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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

The 2018 Mad Monster Party!

Hey look, this site’s still alive! Guys, I’m going to skip the usual rambling apology as to why it’s been so long since I last posted, because let’s be honest, no one cares. You know what you’re here for. It’s halfway to Halloween, convention season is upon us, and I’ve come back into your lives like an absentee father to write about spooky stuff and pretend like we actually do this on a regular basis.

Guess what, I went to the Mad Monster Party a few months ago!

This one was a little bit of a roller coaster ride. First, some background info. If you’ve read any of my previous accounts of going to the Mad Monster Party, you’ll know I come away with a lot of autographs and pictures. In fact, I put aside a good chunk of money every year for an autograph budget because that shit ain’t cheap. But, a few months ago, my laptop finally gave up the ghost, so there went the budge. Consequently, this one was short, sweet, and cheap. Just like your mom.

For starters, as if the laptop thing wasn’t bad enough, the morning of the con, I got held up doing family stuff, so I couldn’t leave as early as I would have liked. I always try to get there about 10:00 AM to get the jump on the autograph crowd, but I didn’t leave until mid-afternoon, which is a death sentence if you’re looking to get the prime autographs and go to all the panels.

And boy did it hurt. If you’ve read any of my previous accounts, you’ll know that every year, I have a white whale. It’s that one person who I would make the hour and a half drive to meet even if they were the only person set up there. In previous years, it’s been Doug Bradley, Stephen Geoffreys, Felissa Rose, and a bunch of other personal faves. This year it was ROBERT ENGLUND. Major bucket list material for me! So when I was finally free, I hauled ass up to Charlotte and made a bee-line straight for his table. Or rather, I should say, I made a bee-line straight for the incredibly long line that was snaking its way, away from his table and down some back hallways.

I got to the back of the line and was informed by staff that you had to have a small yellow ticket to see him. They were apparently given out to everyone in line earlier. Ok, fine. How do I get a ticket? Guess what, no more tickets. They were cut off sometime before I got there. I begged and pleaded my case, but no dice. So, despite all my checking back and trying to weasel my way into the back of the line, my Englund mission was a total failure. I did get to see him though, from across the room, signing autographs for everyone else. So…there’s that.

But, all was not lost. I had a couple more hours to work with and I was going to make the most out of it. On that same side of the room, was a bunch of other A Nightmare on Elm Street series alums — Danny Hassel, Ronee Blakely, Tuesday Knight, Lisa Wilcox, and Amanda Wyss. I spoke to all of them and they were all delightful. The lack of budget prohibited me from getting pictures or autographs from nearly all of them, but Danny Hassel was cool enough to autograph a picture for free. According to him, this was actually taken in his backyard. Thanks, Danny!

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I had some other great conversations too! Again…budget, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I chatted a bit with Nick Castle, and of course we talked about the new Halloween film that had just wrapped shooting in Charleston. As someone who tries to get PA work when he can on features, it kind of killed me to know that it was shooting just three hours from where I am right now, and I couldn’t find time to get down there to get work on it. Oh, and they never responded to the resume I sent them, but that’s neither here nor there. I also spoke to Felissa Rose again, who you guys know is a big favorite of mine. I love that I’ve reached this weird point in in my life in which Felissa and I kind of have some friends in common and almost know each other a little. I can’t wait to see DEATH HOUSE.

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OH, AND I MET THE SOSKA SISTERS! Kids, if you ever get the chance to meet one or both of them, get on that. They are hilarious, sweet, and a ton of fun (not to mention, every bit as easy on the eyes as you can imagine). They recorded probably the greatest promo for my radio show that I’ve gotten from anyone. Listen sometime and maybe you’ll hear it. I think I’m just going to fill my entire two hours one night playing it on repeat.

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Oh, and I met some upcoming actor named LANCE FUCKING HENRIKSEN. You may have heard of him. He’s every bit as cool and nice as you can imagine. He was sat near Jenette Goldstein (more on her later) and Michael Biehn as part of an Aliens reunion of sorts. Of course, I talked to them too. What a lineup!

So yeah, I might have missed out on Freddy, but I think I salvaged the day.

But wait, there’s more. If you’re a regular con goer, you know there’s the con, and then there’s the bar after the con. That’s where, if you’re lucky, things get a little less formal, and you can buy a drink for (or maybe even share a few drinks with) some of your favorite horror celebrities. And cousin, that’s exactly what happened.

So after the con was winding down for the day, I made my way to said bar, only to immediately lock in on Lance Henriksen sitting at a table with Jenette Golstein and Tuesday Knight. He spotted me and gave me a wave as I made my way to the main bar. I didn’t really speak to him for the rest of the night, but it was cool to just know that for a few hours, we were just two guys who love the industry, having a good time in a room full of like-minded weirdos. There is a sort of kinship there, even among us and them.

While at the bar, I befriended a couple who were there from out of town, and eventually found myself at a table with Jenette Goldstein, her husband, and a drag queen dressed like Pinhead. Jenette and her husband are lovely people and we talked quite a bit about their business in California, selling bras. Vasquez went from killing xenomorphs to pushing unmentionables.

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As the night went on, I found myself buying drinks for Alex Vincent and spent an hour or so sharing a few drinks with R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 3). Dude is cool is hell and we spent almost our entire time talkng about Johnny Cash and a bunch other things that I can’t remember because that was two months and a lot of drinks ago. Yes, that’s him up there with Drag Queen Pinhead.

Which brings us to the end of the night. There’s no way to say what happened other than just say it. I spent a couple of hours getting toasted and swapping stories with Drag Queen Pinhead and Christine Elise. The fact that I can say that sentence out loud in complete honesty means that I may not have failed as a human being after all. You’ll know Christine as “Kyle” from Child’s Play 2. She’s an incredibly cool chick and knows a dirty joke or three. The three of us shut the bar down after everyone else had cleared out. It was a solid way to end a day that didn’t start out all that well.

And that, kids, is how you do a horror con. I can’t wait for the next one in just a few weeks! Days of the Dead and the Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest are coming up next month, so stay tuned. Here are a few more pics. Enjoy!

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The Mad Monster Party 2017! Part 2

Alright, we’re back with the second part of this year’s Mad Monster Party coverage. Because if there’s on thing I’m good for, it’s trying to drum up excitement about things that happened at a convention from six months ago.

You’ll remember in Part 1 that I met a few famous folks. Let’s meet a few more. I don’t have pictures to back up the first two, so you’ll have to just take my word on it. First off, I had a lovely conversation with Pat Priest, who’s most known for playing Marilyn Munster. She was incredibly gracious and entertained all my annoying questions that I’m sure she’d already politely answered 38,000 times before I got to her.

I also had a great, fairly involved conversation with Mark Steger, who plays the monster in Stranger Things. I had to confess to him that at the time, I had actually not seen Stranger Things yet, but I’ve since remedied that. And brother, WHAT THE HELL TOOK ME SO LONG? It’s fantastic. But, we did chat quite a bit about special effects and makeup in general. Nice guy.

Speaking of special effects, The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was there! Or at least the guy in the suit, Bill Bryan. I was surprised to learn he’d done quite a bit other puppetry work, including being one of the guys who helped to build and puppet Chucky. Sometimes when you choose the form of the destroyer, you end up with a laid back horror movie veteran who kind of looks like Santa.

Other notable mentions would be Mark Torgl (The Toxic Avenger himself) and a female friend of his, who claimed to be an actual exorcist. I kind of regret taking them up on their offer of going out and getting a drink with them after it was all over that night. To be honest, I’d reserved that spot on my dance card for Felissa Rose. On second thought, that was a worthy trade. I do hope to catch them next time though, if there is one. Oh, and Billy Dee Williams was there too. I walked by his table about the time his people were packing everything up and getting him ready to leave. He looked bored.

Alright, that’s it for the celebrites. Bumblebee and Blaster were also there (ok, maybe we’re not done with the celebrites).

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There was also all manner of amusements and other sights to see.

“But Deej, where are the hot girls in costumes?” GOT YOU COVERED:

I’ve never had such conflicting emotions about a Nazi before.

Arterial

I also had couple of these guys. The vendor had several varieties, but the Arterial jumped out at me. If you hear something next year about a short, bald man getting thrown out of a horror convention in Charlotte for getting inappropriate with Adrienne Barbeau, you’ll know The Arterial is to blame. Im not much of a beer drinker, but this thing was DELICIOUS. It was a delightful way to get a nice buzz going right before going into a panel where Mark Patton told stories about sleeping in the same bed with Cher at Gene Simmons’s house.

Speaking of snacks, I’m not too much of a shopper at cons. I always go in with a limited budget, and would much rather blow almost all of it on autographs and pictures than on overpriced Gremlins figures. But this time, I did snag something I’d had my eye on for the last few years — THE MONSTA BAR! They had several different types – Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Almonds, Dark Chocolate Ghost Pepper, and Milk Chocolate Ghost Pepper. I’d love to review all of them, but at $10 a pop, I didn’t want them that badly, so I settled on my go-to variety – Dark Chocolate with Almonds.

Back of Bar

The first thing that jumped out at me was how huge the almonds are. I was honestly expecting something more along the lines of a Mr. Goodbar, but they went all out with some kind of genetically engineered full-on super almonds. Also, they were salty as all hell. I mean, this thing was just as much salt as it was chocolate, but it totally works. It’s definitely one of the better novelty candies I’ve ever tried, even though I winced at the price tag. But, I guess the fact that they only made 100 of them added an extra thrill that made it worth it. This was LIMITED EDITION chocolate from the grave.

Rivals

My other take-home prize was this short documentary on VHS about Charles Manson and Vincent Bugliosi. I haven’t watched it yet, but I certainly plan to, with a possible review later right here. Anyone who’s ever listened to my radio show knows that I’m kind of a student of the Manson case. Being that this clocks in at only 46 minutes, I doubt there’s any new ground covered here that I’m not already well aware of, but I couldn’t pass it up. There were actually more tapes I was interested in from this same vendor, Little Shop of Horror. I have to wonder if they’re an actual store in NC. If so, they win the Best Vendor Name award that I just made up just now. The lady I spoke to was really helpful, but again, they suffered from Convention Price Syndrome. I understand the spot they’re in, because travel and table fees aren’t cheap, but at the same time, when you’re weighing how you’re going to spend your last $20, a Tom Savini photo op is probably going to win out over an old VHS copy of Halloween III…and I love me some Halloween III.

Alright kids, that’s it. I’m leaving you with The Creature from the Black Lagoon playing bagpipes in front of a clown who’s clearly had enough of this . We’re going out on top!

 

 

Let’s go rent a movie!

You ever have a thing that you know you should be doing, but you’re just waiting for the right moment? Like that movie you’re dying to see, but you want to make sure you have the right company for it, or that…other example that would fit perfectly right here that I can’t think of?

Well, this post is a tribute to that. Kids, for the past 10 years, when I’ve visited my home town, I’ve driven past a video store. An honest to goodness video store, and I never went in. I don’t know why. I think I just assumed it couldn’t be that good. Surely not. So, I was just teasing myself, driving past that outside wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall; looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger me off…

Well, last week, the moment was picked and death came to my little town!

Outside

Family Video is a chain I knew nothing about until I decided to finally do this. Some of you may have some of the lingering branches of this chain in your town, so you may have beaten me to the punch on this one, but I’m glad I finally got down to it.

Last week, with Summer slowly starting its retreat, I went in, got myself a membership, and rented a gosh darn horror movie! Just in time to ease into the Halloween season. And it was glorious. Oh, and apologies up front for the blurriness of all these pictures. I don’t know why, but I still get weird about taking pictures in businesses, and try to do a quick “click and move”. There is some ridiculous paranoia there that I’m just one candid shot of Three Men and a Baby away from being kicked out.

As soon as I walked in the joint, a flood of memories hit me. It brought back all those Friday nights of my youth, perusing the shelves, selecting something you knew next to nothing about, based solely on how cool the box art was. Then later on, I’d spend some time in high school and college working at a series of video stores. I’ve done my time on both sides of that counter, Jack. But, this particular Family Video has a bonus feature. They’ve gone in kahoots with the Marco’s Pizza next door.

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Yes, you can order a pizza and have it delivered in that window while you shop! And they have a promotion. If you order at least $10 worth of pizza, you get a free rental. And you better believe I did, brother!

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But, it doesn’t stop there. Just for getting a membership, they pretty much throw the whole store at you. I’ve got several coupons for future free rentals and popcorn, and half off everything for like the first 30 days or something. Factor in the super cheap costs of rentals in the first place, and I can only assume they’re staying afloat on the nostalgia appeal alone. They’re doing pretty well though. While I was there, they had a pretty steady stream of customers coming and going, and it wasn’t even a weekend night. Of course, being the only game in town helps. I got everything in the picture above (pizza, 2 things of popcorn, the movie, and a load of coupons for later) for just $15.

The selection was pretty impressive, and while it didn’t completely live up to the volume of a Blockbuster or the oddball charm of your average mom-and-pop joint from back in the day, it had a dash of both. The New Release wall was nearly Blockbuster-esque in terms of the number of “big titles”, even if their definition of “New Release” was nearly anything released in the last two years. The rest of the store was pretty well organized, but not really broken down into too many genres. One section was just called “Prequels and Sequels” and was exactly that, with genres all mixed in.

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But Deej, WHAT DID YOU RENT? I actually went there with this one specifically in mind — Blair Witch, the 2016 sequel to the original. It was one of those horror releases from the last few years that I just missed for one reason or another. My LIST has way more additions than subtractions these days, but I’m slowly working my way through it.

REVIEW TIME!

Blair Witch essentially is a retread of the The Blair Witch Project, but is handled in a competent manner, so it made for some good pizza eating, video renting fun. It centers around the story of James, the little brother of Heather from the original film, who leads a group of his friends into the woods in search of Heather, in the hopes that she may still be out there alive after all these years. And well…that’s pretty much all you need to know.

I think you know how things go from here. People start turning on each other, start getting offed one at a time, yadda, yadda, yadda. I know I may not be exactly selling it, but I promise it was absolutely worth the rental and captures the tone of the original fairly well. Oh, and as you can imagine, it pretends Book of Shadows: The Blair Witch 2 never happened. I know a lot of fans also wish that were the case, but I’m not one of them. I thought that one was good, stupid fun and I know Jay of The Sexy Armpit agrees with me. So yeah, it’s worth a rental…if you ever get the chance again to actually do such a thing.

Oh, and guess what. I just got a line on another video store a fairly short drive from here…The quest continues.

 

The Mad Monster Party 2017! Part 1

Kids, it’s late July and if you’re anything like me, you’re feeling the twinge of Halloween already. It’s not upon us quite yet, but it’s across town and has our addresses in its GPS. Every year around this time, I make a big to-do about the first Halloween merchandise that I spot in stores, and a couple weeks ago, I finally made my first sighting of the year. Right in the middle of the candy isle in a new grocery store that just opened up, I spotted one lone box of Halloween Reese’s Cups. Thing is, the other candy wasn’t ready yet. It was just doing its candy thing, hanging out, enjoying summer. But right in the middle, was one box of orange and black horror. I know the feeling, little buddy. I know the feeling.

So, let’s celebrate monsters! Specifically meeting some, in this year’s coverage of THE MAD MONSTER PARTY!. I’ve created a handy place on the site where you can go back and read about all my past years covering this particular convention. It’s become one of the things I look forward to the most. Right in the middle of March, when I’m bummed out that the holidays are over and I’m facing the dread of confronting many more months of humidity before I’ll get my next spooky fix, is a gathering of like-minded fiends.

In past years, it’s always been held in Charlotte, NC, usually at the same hotel. I’m partial to the usual location and didn’t care for it too much that one year when they switched to a different venue. This year was a wonky one too, now located in Rock Hill, SC, but it didn’t diminish the fun and collection of memories. Also on the upside, Rock Hill is a much closer drive.

As mentioned in every other installment of Mad Monster Party, every year, I enjoy the guest lineup, but there is always THE BIG ONE. The one guest that I would make that nearly two hour drive to see even if they were the only person there. And this year was no disappointment at all. I’ve been petitioning the organizers of the con for the past few years to get Felissa Rose, star of Sleepaway Camp. She’s hands-down one of my favorite scream queens, and is amazing to her fans. I’ve had many fun interactions with her on Twitter and she’s been placed firmly in my Bucket List for quite a while. AND THIS YEAR IT HAPPENED!

 

As it happens every year, I know going in who my BIG ONE is, so once I enter the con, I make a bee-line straight to their table. She was every bit as cool as I thought she would be, and as it turns out, we have a few acquaintances in common, but more on that in a second. At the table next to her was Mark Patton, star of A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2, the most highly underrated entry in the franchise, in my opinion. It’s also the one known for certain, not quite so subtle…themes. Mark also holds the distinction as being possibly horror’s first ever Final Guy.

 

They were sat next to each other because they’re also starring in Family Possessions together, directed by an acquaintance of mine, Tommy Faircloth.

Family Posessions

Later that evening, we had a screening of the film with some of the cast. Some of it was actually shot near where I live. It was hardly the first time I’ve seen my town on the big screen, but it’s always cool when it happens. The film’s doing well on the convention/award circuit, so I suggest checking it out if you’re just looking for a solid little ghost story. Also later that day, I went to a Q&A with both Felissa and Mark. Folks, if you ever get the chance to meet either one, get on that. They’ve been around the block and have done a thing or three. Plus, they’re both just fun as hell and are down for having a drink with their fans.

Judith

Down the hall, was another pair that were a HUGE highlight this year — JUDITH O’DEA AND RUSS STREINER! AKA, “Barbra” and “Johnny” from Night of the Living Dead, some old black and white movie about a bunch of hungry drunk people or something. I guess it was some kind of big deal. Actually, as I write this, George Romero passed away about a week ago, and I’m incredibly bummed about it. I met him as well at last year’s convention, and he was every bit as nice as you would want him to be. So was George Kosana, who played Sheriff McClelland, who unfortunately also passed away not too long ago. I’ve met him several times over the years and bought a t-shirt from him once. We’re losing too many good ones these days.

O’Dea and Streiner are fantastic. If you ever do a con, make a point of waiting for some of these lesser known stars to have a clear table. I’ve had so many great interactions with down to earth so-called “C-listers” (although a lot of them are “A’s” in my book), and they’re often the most gracious and engaging. Judith and I spoke for quite a while and swapped stories back and forth. In the end, she didn’t even charge me for the autograph. Such a nice lady and arguably one of the first scream queens.

Streiner

Russ was also incredibly nice although I didn’t get a chance to speak to him for quite as long. I did get both of them to record Station ID’s for my radio show though, and both were incredibly happy to do it. Russ really went for it and made it his own. Tune in some Saturday night and maybe you’ll hear it.

Dead autographs

Alright, that’s going to do it for this installment. Part 2 should be up in a couple of days, involving more celebs, beer, bagpipes, a candy bar, and a hot Nazi. Now I’m going to go see if I can figure out where I put the key to that damn gas pump. Or maybe not. Don’t worry about it. I doubt we’ll need it.

Stranger Tweets: Episodes 1-3

Right, so tonight’s post was supposed to be entirely different. I had pictures and outlines and a whole night ahead of me of second guessing, re-editing, and hating every creative decision I made. Fun!  So when I found myself needing some background material to watch while I wrote, it occurred to me that it would be the perfect time to finally tackle a series that I’ve been putting off for far too long: Stranger Things.

The entire thing is one giant case of “I KNOW, I KNOW”. “But Deej, you haven’t seen Stranger Things yet!!???” (I KNOW) “But, it’s set in the ’80’s!” (I KNOW) “It’s got a John Carpenter-esque synthy score!” (I KNOW) “But, it’s…it’s got monsters and Winona Ryder and everything you love!” (I KNOW…well, I actually didn’t know about the Winona Ryder thing)… I KNOW, I KNOW!!! I’m horrible! I’m terrible, and no, I haven’t seen damn Twin Peaks yet either, so you can get off my back about that one too.

So I ended up course correcting and decided not only to start watching the show, but do a bit of a live Tweet and share my play-by-play reactions to losing my Stranger cherry. I only did the first 3 episodes, but had a blast with it and had a few people join me.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s below. I didn’t include any replies or ensuing exchanges. Instead, these are just my original tweets in the order that I sent them. Of course, if you know anything about Twitter, the most recent ones appear at the top of your Twitter feed and not the bottom. So yes, that means that I screen captured every one of them and re-ordered them for easier reading, so that you can start at the top and make your way down, in order. I’m not an animal. Please excuse the dodgy formatting and weird spaces here and there. After all that chopping up and pasting, it was a little harder to line things up than I anticipated.

For those of you who missed it, if you join me TOMORROW NIGHT (hint, hint — @DarkEntriesDJD — hint, hint), you can have the live experience and play along. We’ll obviously be picking up with Episode 4 and will probably also knock out 5 and 6. If you reply, so will I. I’ll send something out sometime before I start (it will honestly be fairly late) and hopefully the crowd will grow a little from the 5 or 6 people that joined in tonight. This was a totally impromptu thing just a few hours ago, but seeing as this season only has 8 episodes, I have a feeling I may do another, longer series immediately after I’m done with this one (coughtwinpeakscough), and hopefully increase the following.

I don’t think I have to say that this is a little spoilery and some of it will only make sense if you’ve actually seen the show. And I ‘m not entirely sure of the point of even posting this here, aside from giving you a tease of what live Tweets may look like in the future. Also, it allows those of you not on Twitter to at least not be completely left out. Enjoy. I’ll just be over here sitting in a closet, having a conversation with a wad of Christmas lights.

EPISODE ONE

Episode 1-1Episode 1-2Episode 1-3

EPISODE TWO 

Episode 2-1aEpisode 2-1Episode 2-2
EPISODE THREE

Episode 3-1Episode 3-2

Going through Transformations at The Slaughtered Lamb Pub

Well, Hell’s bells, here we are. FINALLY relaunching this thing after what, a year? By the time you read these words, it will be just past Memorial Day. Obviously, there is no better way to celebrate the coming of summer than talking about some crap I got up to last Halloween. Let’s honor our fallen soldiers by writing cuss words on pumpkins.

Last October, I spent the weekend of Halloween in New York. The original plan was to go up and finally have dinner with some old friends who I only know from the internet, but that fell through, so I literally spent four days wandering the streets of New York alone by the light of the full moon. Ok, so I’m not entirely sure that a full moon was on that weekend, but it makes for a much better story, so we’re running with it.

This trip was full of firsts. Not only was it my first time in the city, but it was also my first experience with Airbnb. I’m sure mileage may vary with that site, but my experience was pretty positive. On the day I arrived, I had to swing by the Times Square area to get the key to the apartment where I’d be staying. I’m fairly well traveled, but I won’t lie and pretend that heading into THE CITY alone for the first time didn’t give me mixed feelings. It was about 80% excitement and 20% “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, DON’T LOOK LIKE A TOURIST, YOU’RE FROM SOUTH CAROLINA AND EVERYONE WANTS TO KILL YOU. JUST PLAY IT COOL, MAN. PLAY IT COOL.”

But of course, it wasn’t that bad. It was not what I expected and exactly everything I expected all at once; a lot of people (A LOT) and tall buildings. I know none of this is new to some of you reading this right now, but if you’ve never been there, just know that you may think you’re prepared for how big the buildings are, but until you step out of the subway and onto the street for the first time ever, you’re not. I mean, just LOOK AT THIS SHIT. Come on, now.

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After taking loads more pictures and a confused subway ride up to Washington Heights, I settled into the tiny 2-bedroom apartment that would be my home for the next four days. The guys I stayed with were incredibly cool and just happened to work in the film industry, so making that contact was an added bonus. They were brothers and each had their own bedroom. I had a key and slept on a futon in the living room. All of us just came and went on our own. My entire time there was spent looking up the best places I could find that would allow me to get the most bang for my very limited buck. Yes, if you want to go all out, New York can be incredibly expensive, but it can also be pretty cheap. I pretty much lived off of Chinese takeout and $1 pizza slices.

But let’s get to the real reason why we’re here. One thing I knew I had to cross off my list was stopping off at The Slaughtered Lamb Pub. It would end up becoming the highlight of my trip and my go-to spot for my last two nights in town. I probably don’t have to tell you what its inspiration is, but if you’re one of the few people not lucky enough to have seen one of the most important werewolf films ever made (I’d say one of the most important horror films ever made), then you need to get on it. Yes, of course, I’m talking about An American Werewolf in London. Actually, I take that back about you not being lucky. I’m a much bigger fan of The Howling, but I’m incredibly jealous of anyone who gets to see it for the first time now. And if you don’t know The Howling either, God bless you. Please keep reading this site. Much will be discussed about it later.

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The Slaughtered Lamb Pub didn’t disappoint. The bartenders working the both nights that I was there were incredibly cool, and after a little conversation and playing the “lonely out of towner” card, they hooked me up with a free shot here and there. Since this was the weekend of Halloween, they even wore gory makeup and got into the spirit of things. My first meal there was a burger and fries and it was solid. Highly recommended. As for drinks, all of the specialty ones were werewolf themed. This joint COMMITS to their motif, folks, as we’ll see more of later.

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After looking at the drink specials, I settled on “The Transformation”. It was $12 worth of deliciousness, and lets just say, gets the job done. I had to limit myself because of cost and because these things sneak up on you. After a couple, I nearly felt the desire to run to the closest zoo, strip down naked, and steal some kid’s balloons.

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The bar also had pumpkins lined up on it with pens nearby in case you wanted to leave messages for future guests. Here’s my contribution, an inside joke/enterprise that I’m trying to get off the ground with Brian of Review the World and Bill of Casserole of Disaster as my partners.

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Another highlight was this table top Pac-Man game that I remember from my youth. I kind of wanted to play it with someone, but couldn’t find any takers. I guess I’ll take this time to talk about some of the other patrons. Of course you had your drunk locals in costume, but I also struck up a conversation with another out-of-towner sitting at the bar. He was an older gentleman who had moved to New York about 20 years ago. We both agreed that despite their reputation, New Yorkers, while they are more direct and don’t have time for the Southern hospitality that I grew up with, they really aren’t all that bad. Seriously, in the four days I was there, nearly every single person I interacted with was incredibly polite and helpful, especially once they found out I was from out of town and it was my first time in the city. But, I didn’t come down with the rain yesterday. I know there are bad sides of town (there are everywhere), and I was careful when walking at night alone. But if you’re just looking for good conversation, I’ve found that booze is a constant and can grease the wheels of social interaction just about anywhere, and with almost anyone.

My last night there, I also got to know a really fun couple of sorts; two best friends, a girl and a guy. She was an Australian lesbian and he was her Irish gay best friend. The only reason I mention that is that someone, somewhere has to have written a joke about an Australian lesbian, a gay Irish guy, and a Southern straight man all walking into a pub with a lycanthrope gimmick.

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So that was the upstairs scene, but the real action is downstairs in The Dungeon. CHECK IT OUT!

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The Dungeon has several rooms, including a game area. It’s a fantastic, dimly lit place full of An American Werewolf in London references and comfortable seating. It was actually not too populated the both nights I was there, so I had plenty of room to roam around and take pictures of the previous “guests”.

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I seriously can’t recommend this place enough if you make yourself into the city. I spent my last night there hanging out until the wee hours of the morning, talking music and film with a strange assortment of characters, including a Colombian guy who barely spoke English, but who was high on life. Because we were going the same direction home, we shared a subway ride and swapped life stories. He got off before me and I then took this tired subway selfie.

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This guy was also waiting on his ride.

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The night ended with me getting off the subway to make the short walk down 181st street to the apartment where I was staying. A bug-eyed nutball was walking along the sidewalk, getting in people’s faces and yelling, “I want some coffee! Give me some fucking coffee!” I nearly told him I thought he’d had enough and should probably dial it back a little or switch to decaf. It was 3:00 in the morning for Christ’s sake.

In the end, I drunkenly stumbled to my temporary home, high on too many Transformations and Halloween, and dreamed of Nazi zombies with machine guns. And that was how I spent my last night in New York.