Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dexter is the best show on television, obviously. If you don't agree you can blow it out your ear. And I have never really written a review of it (largely because the show pre-dates Haunternet and there was no sense starting to review the show starting with Season 2, and I'm lazy). But i was compelled to say a few words about Season 4.

Season 3 was somewhat of a disappointment. It was still the best show on television, but True Blood was thinking about taking its place (My wife puts True Blood first, so there ya go). For some reason the whole Jimmy Smits thing wasn't working for me, and Dexter's behavior was so inconsistent and frustrating. Not because he wasn't "following the code" but because he was doing things just to make the story move forward. There is a little of that in every season of Dexter. He needs a scenario to work out, and sometimes it needs to be forced a little in inorganic ways and it always feels that way. But the concept and performances as well as the overall direction of the show are so excellent that it pushes aside any convenient storytelling elements.

That said, Season 4 rebounded in a big way. It was the best season since the first (and that says a lot because I thought Lila was a very compelling character in season 2). This has a lot to do with the villain Arthur Mitchell. It was a great bad guy but it was also played by a great bad guy actor in John Lithgow. He was a perfect counterpart to Dexter. They also brought back Detective Lundy (Keith Carradine) which we all loved. And the artistic team took real chances all season long, all of them earned. If you haven't seen any of Season 4 stop reading now because I am going to address some spoiler type of things.

Risk number 1: killing Lundy. It was perfect, too. It wasn't just "let's kill some major characters to turn this show on its ear," (like in the way The Sopranos did. They would clearly decide who was going to die because the audience needed something "shocking" to happen so they would kill a relatively important, but not terribly important, secondary character in the finale, just 'cause) it actually had everything to do with what the season was about. Risk number 2: Child abduction and murder. We hadn't seen that yet. That obviously generates pejorative visceral responses, but again, it was important to the development of the character of Arthur Mitchell. And then of course, the season finale - Reason number 3: killing Rita. How devastating, but how earned. It caught everyone by surprise, but it was not out-of-left-field. It was completely justified with everything that had been established all season. And that's what makes this show potent. Nothing is unearned so you truly feel the effects of something bad or good that happens because it feels like it did happen. It's not like one of those Freddy Krueger vs. Jason who would win arguments because who would win depended on whoever the screenplay writers wrote to win. That is not what Dexter feels like. Obviously, it ain't real, so someone had to decide these things, but it just feels like there was no other choice to make and that is what we are seeing.

And that is why this show is so good. You never feel cheated that a decision was made just to aid in getting from a to z. You really take the logical journey with the entire story. I was hoping season 4 would take us back there and it did. Now Dexter has three kids to take care of and no mate. what the hell is he going to do? I cannot wait to see what they come up with.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fela on Broadway

My company Art Meets Commerce is the ad agency and interactive marketer, as well as one of the producers of this brilliant show FELA on Broadway. Last night they were on the Colbert Report. If you have no interest in seeing Broadway theatre make an exception with this one. I am an avant-garde theatre guy, and I love this show.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Come See My Play Last Life!

For those of you who know anything about me past Haunted Houses and scary stuff know that my main thing is that I am actually a theatre director. my raison d'etre is actually stage combat, or what I call "fightsicals". To that point, I am actually helping produce an entire festival dedicated to the art of stage violence called Fight Fest at a theatre in Brooklyn called The Brick. In addition to curating the festival of over 10 plays that focus on smashing people in the face and running them through, I am premiering my own play, Last Life written by Eric Sanders, Fight Choreographed by Rod Kinter and starring Taimak from The last Dragon. It is easily my most brutal Fight play to date, as well as the most based on real fighting. check out this promotional video. It opens on December 4th, I expect to see you there, or you'll get a knuckle sandwich!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Some Nightmare Vampires "Behind the Scenes" Action

We were going to project this shadow fight between the shadow of Nosferatu and the shadow of one of the vampire maniacs who were attacking the museum. So me and John Harlacher (my co-director) recorded this ill-fated video that was to be projected. I deemed it awful and never used it. but i thought you might think it was funny:

When that one didn't come out the way I wanted it to we did this even stupider one with stick figures in an attempt to be funny. It just wasn't funny enough:

so we ended up projecting actual clips from the movie instead.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thank You

Nightmare Patrons

It it with great sadness that Nightmare Vampires has concluded. This house was very special to me for i tried something different this year, which is always a risk. I believe that risk largely paid off, though there is plenty that I learned. I cannot thank you enough for your support in helping make this one of the most successful Nightmares ever. I also thank you for all of your kind words and constructive suggestions. I am a theatre director, and in that it is always important to me that we are attempting to not be the run of the mill haunted house. To be completely honest, I know how to simply scare people. Everyone does. Turn off all the lights, have a bunch of people jump out at you, put you in precarious positions, have some more people jump out at you, do something gross, and then the end. But that doesn't make it a very creative or interesting haunted house or event. That's not terribly innovative, either. I just described the vast majority of haunted houses. It works, but I want something more transcendent. This year I was trying some things with a storyline and immersing you into an actual event. For some this worked famously, for others they missed the old Nightmare that had more thrills and chills per second than this one might have. And this has taught me something. Although it is important to create something wholly unique, and I do believe the vast majority of our audience appreciated the story elements, I cannot overlook the experiential facet to all of this. You like having things done TO you, and a lot of it. And this is precisely why we are doing Superstitions next year, and I want to hear what your superstitions are. I will also be researching superstitions from our culture as well as those from around the world. And this house will be completely experiential. I will maintain a theatricality and story element, but every room will have something happening to you, not just something you watch. Superstitions lends itself to that. Basically, you are going to be confronted with things that the majority of you are superstitious about NOT doing and then make you do it anyway! This is going to mess with you on a whole new level. The ideas are flowing, and we are focusing on the scary. This will be the best of all the Nightmares you have experienced. I have heard your thoughts, comments and reactions. I know exactly what you are looking for. And I'm gonna give it to ya!

See you next year at Nightmare Superstitions!
Timothy Haskell

Click here to tell us what your Superstitions are

Monday, November 2, 2009

Meet The Vampires: Richard Chase

Richard Chase, the Vampire killer of Sacramento. At an early age he would kill animals, eat their entrails and drink their blood. That turned into the winter of 1977 in Sacramento, California, over the course of several weeks when he randomly shot and killed six separate unsuspecting victims simply because the door was left open. His victims ranged from the elderly to an infant, all of whom had their organs removed, entrails ripped out and eaten and were sexually assaulted. He claimed he had to kill these people not because he wanted to, but he had to due to a rare blood disease that required him to constantly replenish his blood with the blood of others. His murders inspired the book The Dracula Killer, by Lt. Ray Biondi and Walt Hecox. In 1992, a movie called “Unspeakable” was made based on Chase as a model for the killer. His case is still used by the FBI as the archetypal model for understanding the disorganized killer.

What a Weekend!

Amazing. We had the biggest weekend ever at Nightmare. In all 6 years we have never had more people come on Halloween. By a large margin. Very exciting. Thanks to everyone who came, hopefully you had a good time. It was pretty berserk, crowded, rushed, testy, and a bunch of other things, but that's what makes Halloween Halloween. I tell people to go on other nights, but I guess there is nothing like going to a haunted house on Halloween!

But we ain't done yet. These vamps are still alive before the stake goes in them on November 7th. Then the sun will rise and you will see these vampires no more. And this week can be fun. Slower, smaller groups so we can really sink our teeth into ya. So if you haven't come yet, you should. There are loads of discounts out there right now (use the code LATE) and if you have been already and had a good time, wanna go back but can't afford to - you can now. Bring in your ticket stub to the house on Wednesday and Thursday and get in for FREE! Pretty cool right? Just buy some merch. Just kidding. but seriously.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Announcing the theme for 2010: Superstition

I wanted to announce this a little earlier, but it has been absolutely crazy over there at Nightmare: Vampires. The responses have been incredible lately, I couldn't be more pleased. But as always I announce the next year's theme during the current year to take advantage of the interest from the current year's patrons.

I think I may be more stoked about next year's theme than ever before. It lends itself to the theatricality that i incorporated this year, but allows for me to come up with more ways to pop scare and hide scares closer to how we did it with Ghost Stories or Bad Dreams Come True (the last two years). Next year's Nightmare will be a blend of Vampires and previous years. So without further adieu...

SUPERSTITIONS. It is our 7th year next year so in honor of lucky number seven, i thought it would be fun to do a house on other superstitions like that. Walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors, stepping on a crack, saying the title of the Scottish play in a theatre, etc. I can see a SAW-like feel to this (making you do things that have dire consequences). We'll see. But now i need to hear from you. I want to use this forum for you to tell me what your superstitions are. Do you like to wear 3 pairs of underwear when going on a job interview? Do you think there is a number that is unlucky? Is there something in your life that if it happens it is an omen for bad things to come? Let me know! please post you comments to this blog post.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Meet The Vampires: Yenaldlooshi

Yenaldlooshi: a skinwalker in Navajo mythology. They wear coyote skins and travel at night. They appear naked, wearing only masks and jewelry, and tend to live in caves. They also practice cannibalism and necrophilia. Yenaldlooshi are also said to be able to create a pollen from ground human infant bones that when sprinkled on sleeping Navajo families, causes sickness, social problems, and death. They are generally considered frightening, evil, dangerous, and difficult to kill.

Don't Say "Eat a Tic-Tac"

When people get nervous they making pithy jokes. Unoriginal, pat, pithy jokes. Since I myself have performed in the house a bunch this year, I hear the same ones i have heard over and over again for the past 6 years. In a nutshell, one of our guys jump out at you. They scream or yell or howl or hiss, or what have you at you. And then you, the patron says "Your breath stinks", "eat a tic-tac", "lifesaver", "mentos", "brush your teeth", etc., etc. etc. We get it. If you humiliate our performers than they become less scary, and that is why you are at the haunted house, right? to figure out how many different ways to make it less scary! wait a minute...

Yes, these folks are trying to scare you, but deep down inside, believe it or not they are people. So when they are busting their asses to scare you, don't make a comment about their breath. Everyone in your group will laugh, and they may even give you a high-five or a pound and then blow it up, but the performer has heard that 2000 times that night alone. his/ her breath likely does not stink. You say that because they got in your face and it is a funny, mean thing to say. But I just want you to know how unoriginal you are. You are not funny. It really doesn't hurt their feelings, they are used to it and they know it is just something people say. And in fact, all of our actors are required to eat a tic-tac before they start.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Enter The Scream Contest

Enter the Scream Contest. If not, watch this hilarious video:

It's 27-30 Minutes Long!

One of the Biggest complaints for Nightmare: Vampires (and reading up about others), is how long the house is. It's not just Nightmare, people bitch about it about all haunted houses. "It takes 10 minutes!!!", "scary, but then its over in like 7 minutes!!", "nothing is worth 3 minutes and 4 rooms!!!". Ok, ok, ok, for all of you that say these things in public forums - BLOW IT OUT YOUR EAR! Nightmare is being consistently clocked in between 27-30 minutes long. And if you don't believe me, bring an effin' stopwatch and time it yourself. The other houses that you say this about are probably longer as well.

I understand you enjoy going through these things, and I understand you want to get value for your dollar, but I would have to rent out Giants Stadium in order to make it the length you want it. It is just not conceivable. Our house is nearly 7000 square feet. that's pretty big for a haunted house. You know how long it would take for you to walk that if there was nothing in it? I mean, gimme a break. If you don't think 27-30 minutes is worth it, then consider this fair warning, but if you do, don't complain when it is over, and don't suggest that it wasn't that long. We have done some serious research on this because it is very important to us. we have been clocking over a hundred groups in the past week. And I am happy to report that it is one of the longest haunted houses that I know of. So it is up to you. But I will have a vampire really suck your blood if you whine about it otherwise!

obviously, this is a pet peeve of mine :-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meet The Vampires: Vlad Tepes

VLAD III, THE PRINCE OF WALLACHIA: More commonly known as Vlad The Impaler, Vlad Tepes, or simply Dracula. He is considered a savior in Wallachia (modern day Romania) but is mostly known as the person Bram Stoker named his character Dracula after. His Romanian surname "Draculea" means "Son of the Dragon" and is derived from his father's title, Vlad the Dragon. The word Dracul" means "The Devil" in modern Romanian, but in Vlad's day also meant "dragon" and derives from the Latin word "Draco", also meaning "dragon." Vlad III eventually came to be referred to as "Dracula"

The moniker Vlad The Impaler (Tepes) came as a result of the brutal way he would dispatch of his country’s enemies. Bram Stoker likely thought there was no more bloodthirsty of a figure in the annals of history than Vlad and the perfect character basis for his monster.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nightmare is rated Number One on AOL!

AOL rated Nightmare: Vampires the Number One Haunted House in New York!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This me in the blue haze room in Nightmare: Vampires on October 10th. This is going down as one of the audience's favorite rooms. Clearly I was scaring the shit out of people, as well as my cohort in the mist.

Real Testimonials

Detractors are the most vocal. People who love things never motivate themselves to go on the internet and write that. People who hate things...are So this video represents the true feelings of the vast majority of the people who go to Nightmare. And that's the truth ruth:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meet The Vampires: Peter Kurten

Another entry in our Meet the Vampires series. These are all vampires you will get to know upon visiting Nightmare: Vampires:

Peter Kürten,
the monster of Duffeldorf, was a necrophiliac, rapist, and cold-blooded killer. He would stab and kill animals as he was raping them, and staged an “accidental” death of two boys when he was 9. Starting in 1913 he went on to rape and murder up to 13 children with ages ranging from 5 to 14 years old. All of them he would suck their blood from their heads or neck in order to get aroused and achieve orgasm. He had an orgasm when he bit the head off a swan, and when he beat a 5-year old’s head in with a hammer and the blood spouted in the air and over his face, he also had an orgasm he said. At his trial he admitted to everything, was sentenced to death in 1931, His last wishes were that he could hear his own blood babble after his head was cut off. It was not something the courts could accommodate. His story is told in the book The Dracula Syndrome.

Go Slow

As much as the energy and the spirit of Halloween is infectious on a crazy Saturday night (and not to diminish that effect, it does add a lot to the experience), if you are looking for a longer, more concentrated and focused haunted house experience, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the way to go. There are crowds, but no where near the throngs as there are on a Saturday night at 8 pm. I like for the groups to be between 8-10 people, with about 5 minutes in between each group so there is no chance of them catching up with each other and so the actors can play out their entire scene without having to speed it up some so that the next group doesn't run into the current one. On a crazy night, the groups are slightly larger, and the gap between groups is less. We want everyone to get in and have a good time, without having to wait for ever (because we all know that dampens a good time more than anything).

There are obvious good reasons to come on Fridays and Saturdays, but there are equally good reasons to come Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We'll really go atcha on those nights, you just see. And what's more, to encourage people to go on those nights this week, October 13th and 14th (as well as the 15th) we are offering $20 tickets (that's $10 off!) for those performances only if you use the code HUMP1 when purchasing your tickets. Hope you take advantage of this offer, and believe me when I tell you these nights are special.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Look at All of the Great Press

We all have our detractors, but we tried something different this year with the haunted house - creating a story that you have to follow, much more theatrical than years past - and the critics have certainly responded. We have gotten lots of press including an amazing NY Daily News story, but I am only including here the critical reviews, not just stories. I am not just including the positive articles; they have all been positive so far. there are no negative articles:

NY Times
Haunted Attraction Magazine
The Whiskey Dregs
Entertaining Evil
The Jaded Viewer
The Courtesan Macabre

i hope you enjoy(ed) as much as these people did. We will continue to tweek and make it even scarier.

Monday, October 5, 2009

How To Prepare To See Nightmare: Vampires

So we have been at this for two weeks now and it has been going swimmingly. We've had a few bad apples, of course, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I would say it has been the most positively received house in our 6 years. But I have noticed some things from our audiences that have gone through so far that might help you better prepare for attending this event:

1. Don't come drunk. It anaesthetises you. This is always true for coming to any haunted house, but especially ours this year because part of the enjoyment is not just from the shocks and startles, but also from actually following and understanding what is happening. There is a story and it adds to the thrills and chills when you follow it. And, in truth, it is truly much harder to get scared when you are drunk. When something does jump out at you your reflexes are dulled and muted, and hence not as fun. You are coming to get scared, so don't numb yourself so that you don't. I realize when a group gets together for a fun night out something you all say to yourselves is "I won't be able to handle this unless I drink." What i say to that is, aren't you paying for an experience where the only real pay-off is if you DO have trouble dealing with it? Sure, have a few libations, but don't get to the point were you are no longer alert and responsive. You simply will not have as much fun. And there is a bar at the venue before and after you go in. That should just about do it.

2. Don't wear heels. Its hard to walk in them, the vampires don't care if you look cute, and you will constantly be concentrating on your stepping and not falling to the point where you will miss things; things that are important to get fully invested in the experience. It will be like reading a book while on your cell phone. You are too focused elsewhere to get the real impact of the thing in front of you.

3. Wear comfortable, casual clothing. This is a sweaty, bloody hot-box you are going to, not exactly the cleanest environment. We won't purposely ruin anything you are wearing, and indeed there is nothing you are going to get on you that doesn't wash out if you get anything on you at all. But a lot of people go through in a night and that's a lot of make-up, sweat, hair product and actors who have rubbed their bloody bodies on every wall possible. So don't dress to the nines, there is no point. Like above you will be more concerned about your clothing than having a frighteningly good time.

4. Put your fists down. Don't come with the attitude "they better scare the s*** out of me or I am going to get pissed" or "if someone gets in my face i am gonna punch them." None of that. If you think it, it will come true. Come for a scare, suspend your disbelief, and mostly, have fun. You are paying good money to have this fun, not to challenge our idea of it. You know how life works, if you go into something with a certain mindset it will manifest itself. It always does. This is a scary, interesting, startling, creepy, creative haunted house. None like we have created before or any you have ever seen, but it doesn't mean that we can influence the biggest cynic. I think it is safe to say if you are generally a cynical person, haunted houses are not the kinds of outings you should be taking. These are entertainments. Some are better than others at making you forget reality, but you know if you put your mind to it you will be able to convince yourself that this isn't real and hence safe. because it isn't real, and it is safe. But it is scary, in fact, scary as hell...if you let it.

5. Be prepared to let go of your friend. There are certain spots that might separate you. let it happen. It will be more scary for both of you, and again, you're paying to be scared. if someone tries to divide you or put you into a different room, let it happen. There are reasons for it, and all of them lean towards a division has to happen if you are to get maximum impact. So don't sabotage your own good time. Let the flow of the journey happen as it is suppose to. Assume if you throw a wrench into that plan it will have an effect. I love the people who ask the actors who are trying to scare them questions like, "where am I supposed to go next? Is someone behind there? Are you cute?" ugh. They aren't the information desk. Don't you think that if they broke into a dialogue with you it would alter your perceptions of them? why would you want that? Don't be a knucklehead, we will lead you in the right direction for maximum scares.

And that's what I have noticed this year. If you abuse any of the above, I am telling you flat out it will lessen your experience. I think it is safe that you can apply these same guidelines to any haunted house you may go to this season. I know I do, and I go to a bunch. I go to get scared and have a good time. And even though many of them are my competitors, I don't go wanting them to fail. I want them to be scary because i enjoy the sensation. I assume that is why any of you are going to a haunted house. So let it happen!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Boo Scares

I want to make something clear to everyone who is going to the haunted house this year. I had a nice conversation last night with four folks who have come to Nightmare every year. They enjoyed the house, and got scared, but their advice was "we need more boo scares." This of course makes me cringe. If i could build a house without a single "boo-scare" i would be thrilled. This is because there is nothing creative about it. i could just create a haunted house called Nightmare: Hallway where i build a long hallway with slots for people to poke their heads out, and as you walk down it, they all boo-you. awesome right? well, believe it or not, this is what some people want. I ain't gonna give it to them. I have worked too hard this year to create the first haunted house with a real story that you become invested in, that is creepy, that has real ambiance, and makes you feel something other than being startled. Sure, there are plenty of boo-scares also to go around, it is a haunted house after all, but don't expect this to be Nightmare: Hallway. It is better than that.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Meet The Vampires pt. 3

Betcha Never heard of this one! You'll meet her at Nightmare Vampires:

Penanggalan of Malaysia consists only of a head and some entrails. A Penanggalan is almost always a woman, whose head magically tears from its body, dragging her spine and internal organs along with it. It literally means "head with dancing intestines." Generally they feed on the blood of children, particularly infants, and the blood from childbirth. The Penanggalan's powers include dripping a sort of slime from her intestines that cause disease, while these viscera, particularly the small intestine, can be manipulated like tentacles. By day, in some versions, she returns to the rest of her body, and this requires dipping her organs in large quantities of vinegar. To protect against a Penanggalan attack is to scatter the thorny leaves of a local plant known as Mengkuang which would either trap or injure the exposed lungs, stomach and intestines as it flies in search of its prey.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Brooklyn Art Department is BAD

I cannot say enough about our art department this year (Brooklyn Art Department). They always do an incredible job, but they are really blowing me away like they never have before. They have taken it to a whole new level. I think it is because they were challenged with the most prop heavy house we have ever done. Part of the success this year will hinge on them. They have risen to this challenge. One of the things I take the most pride in with Nightmare is that it is wholly unique. I mean this in the literal sense. You will not see anything in this haunted house that is seen in any other because we make virtually everything from scratch. we don't buy or stuff from haunted house and halloween catalogs. And this is due in large part to our scenic shop and our art department.

The heads of the team, Justin and Aaron Haskell, have created incredibly lifelike structures of famous and not-so-famous vampires from history and the media. In addition to finely crafted versions of Bill Compton and Edward Cullen and their ilk, they also did their research and recreated close resemblances to some of the vampire serial killers we feature in the MOVA (Museum of Vampyric Artifacts) like Peter Kurten, Richard Chase and John George Haigh. Quite the creep show! In addition to meeting the demands of trying to recreate a phony museum with lifelike figures, they have also created nifty gimmicky bits like a Mother Mary and St. Francis Statue that spit blood at you, pretend "artifacts" that allegedly belonged to real vampires throughout history, giant lifelike sheep that you wouldn't want to count to sleep, an enormous replica stain-glass window of the devil striking down an angel, a precise reconstruction of the Joshua Hoffine Lady Bathory photo with fake people instead of real, and much, much more. These guys are tops in the haunt industry. I go to the haunted house conventions every year and I have never seen the kind of artistry at those things that I have seen here.

It may seem like I am over the top with this, but this is coming from my own excitement. I truly can't believe what they were able to accomplish this year, and I am so proud that they work for Nightmare. Hopefully you will appreciate the art of this house in ways you might not have before. All the more reason to go to the house and get the wits scared out of you first, and then join us on a Monday or Tuesday from noon to 5 pm when we will open the doors for people to tour the house as if it was really a vampire museum for only $5. Then you can appecriate the little details that will be missed when you are running for your life away from vampyric bad guys.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Making of Nightmare video 3

The Making of Nightmare video 2

The Making of Nightmare Video 1

Monday, September 14, 2009

Are Vampires Scary?

To be honest, vampires scared the turds out of me when i was younger, but they have become so assimilated into pop-culture that whatever danger they presented before has become commonplace and pacified. I have heard this concern from others, as well: "I Love Nightmare, but I am not afraid of Vampires, could this possibly be scary?" And I know where you are coming from. Although, I would be interested in this house as an outsider because I love all things horror, and if nothing else vampires and vampire stories are fun. But let me assure you that I understand your fear, and can allay it.

What makes one unafraid of something is familiarity. Familiarity breeds several things, including comfort. You may be afraid of going to a new school the first day, but after a month you don't want to go still, but you ain't afraid of it. The unknown is the most terrifying thing. I see it when people are waiting to go into the haunted house. Right before they go in they are as terrified as they ever will be. It is my goal to capture that feeling throughout the house. Always leaving them/ You to fear the unknown. Have nothing become commonplace.

Last year a pattern that i didn't even realize was there formed that someone pointed out to me. It was a complimentary email I received, but they had some constructive criticism that was very helpful. They recognised a pattern of how many actors/ scarers were in each room. So eventually they became comfortable with how many times they were going to have someone come at them in a room. It started to become a lot less scary. I didn't put a certain number of actors in each room on purpose, it was just what was needed for those rooms, but i didn't recognize the pattern. This year we have some rooms with no one in it, and some rooms just teeming with people. This is a whole new ball game. so thanks to that constructive patron, there will be no comfort for you this year!

So how does this all relate to Vampires? In every way. You think you are so familiar with them that they don't present any unique threat. You'd be wrong. I take care of the Edward Cullen's and the Bill Compton's and the Lestat's of the world very early on. The rest is a house teeming with beasts you are wholly unfamiliar with, who do things in a way that you have never encountered and will not be comfortable with. These guys are scary. They scared me as I did my research. I think I could teach a course on the occult and the history of vampires now. The thirst for blood is a messy bit of business, and every "thing" in this house is based on something real. It is unsettling to know what kind of evil lurks in this world. especially when its comes after YOU.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meet The Vampires pt. 2

Continuing my series featuring vampires that are going to be featured in the house (last week I told you about the Dearg Dul, the Celtic Vamp), today I'm gonna learn ya about the Lobisomen from Brazil (and other parts of the Americas):

The Lobisomen was reported to be small, stumpy and hunch-backed, with bloodless lips, yellow skin, black teeth, bushy beard and the looks of a monkey, the bite of this vampire turns its female victims into nymphomaniacs. To kill a Lobisomen, get it drunk on blood and crucify it to a tree while stabbing it. Another version of the Lobisomen is based on a Portuguese mythical creature and was once considered a werewolf.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Meet the Vampires!

Think Nightmare: Vampires is going to be 20 rooms about Edward Cullen and Anne Rice? Think again. Although we do address them, we focus more on other vampires that aren't from movies or books. But ones that people consider(ed) real. As well as creating our own vampire legend. I would like to introduce you to one of our vampires in separate blog posts. The first is the Celtic vampire, Dearg-Dul:

Dearg-Dul, which means “red blood-sucker” in Celtic is a beautiful fairy who lures its victims into a trysting place with their charms, although they are incredibly strong and possess magical powers. They can only be defeated by burying them in the ground and piling rocks on top of the grave, and a sprig of holly to sap their magic.”

True Blood: The Biggest Sucker epipsode 11

decided no one is really reading these and the task of coming up with something stupid that someone did in the fictional world of True Blood and be creative about it was getting a bit harrowing. Especially because I am smack-dab in the middle of loading in my haunted house Nightmare, and there couldn't be a more time consuming time for me. So, if anyone is saddened by this omission please let me know, otherwise, I am just going to announce my Biggest Sucker for the next two weeks and be done with it. I love the show, can't wait for the finale next week, but I am going to turn my focus to writing about what's happening with haunting!

Week 11's Biggest Sucker: Tara for going back to save Eggs. Just like I suspected she would be the week before. knucklehead. Now she is a zombie again and punching people in the face and getting punched in the face. Hope he was worth it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Improvements in Nightmare This Year pt. 3

At last the final, and perhaps most crucial element in my three part deconstruction of how I am going to improve Nightmare Haunted House over past years, as well as what i perceive as the general pitfalls of haunted houses the world over: CREATING WHOLLY UNIQUE AND REALISTIC WAYS TO SCARE PEOPLE THAT GO WELL BEYOND BOOGIEMEN HIDING BEHIND WALLS AND THEN JUMPING OUT AT YOU.

I mean, isn't this what you really want when going to a haunted house? Yes and No. In NYC, and likely elsewhere, people really like to see value for their dollars spent. I have seen people screaming their brains out for 20 minutes, enjoying every minute going through the haunted house, and then when they come out the first thing they do is look at their g-d watch to see how long it lasted. And they they start adding up the cost per minute. And then they start assessing the production values to see if the cost per minute was put back into the production. Too many can't just evaluate it on whether they had a good time, were scared, had fun with their friends, etc. So that is what I addressed in my last two blog posts LENGTH and MAKING THE DESIGN LOOK AS AMAZING AS THE MONEY WE SPEND ON IT. But now that I have made clear how I am going to sate the appetites of even the most cynical New Yorkers who focus on the above as much as anything, I would like to detail for a moment how I am going to scare you in a way that you were never expecting.

Obviously, this is a delicate subject. If i tell you too much then you will know what's going to happen and it won't be a surprise anymore. but what i can tell you is how I approached it and you can glean things from there.

I am a theatre guy who loves haunted houses and loves horror. I am constantly trying to reinvent the form and take haunted houses to a whole new level. I feel if I can successfully combine what is most successful about live theatre with the most successful parts of haunted houses it can truly be a sublimely terrifying experience (in a good way). The trouble with haunted houses in general, and the trappings i have settled for in the last couple of years as well, is what makes things truly, genuinely scary is not things jumping out at you from cleverly disguised places. No, that's shocking, and momentarily scary, but not anything else. Is it even possible to create unsettling, viscerally haunting moments in an event that has 10-15 people per group hanging out with you, as well as the inability to feel alone, isolated or have eerie silence? There is just too much noise floating around too much activity, and not enough verisimilitude. In the traditional sense it is not possible, but if one digs deeper they can find ways of skewing reality.

This is what I have attempted to do this year. Skew reality. There is no doubt, not unlike a movie, that you are clearly in no real danger. Nothing truly is going to happen to you. Obviously thousands of people are going through this thing a year, so the producers aren't daft enough to kill a member in every group to prove that anything goes. But how does one make a patron feel that way anyway? Unlike a film, something live and immediate and has lots of possibilities. A lot could happen, the trick is for me to make you feel like what is happening to you quite possibly could be the first time it is. And that is something neither my haunted house nor any haunted house i have ever been to has been successful at doing. But I think this year is different.

By creating this realistic scenario of you visiting a museum, you will naturally be unsettled by the possibilities. It is not about looking around each corner trying to pinpoint the spot where someone is going to jump at you. I am playing with your expectations the entire time. This year the house you are going through will have a story. We know the story, you don't. You are a character in that story, so we are playing with things that haunted houses rarely do, which is empathy turned into reality. You will feel like you are seeing things happen, but then you realize you are crucial to the next thing happening. I have made it so that the story really does play out differently depending on what you do next. We are also going to toe-the-line between what is real and what isn't. There are going to be some truly un-haunted house like moments that you won't know if they are happening in reality or not! But perhaps i have said too much. But i don't think so. You have no idea what I am talking.

But you will love it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Goth Kid Scare-A-Friend

This year all the good things about Nightmare are staying, and all of the bad things are leaving and being replaced by good things! Our marketing campaign that we are rolling out is reflecting these changes. This year is about being disturbing, weird, unsettling, psychological, thoughtful and truly haunting. This isn't just about hiding behind doors and jumping out at you, but really getting in your head and staying there. This new scare-a-friend video is a continuation of this thought process. This ain't "boo" scary, but it is certainly unsettling. The house will make you feel like this, but more, because you are in it, you will live it. I can't wait to hear what you think.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

True Blood: The Biggest Sucker Episodes 10

As a season winding down is wont to do, things are really starting to heat up around here. I almost don't want it to because that means no more True Blood for awhile and i need my fix. But at least we get Dexter in a couple of weeks, and I love that show just as much. And then there is Vampire Diaries on network TV. Yeah, no.

So now onto who was the biggest sucker for week 10. This one is actually a little tougher because all of the major characters have brought their A-Games so they are not acting so stupidly. And it is also tough because the entire town of Bon Temps is possessed by Maryann, and i picked them last week, so despite acting like a band of buffoons, I can't pick them again. So it really only gives me the lead characters to choose from, and the dumbest one of that bunch is always Jason, so...

Was it Jason Stackhouse? He now seems to think he is some sort of superhero just because he was able to shoot Steve Newell in the face with a paint ball, and the vampires seem to like him a'ight. So much so that when the Dallas travelers arrived back into town and saw the havoc that had been wrought, and the fact that everyone had turned into a black-eyed zombie the first thing he thought to do was load up on some nail guns and kick some ass. He would be the biggest sucker if he wasn't actually successful. He did end up saving Sam Merlotte and executing his plan. So although he went in like a bat out of hell, and probably should have had it handed to him, he didn't, so i guess he wasn't such a big sucker after all.

Was it Tara who after being saved from possession by Bill and Sookie the first thing she says is, "we've gotta go save Eggs!" No you don't. Why would that be a good idea? And speaking of which, does anyone else believe that Lafayette could beat up Eggs? Because he did in week 9 and i never addressed that. I'll admit, Lafayette works out and probably can handle himself, but Eggs is enormous. He actually looks like there is something wrong with him he is so big. as if his torso is actually a giant goiter. and he is like 6'6". So, can Lafayette beat his ass? no. But ultimately Tara is not the biggest sucker this week because the episode ended there. so if it happens it will happen next week.

I don't even need to pose who was the biggest sucker as a question. Anyone who watched the show knows the answer to this. You cringed when it happened. It is undoubtedly Sam Merlotte who fell for the cheapest horror genre trick there is (this side of falling down in the woods) - a bad guy (in this case the possessed waitress Arlene) acting like a god guy in distress so that the hero comes and helps and then the bad gets 'em. Classic. Sam was suspicious at first, but in the true nature of this column which diagrams how even in the most sophisticated entries into the genre (which i think True Blood is), horror requires people to make really dumb decisions in order to progress the storyline, so he went anyway. He had to. He wouldn't have got caught any other way. Sure, maybe it is easy for us to say that he was a sucker because we could see the fact that the filmmakers were hiding her eyes from us, and the character on the other end of the phone didn't know that. But he knew, he did, and he went anyway. And then he got caught. And then Jason acted like a god and was successful (i am sure that will go to his head) and saved him.

I don't know if this world can handle anymore suckers these last two episodes, but let's watch and find out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Improvements in Nightmare This Year Pt. II

A few postings ago I discussed that there were three areas i always strive to improve every year in the haunted house. The last posting i discussed how i was going to improve the LENGTH of time it took to walk through (making it longer that is) and now...

MAKING THE DESIGN LOOK AS AMAZING AS THE MONEY WE SPEND ON IT: The Amazing duo of Justin and Aaron Haskell over at BAD (Brooklyn Art Department) are the art directors of the house. At times i hamstring them with big ideas that are impossible to achieve with the budget we give them. It is not that we don't put a lot into the props and art - we do. A LOT - but sometimes it is absorbed by the hefty costs of things that don't really get the bang for the buck that it deserves. For instance there were three items in the house last year alone that costs over $20,000 - the rocking bridge, the isolating turnstile, and the giant head that came swooping down on you at the end. Out of those, only the turnstile that isolated some people outside of the house only to be attacked by a dedicated scarer - for those of you who were that person out of every group...sorry (tee-hee) - had any real impact. The other things were nice, but the money would have been better spent on extra actors or more detail in the rooms. And that's how i thought about it this year. DETAILS and ACTORS. But in terms of this column, this thing is going to be loaded with details. We are getting very precise with the museum feel of this thing (The MoVa as we call it - the musuem of vampyric artifacts). There will be "artifacts" and "antiquities" and statues, and busts, memorabilia, and novelties, and signs and placards, and "security guards", and case lines, and red velvet ropes protecting the "exhibits", and on and on.

In fact, it is going to be so incredibly detailed that instead of wasting all of these little touches because you are running away from the things attacking this "museum" we are going to open up the venue during the day for $5 for people to roam around and really look around without the fear of things trying to scare you. Even if you don't visit off-hours i believe the verisimilitude of the house will amke you feel totally transported into another world. A world where the things that happen to you inside this house could really happen. There is nothing haunted house cheesy about it. It bis not like i am just going to have a ton of typical haunted house props. This is wholly original. You will feel like you are really there, and hence the fear will feel really real as well.

So instead of large set pieces that have very little pay-off (the other large set piece we have had in the past that really works was that spinning vortex tunnel. that thing was awesome. that unit is currently in Miami at the house down there. But we are going to bring it back for next year), we have focused on details, and thoroughness in design. It will be beautiful...and scary as sh*t!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

True Blood: The Biggest Sucker Episodes 8 and 9

I gotta be honest, although the last two episodes of True Blood have quite possibly been two of the best shows in its two season existence, I am now loading in my haunted house Nightmare so i don't really have time to write full analysis of who the biggest suckers were in those episodes. So no teaser suckers, just the suckers:

Episode 8: Reverend Newlin. Cuckolded and unsupported by his followers when the vampires came for blood, he is a true foo' and our biggest sucker. Where's your god now, SUCKA!

Episode 9: The town folks who partake in Maryann's orgies that make them black out and wake up in pain and in precarious positions. Out of all of them, is there seriously not one of them that thinks somethings up? I guess not, and they are going down clown. Sucka punks.

sorry, that's all i gots. I will spend more time on the final, exciting, three episodes.

Joshua Hoffine Designs Elizabeth Bathory Room

One thing I am doing that is completely different this year is that i am utilizing the creative genius of several independent emerging visual artists to design several of the rooms in the house. One artists I am very excited about working with is the notable horror photographer Joshua Hoffine out of Kansas City. I have actually commissioned him to create and photograph the room already for me to use in the "Girls" gallery of my horror/haunted house website Haunternet.

I have included here that image. It is a small teaser. This is what the room in the house will look like as well. It is a cheeky version of reenactment of Elizabeth Bathory. It is stunning and breathtaking and some other adjectives that describe paralysis.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Improvements in Nightmare This Year

Every year i take all the notes that were given to me throughout the run and I try and improve the house. There are several areas that i feel we can always improve upon. I listen to the patrons as well as myself and i constantly try and raise the bar not just against my own expectations, but also against other haunted houses throughout the world. Some of these are general haunted house conundrums, but i am striving to figure it all out to someday create the perfect haunted house! I think Nightmare: Vampires could potentially reinvent what a haunted house can be. so in my next three blog postings i am going to break down the three things i focused on when conceptualizing this years house: length of tour, making the design look as amazing as the money we spend on it, and creating wholly unique and realistic ways to scare people that go well beyond boogiemen hiding behind walls and then jumping out at you. Today I will address one of them.

LENGTH: One complaint we always get, and as i read up on criticisms from other haunted houses elsewhere so do they, is how long it takes to go through. Unless you are in a football stadium, length of the tour is always an issue. People pay good money and they want it to last forever. I understand this. I, too, get disappointed when i am enjoying a decent haunted house and then it is over in like 10 minutes. I understand the want for this, but you have nooooo idea how hard it is to actually accomplish. The roadblocks to creating a truly long haunted house are the following:

space. If you are going to have people keep on moving, especially on truly busy days, there is just not enough square footage in 99% of venues to keep you walking in circles for much longer than 15 minutes.

Second, size of groups. often what happens in a haunted house is that groups catch up to one another because the event that happened in one room didn't have enough time to reset and do it for another group so the group that has caught up with the one in front of them doesn't get to see anything and thus the house becomes a much shorter experience. they end up walking through rooms with no event. this is especially true on really busy nights when the intervals between groups grow shorter and shorter in order to get everyone in.

Third, actors getting tired and pushing groups through instead of performing their bits. I am not impugning my actors when i say this. My actors are brilliant, and we have some amazing performers, but i understand it is a hard job to do something over and over again and sometimes it is tough to keep it up every 4 minutes. i get that, but the patrons don't, nor should they, so i have to figure out away to transcend that. in fact, i had to figure out a way to transcend it all if i want to improve this house and make it longer!

So how am i gonna do it? well, for starters we actually have more square footage. we have changed venues for the first time in 6 years and it is considerably larger. we have taken over two floors of an old crunch gym, and this alone will make the house larger and thus longer to literally walk-through. secondly, because the house is larger i can make the rooms much larger; large enough to fit more people into if it came to that. so instead of speeding up the intervals between groups we can make the groups slightly larger instead and it have little to no impact on the experience. finally, because we are not jamming patrons down our actors throats at a sound-breaking speed, they will not be as inclined to phone any groups in. Every night should feel like a a regular night and thus preserve their energy to scare the crap out of you. No pushing people though.

That is how i plan on addressing the length of the house. Next I will address the elevated design.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's Official, Nightmare Is Moving!

We are announcing this for the first time today. Nightmare is moving after 5 years at its most recent home in the lower east side. It has been an amazing run. I love the neighborhood and i wish we could have stayed, but our venue there was no longer an option for many reasons, so we had to move. And we are very lucky for it. Our new venue is located at 623 Broadway. The entrance is on Mercer and Houston. It is right next door to the Angelica Film Center, and right across the street from the NYU Recreation Center. Could you ask for a better location! It is an old Crunch Gym, and it is nearly twice as big (hence the haunted house itself will be much bigger - and longer, yahoo!) I couldn't be more excited about embarking on this new adventure with this year's addition - Nightmare: Vampires, our most ambitious house (by far) to date. We are addressing all concerns from past years with this house (bigger, LONGER, more actors, etc). this house is taking all of that into consideration and is doing something about it! It is also going to be the most immersive; truly theatrical this year with a cohesive plot, through-line, repeating characters and you, the most important character of them all. You are going to love what we have in store, and you are going to love the new venue. I am giddy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

True Blood: The Biggest Sucker Episodes 6 & 7

So apparently I'm destined to continually fall behind on these postings. Instead of writing two back to back, i am just going to wrap up the last two weeks' episodes in one posting. But man almighty, what a great pair of episodes. Cheese Wiz this show is good. I couldn't be more pleased with the current plot lines and the direction it is going towards its "exciting conclusion." Now if i can only get the show to be a sponsor of my haunted house (it is about vampires for christ's sake! and they have a new drink hitting the market around the same time that we open! but anyway...):

Episode 6: "Hard-Hearted Hannah".

this episode was one of those episodes where all the potential suckers from the previous weeks all had what was coming to them. I sincerely don't know if i could pinpoint who the biggest sucker was because the whole TB universe was designed to be chumped. but I'll give it a shot. but it may result in a tie. I'm gonna start writing and I'll see what happens.

Was it Sam Merlotte who finally, after 5 agonizing weeks of staving off the inevitable, got what we all knew was going to happen which was Daphne turning on him and selling him down the river to Maryann. And man was she mean about it. She wasn't even like, "I don't want to do this Sam, it pains me to hurt you, but she's gotta me by the horns and I can't seem to shake her so i have got to do it" No, she was more like, "You a bitch Sam Merlotte, I punk'd you like you were Ashton Kucher's nutsack," when only moments before that she was telling him how he was the love of her life. ouch. How on earth is this guy ever gonna trust another woman again? Thank god he is a fictional character. But was he the biggest sucker? maybe.

Was it Sookie who all season has been told that this mission of infiltrating the Light of Day Institute was going to be dangerous and end badly? Bill begged her not to do it, yet she did it anyway. We all saw coming to the point where she was last week's biggest sucker because of it. She got got, locked up and sold down the river. Her naiveté, or perhaps her arrogance, clouded her judgment and now she is in a cage with that other human stiff who is also dating a vampire. maybe, maybe, maybe.

Was it Jason who finally went through with sleeping with the preacher's wife...in the g-d church for crying out loud!? He was certainly a sucker for her wiles (read: hot bod) and could not control himself. But he is simple folk, the kind of salt-of-the-earth type who thinks with his wiener because he's a man goddammit and that's what men do. And while she was sucking so was he. But was he the biggest sucker? oooooh, maybe.

Was it Bill who never saw that Eric actually had designs on Sookie (whether romantic or otherwise is still unclear) this whole time and never saw it coming? Eric the Blond dialed up Bill's maker to put him on lockdown and keep Sookie all to himself. We'll see what happens there. But Bill had to be curious why Eric would go out of his way to tolerate her insolence this whole time, and now the truth comes to light that it might be because he wants to put his stake inside of her. maybe it was him. it would be the first time for Bill. he is such a cool customer. But it isn't.

it's Sam again. sorry sucka.

Episode 7: "Release Me"

Now the heat really turned up. I truly loved this episode. it was intense and action-packed and is definitely setting up the final episodes beautifully. The only thing that will piss me off is if this "show-down" they have been promising for weeks doesn't happen until the final episode. They gotta get to this now, no more mister nice guy. At this point it would just be stalling. But as we all know, Suckers make this world go round, so let's get to it. Who was the biggest sucker for Week 7:

Was it Sheriff Bud Dearborne? what? that's the first time his name has been mentioned isn't it? And he didn't do anything particularly stupid, but he does suffer from Scully. This is the disease derived from the X-Files' Agent Scully played by Gillian Anderson. The properties of this sickness is that no matter how acclimated you are to all the weirdness the world has to offer, you still don't believe anything out-of-the-ordinary and treat people like they are crazy when they proffer a theory that is remotely supernatural. In Scully's case the she was abducted by aliens, had sex with them, shared a smoothie with a few, and would still never believe that there were aliens. or anything odd for that matter. Here, Andy Bellefleur came to Dearborne reporting that something tantamount to a zombie trance orgy party happened at Sookie's house vis-a-vis Maryann. That doesn't even have to be supernatural per se, but Dearborne told him he was crazy anyway. This is in a world were vampires are an accepted part of life. Wouldn't you say, "hey, nothing is crazier than vampires walking amongst us, so anything is possible?" but he doesn't. He accuses Bellefleur of being drunk and that was that. It is so strange to me in storytelling when people are incredulous despite aby reason to be incredulous. What could be so far-fetched about zombie orgy trance? that's is only going to lead to his ruination, but since he is a newcomer, I wouldn't say he was the biggest sucker.

Was it that guy Hugo who went to the Fellowship with Sookie as the other human dating a vampire, only to turn out to be the traitor, and then learn that the people he was selling his secrets to turned on him and could give two cents about his survival? Now he is hated by the vampires and the humans. To trust that betraying the vampires was a good idea, and to trust jesus freaks for anything makes him an enormous sucker. He would be the biggest sucker hands down any other week, but this week, there is an even bigger one...

Daphne (and i know i have only posed 3 possibilities, but jesus, i gotta go). She takes the cake. after her monologue about how Maryann is god and/ or the devil and is supreme and beautiful and all-powerful, blah, blah et al etc., Maryann then kills her for her. oopsie boops. no take backs. Sucker.

Monster Link Madness

That sonofabitch Mark Blankenship over at The Critical Condition continues to write his True Blood confessional with his very own "Sucker Punch" column. Goddamnit why does he have to be so damn witty and clever?

My man Joshua Hoffine (who has designed a room in my upcoming haunted house, and has created an exclusive photo just for me!), is selling the photo that made him famous for a very, very good price.

Bloody-Disgusting announces that James Wan (you know, that "Saw" guy...and "Dead Silence" which i was actually fairly creeped out by), will be directing a big screen version of Castlevania, the Nintendo game. I mention it because it is about vampires, and Castlevania is featured in my upcoming haunted house.

From the website that refuses to give my haunted house any love, Fearnet, has a good story analyzing the veracity of several big-name "based on true events" horror movies.

IGN has exclusive interviews with several members of my favorite network tv show "Lost". I have a love/hate relationship with this show. it drives me nuts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

True Blood: The Biggest Sucker, Episode 5

Hey, what has it been since my last biggest sucker posting? 26 minutes ago? less? Jeez, it seems like forever ago. So it is about time I caught up with episode 5. Who was the biggest sucker? Let's read on and find out, shall we? (I am starting to think the biggest sucker is you again for reading this. Awwww, i feel sorry for myself. adorable):

Ok, so the creepy blond jesus freak finally hooked up with Jason. She gave him a handjob in the bathtub. He knew it was a bad idea, but seriously folks, what was he supposed to do? It's on her, she's the married one. This does open up a whole can of worms that is going to end badly. You can say he is a sucker for getting himself in a whole heap of trouble for an HJ, but when something like that happens you just aren't thinking about whether her husband is going to shoot you in the face with one of the bazookas in his basement. It wasn't a good move, but it doesn't make him the biggest sucker.

Is it Sookie for aggressively pursuing this vampire killer hunt even though Bill keeps on warning her about how dangerous it is, and yet she keeps diving in head first with aplomb? Actually, maybe. She never seems to care about getting hurt. She seems to think it can't happen. Like when she slapped that Aryan vampire Eric, or walked away from Bill's car in the middle of the night and then got sliced and diced by the chupacabra. She is naive, but more of a hard candy than a straight up sucker.

Is it that mind reading bellhop (those still exist?) that Sookie met at the vampire hotel who kept on blowing her off about the whole mind reading thing? Why does that make him a sucker? It doesn't, but what does is he quit his job because a guest was annoying him (Sookie). A guest that was only going to be there a couple of more days anyway. Why would someone do that? I mean, shit, call in sick until she leaves. I love it on TV shows and movies where people make extreme decisions like that because in their world an episode is an eternity, but in the real world we were really talking about him enduring a couple of times over a few days he was scheduled to work. But I guess that just makes him dumb, not a sucker.

Was it that crazy Vietnam vet dude who talks like sling blade? You know, the one that cooks in the kitchen at the only restaurant in rural Louisiana? Why? because he hooked up with Arlene, that fake red-headed waitress who is married to the guy that plays Benjamin Linus on Lost. why does that make him a sucker? Well, aside from her enormous baggage (her fiancee just murdered a bunch of people then got killed) and how annoying she is, she is mad gross. sorry. a sucker yes, but I guess he is no prize either, so not the biggest sucker.

Fine, it was Tara. I've been riding her about this whole Maryann thing for awhile, but never giving her the biggest sucker award. Now she is. Maryann took up residents at her new house, "assumed" it would be okay if she moved in, and Tara got all flustered and let her. Well, not right away, but she did after Maryann did some hocus pocus on everyone at the bar so that they were yelling at her and I guess that is enough for a fragile spirit like Tara to say, "you know, these people are yelling at me about Tabasco sauce and sidework. You know who doesn't yell at me about Tabasco sauce and sidework? That Maryann. I am going to let her move herself and her three friends into the house that ain't even mine." Yeah I get it. Sucker.

True Blood: The Biggest Sucker, Episode 4 For Real

Ok, as I am wont to do, i dropped the ball in telling you, you salivating ne'er-do-wells who I know hang on my every word, who I thought was the biggest sucker from the most recent episode of "True Blood". Having just aired episode 5, telling you about episode four is probably a bit anticlimactic. But for those of you who get nostalgic about things that happened a week ago...

Is it Steve Newlin whose wife clearly wants to cuckold him, and rumors suggest she has in the past, with Jason Stackhouse? I am particularly tickled when she left her room to come to his wearing a nightie and lingers for a few minutes making small talk before she goes back to her room. I told my wife when that happened that if we ever had a male stranger sleeping in our guest bedroom, and she left our room for a second wearing next to nothing and then came back ten minutes later I would certainly be like, "hey there honey, uh, where the fuck were you just now? I didn't hear the toilet flush, and I could actually hear you talking to that guy because it is two doors down and we as of yet have not turned our house into a sound proof recording studio." And then there would be some trouble. So i guess that douche is a pretty big sucker, but he ain't it. This week.

Is it Tara for allowing Maryann to throw a huge party at the house that she moved into a couple of hours earlier without talking to her new roommate (Sookie) first? Nah, I guess if she hasn't figured out Maryann is bad news by now she is the sucker for the season, but I can't speculate on that yet. I think things will eventually come to a head between those two.

Is it that limo driver who was sent to abduct Sookie even though her vampire protectors were like 10 feet away? The people who sent him made a sucker out of him, and Jessica made a further fool out of him by practicing her glamouring skills and making him say and do stupid shit, but he is too inconsequential to be this week's sucker. I don't even remember if he had a character name for god's sake. Although, i bet that actor was stoked when he got the gig. He TiVo'ed the shit out of it, burned it on to a bunch of DVD's and then sent it to some bigwig agents with a note attached saying, "thought you'd like to see me on last week's episode of 'True Blood'" and then some assistant thought to herself, "funny, I don't," and then threw it in the garbage.

I am going with Sam Merlotte. You want to talk about trouble, Daphne has it written all over her. Yet he's going for it. Poor sap, he is the nice guy finishing last, but why i think he is truly a sucker is he is too sheepish to ask Daphne why she has a 2 foot gash on her back. Aren't you all wondering why he hasn't mentioned it yet? I guess he doesn't want to upset her, but that thing looks fresh. I think I'd be all, "hey, are you losing blood? maybe you should get that open wound on your back stitched up. It's not that i don't think you're hot, I do, I just think you might die."

so he is headed down the wrong path, making Sam Merlotte, once again, our biggest sucker.

Almost There

I know I have been promising to announce where we are doing Nightmare this year for a very long time, and that I keep saying, "next week!" but this time that is closer to true. There are a lot of things to consider these days when doing an event that has become as high-profile as Nightmare. The decisions aren't just artistic or commercial, but regulatory as well. We need to settle on a home that is perfect creatively, in a great location, comes at or around the price we want to spend, and seems like it will pass muster with the Buildings Department. This limits your options. This does not mean that we won't be doing it at the same place we have been doing it, but there are new issues there that are in play since the last time we did it. We are mulling over our options right now, and realize that time is of the essence.

cool? So get off my back. What?

Monday, July 6, 2009

True Blood: The Biggest Sucker Episode 4

This week's biggest sucker is you for tuning in. Episode 4 airs next week. I predict Anna Paquin takes her clothes off, Tara gets sassy with someone, Sam Merlotte sounds like he is crying, and my wife still having a crush on Bill.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

True Blood: The Biggest Sucker, episode 3

Wow, how quickly after the last one I was able to muster my third installment of The Biggest Sucker! As a reminder, I have chosen The Biggest Sucker theme because this genre, no matter the quality and artistry - and I believe this show excels at both - depends on characters doing stupid shit in order to keep things moving. It also requires a great deal of incredulity, a talent what's her face on The X-Files was able to excel week after week. Therefore, I focus on who was the biggest dupe of the week in The Biggest Sucker:

Is it Eggs who while talking to Tara in a hot tub at an increasingly hedonistic party at Maryann's is confronted by a topless sorority girl and allows her to give him a massage in front of Tara thinking it was all good? When Tara is appropriately put off by it and leaves he chases after her and is all, "what? that? who? me? seriously, you're upset by this? come on, you're trippin'!" He's a huge fool, but not a big enough sucker, so it ain't him.

Is it Lafayette who after being saved from the vampires by Bill and Sookie refuses medical treatment because he doesn't have any health insurance? Doesn't he know that you can go to the ER and they have to treat you no matter what, and after you get the bill you can just ignore it for 6 years until they privately sue you and you don't even know it until one day you go to the ATM and try to withdraw $20 from the $137 you own and you discover you are negative $4800 in your bank account? huh? Although your health is more important than money, it isn't him either.

Is it the cop, Andy Bellefleur, who sees an enormous pig hanging out at Maryann's sex party and then questions Maryann about it and then she says, "what pig?" and he says "that pig!" and turns around to show her and there is nothing there, and then she is like, "Andy honey i think you are seeing things" and he accepts that and moves on? closer, but not yet.

Is it either Sarah or Steve Newlin who don't see that by episode 6 Jason is going to be banging Sarah? This ain't a spoiler. I don't really know, but seriously, come on. It ain't them though.

It's Eric Northman, The Vampire Sheriff, who saved Sookie's life, and then asks for her help to find a vampire killer only to be insulted mercilessly by her and slapped in his face without doing or saying anything to her. Does he really need her mind reading abilities that much? I mean, Sookie treats him like crap and he can't so much as throw her across the room? I think he is a fool for putting so much weight into her abilities, and for that he is the third episodes Biggest Sucker.

True Blood: The Biggest Sucker, episode 2

I have been a bit behind on this. I know you guys are champing at the bit to find out who i think is the biggest sucker from the most recent episode of True Blood. And now two episodes have gone by that I haven't commented on, so I am going to do this quickly. Who is Episode 2's Biggest Sucker:

Is it Luke, Jason Stackhouse's All-American football bunk mate who he meets on a bus and thinks that following the Light of Day Institute is more worthwhile than being a professional football player (something he could never be anyway because injuries ended the pursuit)? or that he thinks he is actually going to beat out our golden boy Jason for the favor of the church leaders? Nope

Is it Eggs, Tara's impending boyfriend who doesn't grow the least bit suspicious of Maryann and her weird ways despite being at the house for longer than Tara, ad despite the fact that Tara is already growing hip to the oddities? Nah

Is it Sam Merlotte who hires Daphne, the most incompetent waitress ever and sticks with her although the introduction of someone new in this small town almost always spells trouble? hardly.

Is it Lafayette who thought that he could escape the vampires den by trying to seduce a piece of white trash into letting him out and then selling his soul to Eric and Pam with the offer of turning him into a vampire instead of killing him? close, but not quite.

It's Sookie, who just a week earlier was able to glamor a vampire herself, Jessica, but allowed that same vampire to convince her that it was a good idea to drive her to her parent's house even though it is strictly forbidden by the vampire code, and knew full well Bill would have a conniption fit over it. For this she was the biggest sucker.

On another note, can any of my readers who watch this show, or anybody from the show who works on the script who is clearly an avid reader of my blog, tell me why can't the vampires stay awake during the day, but just black-out their windows? There hasn't been any explanation for this. They have only made clear that the sun will hurt them, but not that "staying up late" would. If anyone knows the answer to this, please let me know.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monster Link Madness

The Critical Condition is rivaling my own True Blood round ups (The Biggest Sucker) with "Sucker Punch." Both are equally deserving of your attention if you love True Blood as we both apparently do. Damn you Mark Blankenship, just when I thought I had an original idea!

Over at Haunternet they discuss a young girl who went into a tattoo parlor to get three little stars tattooed on the side fo her face and the tattoo artist ended up tattooing her entire face with stars. Now she's upset. How did she miss what was happening?

Asylum.com has the legendary Suicide Girls posing for scary but sexy horror themed shots. These gals have been doing it for awhile, but this smacks of the Haunternet Girls

Happy Horror does a special Father's Day round-up of the Stepfather films (the first one you still can't get on DVD. What's up with that?)

Everyone's favorite horror photographer, Joshua Hoffine is now selling his most iconic photo of all - the monster underneath the bed, entitled "BED" for only $20!