AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: Cult Film Club Podcast – Trick or Treat (1986)

Posted in Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2017 by Paxton

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That’s right, my friends, Cult Film Club is back. Today we are releasing episode 41 where we talk about the 1986 horror flick, Trick or Treat.

Trick or Treat

We’ve threatened to do this movie before and we thought this Halloween was the perfect time to do it.  The movie stars Family Ties’ Marc Price with cameos by Gene Simmons, Ozzy Ozbourne, and Showbiz Pizza’s Billy Bob (not even joking).  It’s a classic 80s horror movie that is better than you think it is with a rocking soundtrack.

Download the show on iTunes, Stitcher, Google or any of your usual podcasting places.  Or you can listen to it directly right here.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Original Ghost Rider (1949)

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, Genres, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, Western with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2017 by Paxton

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Everyone knows Ghost Rider. The flaming skull. The Hellcycle. Penance Stare. Hell, just last week I posted a Cavalcade Comics cover featuring the motorcycle riding demon fighting the Headless Horseman.  But did you know that Ghost Rider was originally a supernatural western hero?

Back in 1949, Magazine Enterprises was publishing a western comic called Tim Holt: Cowboy Star of the Movies.  In issue #11, a backup story was introduced featuring the ghostly first appearance of the Ghost Rider.

The story was written by Ray Krank and drawn by Dick Ayers. It told the origin of the Ghost Rider.  Rex Fury, aka the Calico Kid, is ambushed by renegade Indians.  He fights the attacking braves while saying classy things like this:

fire water

It *was* 1949.  Anyway, the Indians’ numbers eventually overcome the Calico Kid and they throw him and his Chinese manservant, Sing-Song (I’m not even joking.  1949, guys.), into the “Devil’s Sink”, a bottomless whirlpool from which no one that has fallen in has ever returned.  Except Rex Fury.  After somehow washing up inside a hidden cave system, Rex decides to come back as the spectral Ghost Rider to fight crime and get the men who sent him to his watery grave.

Ghost Rider would appear in Tim Holt a few more times before, in 1950, getting his own title.

For this new title the character was again drawn by co-creator Dick Ayers. The first issue retold the character’s origin from Tim Holt #11 but with new art and an expanded story. This time they expanded on his time in the Devil’s Sink.  Instead of washing up in a hidden cave system, he enters something like the afterlife, or Purgatory.  While there he learns skills from famous Western heroes like Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane, Kit Carson, etc so he can return to the living and fight evil.  They even give him the suit.

The title was a different type of Western and the Ghost Rider was a different type of Western hero.  The book was essentially a horror title.  The stories pitted our hero against a motley assortment of ghosts, monsters, cursed treasure, witches, and demons.

I’ve read a few issues of this title and there are some fun issues. Ghost Rider even manages to meet another of my AWESOME-tober-fest theme monsters, Frankenstein.  In issue #10.

The character was a big hit for Magazine Enterprises for nearly a decade until the company went bankrupt. In 1967, after the trademark on the character had expired, Marvel Comics released their own almost exact copy of the character in his own title written by Roy Thomas and again drawn by Dick Ayers.

Unfortunately Marvel stripped out all of the horror and supernatural elements and made Ghost Rider a more traditional western gunfighting hero.  Several years later, after Marvel introduced their motorcycle riding demon version of Ghost Rider, they renamed this Western character Phantom Rider.  Phantom Rider would team up with the new Ghost Rider several times for Marvel.

For Halloween a few years ago I did a Cavalcade Comics cover featuring a meet up of the Original Ghost Rider and the New Ghost Rider.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Six Million Dollar Man – The Secret of Bigfoot (1976)

Posted in cartoons, pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2017 by Paxton

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I’ve always been fascinated by cryptozoology and the idea of monsters roaming the Earth.  I’ve listened to a few cryptid podcasts and I’ve followed a few blogs.  It’s fascinating stuff.  I’ve wanted to do an entire month of urban legends and mythical monsters for AWESOME-tober-fest for many years now.  I’d planned articles on Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, the Jersey Devil, and Mothman.  There’s an abundance of Sasquatch, Nessie, and UFO material, but the other stuff is a bit thin pop culture wise aside from a movie or TV program here and there.  So, I’d sort of sat on it.

Well, now I get to do one.  Today, I want to talk about Bigfoot.  Specifically, I want to talk about the Bionic Bigfoot from The Six Million Dollar Man.  Bigfoot appeared a couple times but I’m going to talk about Season 3, episodes 16-17.  The Secret of Bigfoot.  His first bionic appearance.

OSI is escorting a couple of scientists to a remote mountain forest to study seismic activity.  The scientists are attacked and taken by a beast who turns out to possibly be the Sasquatch of legend.  Steve Austin, while looking for the missing scientists, is also taken hostage and gets to meet his strange captors.  Meanwhile Oscar is back at base camp facing a level 7 earthquake strike in seven hours to the entire California coast and is planning to detonate a nuclear bomb under the mountain to relive the geologic pressure and prevent the massive quake.  Can he find Steve in time?

There really is a lot going on in this one.  But it’s a fun episode.

SMDM title card Bigfoot title card
These episodes first aired in 1976. The story is a two parter.

Andre the Giant
In these two episodes Bigfoot is played by Andre the Giant.  Bigfoot would return in season 4 for another two episode story, but that time he’d be played by Lurch himself, Ted Cassidy.


Steve and Oscar escort these scientists into the mountains.  The scientists have experimental OSI sensing equipment. While setting up they are attacked by the creature.


Steve finds this footprint and goes after the scientists. He uses his bionics to run and jump all over the forest looking for the missing people.  It has been established in previous episodes that Steve is the worst secret keeper when it comes to his bionics.


While Steve is galavanting around the forest showing off his bionics there is a shady group watching his every move. Marveling at his abilities.


Steve encounters Bigfoot and has a pretty epic battle against him. The “trees are picked up and used as baseball bats” kind of epic.


Steve tracks Bigfoot to a cave where it disappears. But Steve TEARS DOWN PART OF THE MOUNTAIN to find a hidden door.  How’d he know to look there?  Then he has to walk through this amazing gizmo.  I’m not even sure what that is.  A revolving ice tunnel?  As soon as Steve walks in he collapses to the floor.  All I know is it looks exactly like the ice tunnel from the Misfits of Science pilot.  However, they show that tunnel in this episode several times.  You get several LOOOONG looks.  I totally get that, they should be proud.  It’s an amazing set piece.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: My favorite movie and TV Devils

Posted in monsters, pop culture, The Devil, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 24, 2017 by Paxton

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I’m fascinated by the concept of Lucifer.  I’m fascinated in how pop culture plays that concept.  From books to movies to TV it’s interesting to see this evil archetype play out in a story.  Will the creators lean hard into the “ultimate evil” angle, or will the portrayal be more of a sympathetic character?  Will the Devil be a monster, or a charismatic presence you can’t help but enjoy despite being, you know, THE DEVIL.

The Devil has a long history in film and TV.  So many versions from silly to serious and played by a range of actors from unknown to mega-famous.  I always like seeing how Hollywood will try to portray Satan, the Devil, ‘ol Scratch, Lucifer, et al on the screen.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Here are a few of my favorite on-screen Devils from movies and TV.  Just a note, these are a few of my favorites.  But there will be some notable entries missing as I didn’t want to necessarily do a “top 10”.


Gabriel Byrne – End of Days – I don’t love this movie. I love the concept, but I don’t love the movie. However, I *do* love Gabriel Byrne as the Earthly incarnation of Satan.  He really goes for it and plays this Devil as “ultimate evil”.


Elizabeth Hurley – Bedazzled – Again, like End of Days, I love the concept of this movie, but I don’t love the actual movie. But Hurley is great as the Devil offering wishes to the hapless Brendan Fraser.  She is sultry and sexy, but at times actually pulls off scary when she needs to.  She’s definitely the charismatic character you can’t help but enjoy despite who she is.


Ray Wise – Reaper – I loved Reaper on the CW. I watched it when it aired all the way through the second season. The show is really good even if it falls off the rails a bit in the second season. Still a fun watch and Ray Wise is awesome as The Devil. He’s funny and super charming.  This Devil is mostly played for laughs but Wise doesn’t make his Devil a joke.  He’s “The Devil” who just happens to be funny as well.


Peter Stormare – Constantine – I don’t care what you say, I liked the Constantine movie. Could they have gotten someone better than Keanu as the lead?  Yes, they could have, but it’s still a dark, atmospheric movie that builds a visually interesting world filled with magic.  And Stormare is a highlight as Lucifer.  Creepy. Unnerving. Weird. So good.  That end scene when Lucifer shows up to have the final conversation with John is my favorite part of the movie.


Viggo Mortensen – The Prophecy – I love that first Prophecy movie with Christopher Walken.  Again, it builds up a pretty great world and the Angel war in Heaven that is hinted at is very enticing.  Many people forget that Viggo made a small but significant appearance in that movie as the Devil.  And in his small screen time he really gives off a great, terrifying presence as the Fallen One.

Those are five of my favorite on screen Devils.  I know people are screaming at the screen because I left someone off.  “WHAT ABOUT DARKNESS FROM LEGEND, JACKASS?!  WHAT ABOUT AL PACINO, D-BAG?!”  Well, I liked both of them, but they didn’t make this list.  Sorry, guy who was sort of rude about my list.  Go start a blog and make your own list.

Everyone else, hope you enjoyed the list.  What are some of your favorite interpretations of the Devil?



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2014)

Posted in comic books, monsters, pop culture, witches with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2017 by Paxton

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Here we are, the home stretch of AWESOME-tober-fest 2017. Usually, for the last week run up to Halloween I’ll do what’s called “Greatest Hits” articles where I’ll revisit previous topics I’ve done before like Dracula, werewolves and Frankenstein.  However, this is the 10th year so I thought I’d do something different.  This week, I’m covering things I’ve not yet had a chance to cover for AWESOME-tober-fest.  Things I’ve always wanted to cover.  Things like witches, Bigfoot and the Devil.  So, let’s get started with a topic that I very nearly used the last two years.  Witches.

Today for witches, I decided to cover the Archie horror comic, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.  It’s a sister comic to the popular Afterlife with Archie.  It seems not as many people are talking about this comic plus I believe the CW just announced they are spinning off a show called The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina from their popular Riverdale show.  I haven’t seen Riverdale yet, but from what I read they are adapting this comic for the TV show.  Which really makes me interested to check out Riverdale.

Chilling Advs of Sabrina

Anyway, back to the comics. I’ve read the first volume of Afterlife and I liked how they totally re-imagined the Riverdale characters. It was just solidly written, and drawn, so when I saw they were doing the same to Sabrina, I jumped on board.

Sabrina 04 Sabrina 05

This comic is very similar in tone to Afterlife.  It’s dark.  It’s gruesome in parts.  It leans heavily on the witch-y origins of Sabrina, her aunts and her father.  Sabrina is a half witch.  Her father was a warlock and her mother was mortal.  It’s very much a coming of age as she tries to adapt to school with a boyfriend and in her other life as a burgeoning witch.  She’s forced to make several decisions about her life and she has to deal with the gruesome consequences.

I really like it.  It’s different.  It’s interesting.  I’ll be interested to see how the CW adapts this material because from what I can understand they are going with the “witches are real” angle.  I like the comics’ “ancient order of witches” backstory including old world laws and even a Witches’ Council but I find it hard to believe that the CW will lean as heavily on the “witches communing and serving the devil” aspect as the comic does.  That’ll be a delicate dance to do for a young adult TV show.

I don’t think the events in this comic exist within the same universe as Afterlife.  We get appearances in this comic from Betty and Veronica a few times, Archie, Reggie and even Jughead shows up in a quick cameo.  Plus I know Sabrina shows up in Afterlife in at least one issue but I don’t know the context.  So there’s lots of crossover but I think they are separate universes.  One being inspired by the other.

That being said, I can definitely recommend giving this title a try.  Especially if you’ve tried the Afterlife title and like it.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Others (2001)

Posted in Genres, ghosts, horror, monsters, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2017 by Paxton

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Today I want to talk about another favorite ghost movie of mine, The Others, from 2001.

It was directed by Alejandro Amenabar and starred Nicole Kidman.  The only other movie I know Amenabar from is Open Your Eyes from 1997 with Penelope Cruz.  It’s the movie Cameron Crowe and Tom Cruise remade into Vanilla Sky which would open the very same year as The Others.

I saw this movie in the theater based mostly on the spooky trailer and Nicole Kidman.  I had no preconceived notions going in on what to expect.

The movie takes place in 1945 in Jersey, a British dependency located in the Channel Islands.  Kidman lives in a remote country home with her two children; Anne and Nicholas.

The children have a rare condition that makes them allergic to sunlight and their father had left to fight in WWII but has not returned.

After three servants take up residence in the house strange things start occuring. The oldest daughter begins talking about seeing a small boy named Victor. Mysterious sounds are heard in abandoned rooms. Doors are left open. Typical ghostly haunted house stuff.

Kidman is not sure if the kids are causing the disturbances, the new servants or some ghostly intruder.  The suspense is really ratcheted up throughout the movie.  Lots of atmosphere.  And the old house is a great part of this whole thing.  It’s huge with all of these abandoned rooms.  You almost feel lost in the house while you are watching it.  There’s so much wood which causes lots of “house noises”.  Kidman’s character opens and closes every door of every room she enters and you get the requisite wood sounds every time.  The house looks and sounds great.  And the “ghostly” events are really spooky.

I’m not going to give away the ending.  I really want you to watch it.  But the atmosphere and tension are really amped up.  Kidman gives a great performance as the mom trapped in an ever increasingly bizarre set of circumstances.  The daughter, Anne, played by Alakina Mann, is pretty great as well.  She needed to work because she’s the one who goes against her mother for most of the movie as she’s the one who’s seen Victor and the “intruders”.  And she brings it 100%.  She’s really great in all her scenes with Kidman.

I rewatched this movie for this review and it still holds up.  Even knowing what the ultimate climax was going to be, I still very much enjoyed the journey the movie took me on to get to its “final resting place”.

Okay, so next week is the final FULL week of AWESOME-tober-fest.  I can’t believe it’s already nearly over.  Usually for this final week I’ll do what I call “Greatest Hits” where I revisit topics from previous AWESOME-tober-fests like vampires, werewolves or movie maniacs.  However, this year, for the 10th anniversary of this countdown, I’ve decided to do something a little different.  For the next week I’ll be doing ALL NEW topics.  Topics that I had planned for their own AWESOME-tober-fest at some point.  I’ll pick one article from five different topics I’ve never done before.  It should be a lot of fun.  I’ll even give you a preview of Monday’s topic.

Awesometoberfest 2017

I’ll see you back here on Monday.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: Cavalcade Comics #15 – The Headless Horseman vs Ghost Rider

Posted in books, Classic literature, comic books, Halloween, holiday, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2017 by Paxton

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Normally I do my new Cavalcade Comics cover reveal in the “Greatest Hits” section of AWESOME-tober-fest but the cover I have for today fits the ghostly theme perfectly.

Today, the appropriately themed cover I have features The Headless Horseman vs Ghost Rider.

Cav Comics #15

I love this battle. Undead flaming skull vs undead flaming skull. Here are the covers that mostly make up the above.

Headless Horseman Ghost Rider

The Headless Horseman comes from Marvel anthology series Supernatural Thrillers, issue #6, 1973. As a matter of fact, this is the same anthology series that birthed The Living Mummy in issue #5, which I talked about last year.  Ghost Rider comes from his own title, issue #5, 1974.  April, 1974, to be precise, which means this very issue of Ghost Rider *could* have been on store shelves the day I was born in early May 1974.  But it just as likely could have been issue #6 that was on shelves.

Check back tomorrow for a ghostly movie review and the final “ghost” related article of the month!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.