I miss the old video stores. Nothing was better than running there on Friday afternoon to search for a couple of horror flicks. Unlike bookstores, there was always a horror section. I’m surprised the video store by me didn’t charge me rent, I spent so much time nestled between the rows of stacked VHS boxes.
There was some slick, usually highly deceptive artwork on some of those horror tapes. In fact, the better the box, the worse the movie. That didn’t bother me because I have always been a connoisseur of bad b-horror movies. I like a bad horror movie more than a good, non-horror movie.
Video stores were a shangri-la of discovery. It was there where I was finally able to get my hands on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Freaks. Before the advent of VHS, you either saw a horror movie in the theater, or you were out of luck. Classic underground movies like The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes (both by Wes Craven) were mentioned with a sense of reverance and awe, especially if you were the lucky one to have caught them in the cinema.
When movies came to VHS, our lives changed. Suddenly, the history of cinema was open to us. And a whole new generation of horror films spilled wide like steaming guts on dew covered grass. I’d stroll over to the new release shelf and see Puppet Master and Witchboard. I couldn’t get them in my hands and my money and membership card on the counter fast enough. When my wife and I were dating, we’d spend whole days and nights watching whatever 5 or 6 horror movies we gathered from the video store. In our prime, we must have watched almost 200 horror flicks a year. Yeah, we were dedicated.
Monster Man Jack and I recently took a trip down VHS horror memory lane. In this podcast, I think we mention about 40 different movies. I hope they bring back great memories for you. You can watch our Generation VHS episode here.
Now, we could have talked about movies for hours. What are some of your personal classics? What are your memories of the video store? I look back at that time with no regrets, knowing I appreciated every moment I spent there. And thanks to all those movies, I solidified my status as a Monster Man. Thank you, Demonic Toys. Hail to the Re-Animator! And goodnight, Near Dark.
The change in my household really hit home this Christmas when I realized that my wife and I didn’t need to go to a single toy store to get presents for our girls. They’re both officially teens now, and too cool for toys.
Which leaves me as the last child in the house. And you what the best part of being a man-child is? I get to buy any toy I want without asking for my parents’ permission. Nyah nyah!
Granted, I pick cool things up now under the auspices that they would make great set pieces for my Monster Men podcast. But really, let’s be honest, I’d buy this stuff even if I didn’t know what a podcast was.
I was with my brother-in-law Tom this weekend at Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. This is Kevin Smith’s awsome comic book store in Red Bank, NJ. On a side note, if you haven’t seen his movie Red State, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The movie has even sparked a wave of apocalypse hoaxes around the world.
Anyway, I digress like Gary Busey at a bris.
I was halfway into the store when I spotted my second favorite robot of all time.
You all remember Robbie the Robot? He made his debut in the great sci-fi flick, Forbidden Planet, and went on to do episodes of The Twilight Zone and Lost in Space. Robot from Lost in Space is my all time favorite. As a kid, I said if I ever made it rich, I would buy Robot and Robby and display them in my house. Still working on it. It was Robbie, it was a bobblehead, it was mine.
Then, tucked away in the back of the store was the action figure to beat all action figures. I’m not talking G.I. Joe with kung fu grip. It’s not an original Mego Captain America. No, I’m talking about the ultimate bionic Bigfoot!
I nearly wept when I saw him. If you click on the picture above, you can watch Steve Austin go toe-to-toe with the robotic bigfoot created by aliens. And really, isn’t that the case for all Bigfoots?
Pop quiz. What do all these fine gentlemen (and gentlebeasts) have in commom? Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolfman, Dracula, The Mummy, Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man, The Phantom of the Opera. Answer : They were all brought to us by Universal Studios, who over a period of 25 years created some of the most enduring icons in horror history.
In our first episode of 2013, Jack and I, your humble Monster Men, finally dedicate a podcast to the monsters that made us who we are today. Who is your favorite Universal monster?
OK, I’ll be honest here. Yes, I did send an invitation to our local Bigfoot clan to spend New Year’s Eve with us, but I haven’t gotten their RSVP. Hell, I don’t even know if they got the invite. I kind of left it at the base of a tree in the woods, nestled within a deer carcass. Fingers crossed!
The next best thing will be to catch up on episodes of Finding Bigfoot and drinking until I see monsters everywhere.
2012 has been an intense year over at the Shea household and we’re happy to see it go. On the writing front, I released 2 books: Evil Eternal and Swamp Monster Massacre. In fact, my skunk ape thriller just got a national review in the December issue of Rue Morgue magazine! They said “With a simple story and some fast, gory action, Swamp Monster Massacre is a popcorn-movie-like read.”
2013 will be even bigger, with the release of the story The Graveyard Speaks in March, followed by the novel Sinister Entity, which is the sequel to Forest of Shadows. I also plan to release a book of short stories and possibly a collection of real ghost stories later in the year.
Until the new books come out, Jack and I at the Monster Men wish you a Happy New Year and hope you enjoy our 2nd episode dedicated to our good friend, Sasquatch. Bigfoot howls for everyone!
I’ve been intrigued by the whole UFO phenomena since I was a little kid, being spoon fed stories about aliens and flying saucers by Leonard Nimoy on In Search Of. Throughout the 80s and 90s, I amassed a sizeable library dedicated to UFOs and aliens. I read everything from Missing Time by Bud Hopkins, to Abduction by John E. Mack and my favorite (since I live in the Hudson Valley of NY that has a long history of UFO sightings) Silent Invasion by Ellen Crystal. Her book was about the too-many-to-count UFOs seen in and around Pine Bush in upstate New York. I actually spent a few nights sitting in dark, silent farmland up there hoping for my own experience. My friend and I did see odd lights one night, but what was most disturbing was how all of the night creatures stopped their nocturnal music the instant those lights appeared. It made for an eerie ten minutes!
There have only been a handful of movies about aliens worth watching, and they are always my go-to when I have some time to kill and can’t decide what to watch. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a slam dunk, but here are some others that feed my inner UFO freak.
Communion. Based on author Whitely Strieber’s personal abductions close to Pine Bush in NY and starring Christopher Walken, I’ve watched this like dudes in their 40s watched Star Wars. It’s not perfect, but Walken is awesome and it has its truly spine tingling moments.
Fire in the Sky. Another true story about the abduction of Travis Walton, a logger who was taken by a strange craft in front of his buddies and was missing for several days. The aliens and ship in this flick are downright dirty and strange and the cast delivers some remarkably strong performance. Everyone involved in the Walton case has passed multiple lie detector tests, which leaves us all wondering what happened that night.
The Fourth Kind. UFOs and abduction in Alaska. ‘Nuff said.
I’m happy to announce that The Monster Men have finally tackled the subject of UFOs. In this episode, I even talk about an experience I was fortunate to be a part of, as well as thousands of others in my area that night back in 1987. And, of course, we go into awesome alien/monster movies that will keep you up nights, and others that will make you want to pull an Elvis on your TV. Watch, enjoy, and let me know if you’ve ever had your own experience.
October for horror writers and lovers is like April for accountants – pure madness. And madness is damn good. I’m gearing up big time for Halloween and have a lot of treats to share (so no egging my house!).
First off, Swamp Monster Massacre is tearing it up. So happy to see skunk ape love out there. The reviews have been nothing short of fantastic. Here’s what some folks had to say (you can click on each to see the full review):
Like a good little horror ghoul, I’ve been watching horror movies all month. Rememebr to follow me on Twitter and check out #Terrortober for the list and my reviews of each, as well as the books I’ve been reading. The movies have spanned from 1920 to 2011, so there’s a lot to see.
The Monster Men unleashed our second annual Halloween episode. We have a brand new theme song and some funny surprises peppered throughout. We go from The Great Pumpkin to hanted asylums and slasher flicks. Check it out!
Speaking of the Monster Men, Jack and I will be interviewed on The Secret to Everything radio show on Wednesday October 24th at 7pm ET. Lord knows what stupid things we’re apt to say. I’m sure it will be archived at the same link.
Coming later this week will be an interview with my favorite ghost hunting team, Pink Kitty Paranormal. Get ready for a wild ride!
On Halloween, I’m going to post chapter 3 of my free gothic story, MERCY. You can visit Pen of the Damned to catch up.
Last but not least, I had a fun book event at The Wicked Wolf Tavern in White Plains, NY this past weekend. I was there along with author Robert Stava, who premiered his new book, At Van Eyckmann’s Request. We had a tarot card reader on hand, giveaways, filmed Monster Men episodes and had many, many drinks. That Jeagermeister shot machine was the end of me. Thank you to everyone who came. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a glimpse…