Friday, September 13, 2013

The Seasoning House is bold, brilliant & say the least

Chilling and realistic, brutal as hell and mostly disturbing, The Seasoning House is a culmination of cruelty and suffering that even the hardest of horror fans will at times find hard to stomach. Basically, in a nutshell, this is Hostel without the tools.
In the war torn Balkans, deaf mute Angel (Rosie Day) is inadvertently forced to watch her family slayed by murderous thug soldiers lead by a heartless commander Goran (Sean Pertwee). This is military business as usual for his squad, with even the most hesitant of legionnaires forced to participate. It is also the source of commodities for Goran’s illegitimate side business; a brothel operated by the equally ruthless and cold hearted Viktor (Kevin Howarth).

At this whorehouse, a dark and dirty place with boarded up windows and scampering rats, the girls are held captive, forced to comply and perform through the use of involuntary drug addiction.

Angel, her sordid past told early on through effective flashbacks, has now been assigned as, for lack of a better word, maid and primary pharmaceutical deliverer. In a warped sort of way, this is a good thing since it keeps her from being one of the bound to the bed products.
In this capacity, she preps the girls before each typically violent, painful and callous encounter, injecting them with a hypodermic needle filled with heroin and gingerly applying eye shadow. Afterward, using an unclean sponge drawn from a rusty bucket, she soothingly wipes the blood away. Far from unfeeling and uncaring, herself a prisoner and the sole object of Viktor’s whim affections, she has no choice but to accept the atrocities.
Nighttime finds her wandering the crawlspaces between the walls, struggling and wriggling and able to maneuver from room to room undetected, where at times she exits from behind the ventilation grates. (This is the film’s initial revelation and in the opening scenes we see her accomplish this).

Powerless to aid, she maintains sanity in this vile existence by keeping it bottled up deep within and simply going through Viktor’s directed daily routine.
When newcomer Vanya (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) realizes that Angel is deaf and begins communicating with her through sign language, Angel lets her guard down and befriends, even bringing and sharing a little piece of heaven in the form of the chocolate she keeps hidden away under her mattress.
But, make no mistake, life here is meager and pitiless as Angel watches, so close but yet so far, from behind the room’s metal grate while Vanya is subjected to chronic and vicious rapes that leave her bloody and shattered. After one such encounter, Vanya’s pelvis is broken and Viktor is forced to summon Andre, a neighborhood doctor who may harbors ethics and pity, but is also unable to help since the establishment is well protected and far-reaching. After delicately scolding Viktor about taking better care of the girls, he (in a creepy, grin filled shot reminiscent to the visiting truant officer in A Clockwork Orange) lies to Vanya, hides the true extent of her injuries and tells the poor girl that she has only suffered a little tearing. An aware Angel wants desperately to assist her new friend, but fearfully abstains, knowing it futile.

But when the ones responsible for her abduction and family’s demise pay a visit, her plan of revenge takes full root. Will it lead her on a path to escape and freedom?

Throughout the first two thirds of the film, Director Paul Hyett sets the tone, making it impossible for the audience to turn away and taking them on an almost ethereal journey that nearly implies it is nothing more than some horrible bad dream. But, the final act yanks this away, exchanged for a high suspense filled game of cat and mouse. 

Raw, powerful and harsh, the film, carefully crafted by Hyett, is not for everyone and many will find it revolting. However, this is not to say that the film is in no way, shape or form terrible. On the contrary, the film is excellent, has won numerous awards and is filled with especially moving performances.
Kevin Howarth, as the imposing Viktor, initially will have the audience despising his character but will eventually turn them into rooting fans.
And, Dominique Provost-Chalkley is exceptional as Vanya, a role that can only be described as grueling and arduous.
However, it is Rosie Day’s Angel character that commands attention; something rather difficult when dialogue is forbidden; clearly conveying emotion the audience will comprehend and feel even without the use of words.

Uncompromising, The Seasoning House is an unrelenting glimpse into the sexual slavery trade that is probably closer to fact than fiction and for those who view the film, be aware, while the film may have ended, the memories will most assuredly remain.  

And the winner of the Killer Klowns From Outer Space DVD is....
Michele Lineberry

Michele, your prize is on the way!

Fester Bones Giveaway #2
WEREWOLVES by Jon Izzard

As mentioned last week, from now until Halloween, Fester Bones is giving away one prize a week. This week it it the book Werewolves by Jon Izzard. Chock full of photographs, this 192 page book goes beyond fiction to find the facts
Want to win it?
Simply drop Fester a line at and include your name and address. All entry's will be tossed in a grave and one will rise. 
Deadline is midnight September 19th and that winner will be announced next week right here on Staying Scared.
Good Luck Ghouls

One last note...
Things do go bump in the night and you might notice that Staying Scared is going through a change. All we here at Staying Scared can say is that It's going to be a very creepy October. More on that later

Until next week Creepsters,
Stay Scared

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Horrorscapes is a must for any Halloween Boo Bash

With Halloween in the not too distant future, costume parties are certain, held in places filled with the decor of nightmares. By adding HorrorscapeS, an innovative looping DVD of horrific scenes and chilling vignettes, any television or computer screen can easily be utilized to push that boo bash over the top.
Produced by Michael Speigner and Jeremiah Baumbach, over 80 fragments are depicted. With vampires and spiders, skulls and zombies, ghosts and Jack-O-Lanterns and even a creepy clown amongst, even things that go bump in the night will take notice.

Created and filmed with the utmost quality, proof coming in the form of an Emmy nomination for Photography, each punctilious scene is a culmination of distinctive costuming, exceptional FX, precise lighting and enhanced settings designed to constantly reinforce the mood.
The menu is easily maneuverable
With six sections to choose from, as well as the option to select all, choreographing a themed party couldn’t be easier and any ghoulish host can easily set the tone to their specifics. 

Section one is called Fear Fest, a vast combination of assorted scenes yanked from nightmares including a hairy tarantula creeping along, a demented butcher knife clutching clown lurking from the haze at the bottom of a stairwell and a terrified woman lying on a gurney covered in blood, her arm horribly gashed and being experimented on by an implied Dr. Death. Various odd looking eyes are also depicted and is sure to send shivers down many a spine.

The remaining five sections are specific screensavers:

Fire Skull is a perfectly designed and a graphically superior depiction of just that, a skull floating on and in a pit of fire from straight out of hell.
The Vamp Vixens are both beautiful and deadly
Vampire Vixens are sultry female blood suckers sure to tantalize any neck and perfect for those parasitic only parties.
Various Jack-O-Lantern's are depicted, all having a creepy feel
U Don’t Know Jack is possibly the overall best and will comfortably fit in any scenario, even the younger generational ones.
Watch closely and you will see
Ghost Hunting is the most innovative as camera 13, complete with date and counting digital clock across the top reminiscent of Paranormal Activity, watches over a dark and frightening, misty cemetery that in itself would convey fear. Watch closely minions, for the spooks do come out at night.
Lunar Madness is similar in fashion to the Vampire Vixen portion, only this time it is a depiction of a shadowed full moon perfect for bringing out the werewolf howls. 

An interesting note: With regards to their screensavers, 2010 saw Michael Speigner and Jeremiah Baumbach create the very first Halloween themed edition for Comcast On Demand and over 30 million fans paid witness to their handiwork. Coincidentally, they’ve been doing it ever since.

If there is anything detrimental to say about this product, it would be the dark and hard to read packaging itself. In my humble opinion, this needs an update to include eye catching flash and pizzazz…maybe some blood dripping from edges.
Any television and DVD player will work
Otherwise, HorrorscapeS, from, is frightfully clever, horrifically disturbing, fully unnerving and for those planning a Halloween Boo Bash, this DVD is an absolute must.

Fester Bones wants to have some giveaways.

 So, from now until Halloween, each week he will be giving away something. Want to win? Simply send an email to Fester at and include your name and address. Also, since some of these items may be "R" rated, please state that you are 18 years of age or older.
This week the prize is a DVD of Killer Clowns From Outer Space (okay, so maybe Wee Willie Wicked help him choose this prize). Good Luck Ghouls. The deadline for entering is Thursday September 12 at midnight, so hurry up spooks and send that email. The winner will be announced on next Friday's Staying Scared posting.

Until next time Ghouls, when we will review The Seasoning House.

Stay Scared,

Friday, August 30, 2013

Quite A Conundrum is just that...and it will shock!

Surprise, shock, revelation, alarming, staggering and disturbing are but a few of the many words to describe the independent film Quite A Conundrum. Directed by Thomas L. Phillips and produced by Golden Lion Films and T-Street Productions, this dark thriller is in no way, shape, or form predictable. For what begins as a comedy quickly proceeds into a misnomer, begging and daring amateur Sherlock Holmes’ to test their wits. However, not everything is elementary my dear Watson.
Mimi (Sasha Ramos)
Mimi (Sasha Ramos) is a promiscuous college student forced to live at home by her wealthy attorney father if she wants her schooling costs covered. While this may sound like overtones of something horrendous, it couldn’t be farther from the truth, for the home is a twenty something’s dream complete with pool and parents often gone.
Tabatha (Erin Cline)
Tabitha (Erin Cline) is her vivacious best friend who is just as licentious, maybe even more so, and flaunts it flawlessly. While she has a softer side, it will take an unimaginable horror for it to emerge.
Kylene (Emily Rogers)
Kylene (Emily Rogers) is Mimi’s little sister who, although still in high school, seems to harbor a more mature mentality, yet still runs rampant with typical teenage gossip. She’s one of the few that knows exactly what she wants…and it’s her deepest secret.
Harris (Anthony Rutowicz)
Harris (Anthony Rutowicz) is Kylene’s conflicted nerd-type loser boyfriend, caught somewhere between obeying his overly zealous religious mother Thelma (Catherine Trail) and desperately wanting to experience a typical eighties teen movie having scants of nudity and drunkenness.
Thelma (Catherine Trail)

Sean (Chris Greene)
Sean (Chris Greene) is Tabitha’s latest squeeze and holds the very same uninhibited views as she. There is only one thing on his mind and while the girls down at KFC may offer, a guy does have standards.
Dutch (Joe Coffey)
Dutch (Joe Coffey) is a calm and cool, somewhat slick friend of Sean’s…or is he?
Marc (John Lucas)
Marc (John Lucas) is a fifty something, sensitive, passionate man who is extremely overweight, wears an eye patch and is soon to be made partner at Mimi’s father’s firm. He also happens to be carrying on an adulterous tryst with Mimi.
Lola (Julianna Pitt)
Lola (Julianna Pitt) is Marc’s seductive wife who knows of the affair, but appears to not care and would easily file for divorce at a moment’s notice.

The tale begins with Marc, passion hot and tossing out laughable sex talk attempting to turn on a bored and sexually frustrated Mimi. When they’re finished, or rather when he’s finished, she isn’t shy about conveying disappointment, cold heartedly casting him away with a deluge of cruel words that would make even Cruella cringe. It’s over and thus begins an evening like no other; a thrilling ride that would make even Agatha Christie proud; where just when you think you have it all figured out, an abrupt ninety degree turn thrusts you in a completely different direction.
With 21 official selections, 15 nominations and 7 awards, Quite A Conundrum is a perfectly paced 82 minute, tightly edited film that is both engrossing and refreshing at the same time. A welcome rarity that offers both chills and thrills; a film so enthralling and enticing that it can easily rank with and possibly surpass many of Hollywood’s recent big budget endeavors.

It's worth mentioning that my old pal Fester Bones has a new playmate. He said he followed him home. Of course I let him keep him.

Until next time ghouls, when we delve into HorrorscapeS, a Halloween mood setting video that is a must have for any Boo Bash.

And remember, there are creepy things just waiting for you to go to sleep...

Stay Scared,

Friday, August 23, 2013

When bigger rats join the race, you eat them. Right?

Hello ghouls and things that go bump in the night It's been a rather hectic week filled with all sorts of gristle and bloody flesh and yours truly wouldn't have it any other way.  Here's a recap...
First off, beginning last Friday night, my interview with Jackie Chin for her Zombie Palooza show on Ztalk radio went well.

On Saturday, besides Willie reviewing Byzantium for Horror News Net, I was informed that my review of the Glenn Beck and Harriet Parke novel Agenda 21 will be included in an upcoming issue of Suspense Magazine

Coincidentally, this month's issue includes my Interview with a Monster - The Salem Witch File and my annual Halloween tale Trick or Treat may very well grace it’s pages too. I'll keep you abreast.

Sunday I submitted the 25th weekly piece for my Land of Shadow and Substance column at Horror News Net (look for or read other reviews here) and was interviewed by the wonderful gals at Webb Weaver Books for their Blogtalk radio show. By the way, they too are writers and their psychological thrillers Cruelty To Innocents & Collecting Innocents are available. For the third of the series, Avenging Innocents, they are having a competition where the winning character gets killed first. For more information visit here.

Monday I was scanning through my Facebook messages and wouldn’t you know, there was a message from Joops Fragale (The director of the critically acclaimed short film The Guy Knows Everything from cordially inviting me to the 2013 Orlando Film Festival. Of course I’m going...

And that led to Tuesday
which saw me chatting with John Coffey, one of the stars of TGKE. After confirming with director Thomas L. Phillips, it appears that I’ll be reviewing yet another award winning indie flick he is in. This one is from Tstreetfilms and called Quite A Conundrum.

I also spoke with Jeremiah Baumbach at about reviewing his HorrorscapeS party DVD, a collection of shocking and fear filled horror scenes. Great for any boo bash, a screener is on the way and watch for the review right here on Staying Scared.

On Wednesday I received a photo from Kyra Schon signed “They’re coming to get you Thomas.” Kyra was the little girl who used a pointed concrete trowel to gruesomely stab her mother to death in Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead. It’s now hanging on my wall and one of my prized possessions.

He once said he would never make another zombie flick unless it was
Well, this concept must be absolutely terrifying.
Thursday evening I sent an email to Tom Savini, the Romero protégé, FX master of the macabre and director of the 1990 version of Night of the Living Dead. He is gearing up to make another zombie flick called Tom Savini’s Death Island and is seeking fans’ help in financing in order to keep creative control. If all we dead fans contribute just a little each, you know, maybe a finger or a toe, all this green flesh is certain to add up and afford him the opportunity to give us what is certain to be a gruesome fearfest.
 Did I mention that he’s willing to give away some neat stuff too?
find out more here
He’s currently scouting locations around Florida and since I happen to live here, I boldly requested playing a zombie part. Far cry from a clown I know…but I’ll bet the flesh tastes the same.
Fingers are hacked off and crossed. Mwhahahahahahah
(Update: Received a personal email suggesting to be on the watch for the casting call)

Of course, besides all this, I wrote and submitted the next Land of Shadow & Substance piece, worked on chapter 20 of my novel, put some final touches on two more tales and Willie got his foamy red nose caught in the pages of the new issue of Dark Discoveries.
Dark Discoveries #24

Oh yeah…almost forgot…worked 6 days too. No rest for the wicked…he he…suppose I'll get plenty of sleep when I’m dead…
Wait...I am Dead...What the hell!

And so, here we are at the small hours of Friday morning’s Staying Scared posting. While it’s far too early to tell what the next week will bring, I'm hoping it will be hideously similar.
Be sure to occasionally lurk by Staying Scared for upcoming reviews, news and the occasional tale and maybe even bookmark to get your horror on.

Until next week Ghouls, Goblins and Creepy Things,
Stay Scared,