be stalking Days of the Dead this year, along with doomed victims Sandy Johnson, Nancy Loomis, and PJ Soles, whom we can’t love enough because she’s also Riff Randell, the punk rebel who put the rock into ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979). The HALLOWEEN Panel is Saturday at Noon.

5) BREAK OUT THE SOUR BALLS! NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988) stars Amelia Kinkade and Linnea Quigley know more than a little about throwing a graveyard party! See them on stage at 8 p.m. Friday night!

6) KAIJU KRAZINESS!!! The Japanese created monsters and superheroes like no others, and we are ready to bow in gratitude when we meet two of the men inside these wacky wonderful costumes, Tsutomo Kitagawa (MILLENNIUM GODZILLA [2000]) and Bin Furuya (ULTRAMAN TV series [1966])! Catch them on the very first panel of the weekend at 6 p.m. Friday.

7) SO MANY RETRO CULT HORROR PEOPLE! If the line-up we listed already wasn’t enough to inspire you to get off your couch and get downtown, see double with two Jasons ATLRetro pal Kane Hodder (FRIDAY THE 13TH VII-X) and C.J. Graham (VI) Sunday at 1 pm, Edward Furlong rides in to talk about TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1991) Saturday at 2 pm, pose with Alex Vincent (CHILD’s PLAY [1988]) and the CULT OF CHUCKY (2018) puppet in the funnest photo op of the weekend, test your vocal capacity with SCREAM (1996) stars Skeet Ulrich and Roger Jackson (voice of Ghostface) (SCREAM panel SAT 1 pm), Plus Christine Romero (CREEPSHOW [1982]), John Amplas (George Romero’s MARTIN [1978]), Larry Zerner (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III), guitar legend Vinnie Vincent (KISS), Kathy Najimy (Peg, KING OF THE HILL & HOCUS POCUS [1993]) and more!

8) BLACK AND BLUE GORE-IFIC PANELS! Look for celebrities on the Black Track. But bruises can also be Blue, so be sure to check the Blue Track for plenty more tricks or treats for the diehard horror fan, including a who’s who of Atlanta’s local horror talent. One highlight is the Women of Indie Horror panel Saturday at Noon, moderated by Lynne Hansen  and featuring Kool Kat Vanessa WrightBrooklyn Ewing, Melissa Kunnar, Tiffany Warren and Viva T!

9) FRIGHTENING FILMS! The Independent Horror Film Fest features new indie horror you won’t see in theaters plus resurrects Retro cult classics. We always look forward to the Etheria Film Festival, spotlighting works by emerging women directors

10) SPOOKTACULAR SHOPPING. Horror cons are the perfect place to stock up on both macabre movie memorabilia, cult classics on DVD and creepy clothing, costumes and accessories!

11) MACABRE MAKE-UP, CREEPY COSTUMES AND PHANTAMAGORIC PARTIES!! Check the schedule for make-up demonstrations and competitions, , tattoo contest and more!  Friday Night Frights include Scareoke at 11 pm! On Saturday, scare up your best costume and make-up and win prizes in the Chaostume Costume Contest (3 p.m.), followed by That Damn Tattoo Contest (4:30 p.m.), FX Makeup Showdown (6 p.m.), VIP party (9 pm; open to VIP ticketed attendees only), and a horrorific late night party (10 pm) with Kool Kats The Casket Creatures and ELZIG!

Days of the Dead main con hours are Fri. Jan. 25 from 5 to 11 p.m.; Sat. Jan. 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sun. Jan. 27 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with parties going late into the night on Friday and Saturday. VIP badges get daily early access (4:30 pm & 10:30 pm) and preferred seating. For more info, visit http://www.daysofthedead.net/atlanta/

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Retro Review: It’s Simply CHILD’S PLAY: Splatter Cinema and the Plaza Theatre Throw a 25th Birthday Bash for Chucky!

Posted on: Jan 7th, 2013 By:

Splatter Cinema present CHILD’S PLAY (1987); Dir: Tom Holland; Starring: Brad Dourif, Chris Sarandon and Catherine Hicks; Tue. Jan. 8 @ 9:30 p.m. and Fri. Jan. 10 at 11:30 p.m.; Plaza Theatre; Trailer here.

By Aleck Bennett
Contributing Writer

Who could have predicted that a child’s doll would boast a career of evil spanning 25 years?

By 1988, the slasher film had seen its peak. The A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise delivered a fourth movie that fell far short of 1987’s well-received third entry. The FRIDAY THE 13TH series offered up a lackluster seventh film that attempted to pit Jason Voorhees against a distaff CARRIE knockoff. Producer Moustapha Akkad attempted to revive Michael Myers in an ineffective fourth HALLOWEEN film without the participation of John Carpenter. Meanwhile, the horror film world was looking across the pond for its new icons of terror: the Cenobites of Clive Barker’s groundbreaking HELLRAISER.

It might have seemed laughable on its face to combat this by saying, “well, what about a serial killing doll?” It’s not like the premise of a killer doll had never been done before. From the ventriloquist dummy with a mind of its own of 1948’s DEAD OF NIGHT to THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s Talky Tina, and from the possessed clown of 1982’s POLTERGEIST to the Zuni fetish doll of 1975’s TRILOGY OF TERROR, the killing machine posing as an innocuous inanimate figure was a familiar face on the horror landscape. But resting a relatively big-budgeted slasher film on the stuffed shoulders of a Good Guy doll must have seemed a risky proposition.

And in the wrong hands, it could have been. Thankfully, the screenplay was tightly executed, displaying a surprising intelligence and wit. The film finds serial killer Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray (Brad Dourif of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, WISE BLOOD and the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy) mortally wounded and pursued by Chicago homicide detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon of FRIGHT NIGHT and THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS). On the verge of death, Chucky takes refuge in a toy store and uses a voodoo ritual to pass his soul into a handy Good Guy doll. The doll finds its way into the Barclay family home, where the now-sentient doll seeks to continue the mortal Chucky’s killing spree…and find a way to get out of his molded plastic and rubber holding cell.

The film was helmed by veteran horror writer-director Tom Holland (CLASS OF 1984, PSYCHO II, FRIGHT NIGHT) with a seriousness that served as a perfect counterweight to the cartoonish possibilities that an ersatz Cabbage Patch Kid slaughtering Chicagoans might pose. And his cast of familiar faces (and voices) helped sell that premise. In particular, the sardonic performance of Brad Dourif as Chucky walked the tightrope between threatening and humorous deftly, simultaneously communicating Chucky’s thirst for violence and his recognition that being stuck in a doll’s body is almost some kind of cosmic joke at his expense.

The novel concept, combined with the effects of the incredible Kevin Yagher and Dourif’s indelible voice work, quickly established Chucky as a most unlikely horror icon, and the film spawned several sequels in a franchise that continues to this day. Filming on the most recent installment, CURSE OF CHUCKY, was completed in Fall 2012.

Wanna play? Come out to the Plaza Theatre and celebrate Chucky’s quarter-century of slaughter with a special presentation of CHILD’S PLAY from Splatter Cinema. It’s not every day a doll turns 25.

Aleck Bennett is a writer, blogger, pug warden, pop culture enthusiast, raconteur and bon vivant from the greater Atlanta area. Visit his blog at doctorsardonicus.wordpress.com

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Retro Review: Who Can Take a Valentine and Turn It into a Scream? The CANDYMAN Can

Posted on: Feb 13th, 2012 By:

By Philip Nutman
Contributing Writer

Splatter Cinema Presents CANDYMAN (1992); Dir: Bernard Rose; Based on the short story by Clive Barker; Starring Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen, Xander Berkeley; Tues. Feb. 14 9:30 PM; Plaza Theatre; Trailer here.

Based on the Clive Barker short story, “The Forbidden,” which appeared in the fifth volume of his BOOKS OF BLOOD, CANDYMAN (1992) was a considerable hit with horror fans and made actor Tony Todd something of a horror icon. His credits also include the Tom Savini remake of George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1990), THE CROW (1994), THE ROCK (1996) and FINAL DESTINATION (2000), among many others.

While not heavy on the gore quotient, CANDYMAN is one scary movie. The original story was set in England, but the filmic version was transposed to an American setting ­ specifically, Chicago ­ to make it more commercial. Ironically, the movie was made by a British director, Bernard Rose, who had previously made the incredibly creepy PAPERHOUSE (1988).

CANDYMAN stars Virginia Madsen (sister of Michael, of RESERVOIR DOGS ear-slicing infamy) and Xander Berkeley. Xander is perhaps best known for playing George Mason, Jack Bauer’s arsehole boss, in the first incarnation of the hit TV series 24; Jack had to blow his brains out. And since we here at ATLRetro know our pop culture trivia, Tony Todd played an African terrorist in a later season.

Virginia Madsen in CANDYMAN (TriStar Pictures, 1992)

We don’t believe in plot spoilers, so we’re not going to tell you the narrative of CANDYMAN. If you’ve never read the Barker story, you should hunt it down (Note: IN THE FLESH was the American title of the fifth volume of THE BOOKS OF BLOOD) or if you have never seen this movie, then you’re in for a scary treat thanks to the fine folks at Splatter Cinema and the wonderful Plaza Theatre. If you’ve seen the film, you know what we’re talking about. Horror movies are always better seen on the big screen. Either way, do yourself a favor and go see CANDYMAN.

Contributing Writer Philip Nutman has been FANGORIA magazine’s longest running reporter ­ 30 years this May ­ and knows a thing or two about horror flicks. He is also the author of the cult classic zombie novel, WET WORK, and just wrapped filming ABED, the sickest zombie movie ever, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Kool Kat of the Week: Raising Hell with Justin Welborn at Friday’s BLACK METAL BURLESQUE Fundraiser for DRACULA: THE ROCK OPERA at 7 Stages

Posted on: Aug 4th, 2011 By:

Last February, composer/musician Rob Thompson and The Little 5 Points Rockstar Orchestra drove a stake into our preconceptions of rock opera as a dead-and-buried art form and put the bite back into vampire lore at 7 Stages with HAUS VON DRACUL, PART 1. If you’ve been stuck in your coffin and missed hearing about it, check out ATLRetro’s interview with actor Chris Love, who injected hard rockin’ passion into the often-staid role of Jonathan Harker, and our review here.

Now Rob and the rest of that crazed and creative team are hard at work on the terrifying second act of what’s now titled DRACULA: THE ROCK OPERA which will have its premiere run at 7 Stages from April 19-May 13, 2012. However, as anyone in the arts knows, even a labor of creative love needs some cold hard cash to make it to the stage. So raise the curtain on BLACK METAL BURLESQUE, a one-of-a-kind fundraiser this Friday at 7 Stages featuring not just cast members and the Little 5 Points Rockstar but other notorious local talent such as The Chameleon Queen, Loki Shane DeFriece (Prentice Suspensions), Macabre Puppets’ Chris Brown (Dad’s Garage’s SCARLETT’S WEB), , set designer/make-up artist Shane Morton (Silver Scream Spookshow), and many more. Tickets are just $15 and the show is at 10 p.m., but a pre-show party kicks off at 9 p.m. and continues after the show.

Dracula's lovely brides take more than a few bites out of Jonathan Harker (Chris Love) in last February's performance of HAUS VON DRACUL at 7 Stages.

For a sneak preview of this sexy, surreal and sinister evening, we turned to actor and stunt artist Justin Welborn, one of the mad masterminds behind the fearsome festivities and no stranger to the world of horror. In addition to performing at most of Atlanta’s theaters, he directed Sensurround Stagings’ production of Clive Barker’s THE HISTORY

Justin Welborn in THE SIGNAL. Magnolia Pictures, 2007.

OF THE DEVIL, is a founding member of Black Knight Stunts, and starred in the independent horror movie THE SIGNAL, which screened at Sundance in 2007. More scary screen credits include THE FINAL DESTINATION (2009), DANCE OF THE DEAD (2008), and THE CRAZIES (2010). Oh, and Justin does yoga, drinks Jamesons and his favorite movie is COOL HAND LUKE (1967).

How did you get involved in DRACULA: THE ROCK OPERA and what’s your role?

I am assisting Del Hamilton (Artistic Director of 7 Stages) with the direction and artistic production design of DRACULA. It’s strange how I got started with this whole three ring circus, i,e. The Little 5 Points Rock Star Orchestra. I’ve worked with, for and at 7 Stages for many years, and I’d seen the Rock Star guys and gals do their Iron Maiden show and their Pink Floyd Tribute, and always had an amazing time. I knew they had done JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and HAIR, and so when Heidi Howard (Education Director/Production Manager, 7 Stages) asked me to come in and help coordinate the stunt work and violence in their 666 CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEVIL show, I was more than excited to help. I found the whole Devil crew to be very eager, slightly disorganized and maybe a little drunk. I loved it. And the show’s finale was like nothing I’d ever seen at an Atlanta theater in 12 years! Just mad!

The Krampus float in last year's L5P Halloween Parade.

I came in again the next year for A KRAMPUS CHRISTMAS and ended up spending more time directing for real, rather than just stunts. The more I gave, the more they gave back. We began to figure out how this theater world and their music world could mesh and synthesize into something new and fun for everyone. So when I was asked to help with DRACULA, I jumped at the chance for another go! I didn’t know what I’d be doing for sure, but right from the start, I began directing and troubleshooting in a kind of cooperative effort to make the best show possible. I wasn’t in charge, but at a certain point I was given—by unspoken agreement more or less—great license to help create and direct the show. I was really quite honored at how much trust they put into me.

The first act, titled HAUS VON DRACUL, premiered at 7 Stages last February. Is the second act’s script and music completed or at what stage is at now?
The second act is still in development but is coming along swimmingly. Rob Thompson, the creative mind before and behind our vampire opera, has been working on this project for almost two years, and as I understand it, is approaching a completed score. I think we’re still trying to figure out what we want to do with the end. We are using Bram Stoker’s book as our cornerstone, but translating that into music and a stunning visual stage show takes some real ingenuity.

Considering it’s a rock musical about a vampire, Black Metal Burlesque sounds like the perfect theme for a fundraiser. Any story behind how the idea came about?
Rob told me one night at Java Lords that he wanted to do a fundraiser based on Venom’s BLACK METAL album that would include burlesque girls and live suspension acts. Then he described a few possible numbers. So I took what he said, weighed some options and the favors I had left in town, and decided if not now, when? I wanted to keep the DRACULA buzz rolling, and help support a theater I believe in. Plus the excitement from the group only intensifies every time we up our game and really keep challenging ourselves with what we can do artistically when we work together. It’s very exciting to see these artists working toward a common goal with people they normally wouldn’t get a chance to perform around.

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