Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Vidal Sassoon was never like this, a review of the Prime Cuts graphic novel

From Laddsville Entertainment, the first volume of Prime Cuts is available in both digital and print formats at For more information, please contact Christian Pimsner at or visit their website at

Superheroes are fine and dandy with strengths and powers all they’re own. However, on occasion that superhero comes equipped with nothing more than scissors and his name is Todd. Loosely based on the Sweeny Todd tale, Prime Cuts is far from your standard graphic novel. Written by John Franklin (Isaac in Children of the Corn) and Tim Sulka and illustrated by Rob Gutman, their take on the barber legend is twisted and enticing at the same time.

Having been locked up for quite some time and all the while contemplating revenge on the man that destroyed his family, the day has come for him to be set free from cosmetology prison. But, the world is different now, with Mad Cow disease having distressed the meat industry causing extreme shortages and a pecking order that rules a society rampant with sex, drugs and violence.

In this first issue, both Todd and the vulgar, often grotesque and completely seedy world he must now embrace are introduced and he quickly finds himself fending off less than savory predatory characters. But, motivation is strong and there is a determination to succeed.

Odd and different with compelling color artwork leading the reader through twisted and shocking scenes, Prime Cuts stands above many other graphic novels on the market today. Fair warning, the journey is a demented and dark one that will find readers applauding and cheering for success…just not very quick.

Absorbing and captivating, audiences are virtually assured at looking twice at their barber/hairstylist before fully deciding whether to let both them and their sharp instruments near because Vidal Sassoon was never like this.

Wee Willie Wicked's Joke of the Week
You know how to make a dead baby float?
Two scoops of ice cream and two scoops of dead baby

For hungry ones...

Wee Willie Wicked's Annual Boo Bash invitations have been sent and Saturday night is the night. Should make for some great pictures on the next blog. Happy Halloween ghouls and Stay Scared...

Thomas and Willie

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Clowns, Jack-O-Lanterns and Cousin It Oh My!

The witches will be flying soon!
Most, at least those not living under a pumpkin or buried in a grave, are familiar with the standard Halloween film fare featuring Michael Myers and that creepy white William Shatner mask. Let’s be blunt. Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without a reminiscent screening. But, the film is only good for 91 minutes, which leaves plenty of time to explore other holiday terrors. These might include Night of the Living Dead, Sleepy Hollow, The Exorcist, Psycho, The Evil Dead, House of a Thousand Corpses and many, many more. Too scary you say? Well the, how about Hocus Pocus, Monster House, The Addams Family, The Nightmare Before Christmas and the timeless It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Point being, either list is virtually endless with plenty to go around. The choice is yours. However, here at Staying Scared, while we can appreciate all films enveloping fear, even the less fearful ones, we prefer to lean tighter against the chilled tombstone and embrace the more cutting edge. Thus, this time Staying Scared is taking a look at a few lesser known Halloween based anthologies.

Trick 'r Treat (2007)
In this 2007 film, Sam, short for Samhain (the old name for Halloween), is introduced early on as the central character and eventually plays a role. Wearing orange pajamas and a burlap sack hood with black button eyes, this child-like character appears more like a scarecrow than anything. But, don’t let that fool you, for he is truly a wicked one, entrusted to enforce the universal Halloween rules of…

(1) Always hand out candy to trick or treaters
(2) Be sure to wear a costume
(3) Never ever, under any circumstances, let the Jack-O-Lantern’s candle go out before midnight

With the rules in place, he overlooks the evening events and lingers over four tales, The Principle, The School Bus Massacre Revisited, Surprise Party and Meet Sam, each of which have a specific tie to one single horrific event.

Full of murder and mayhem, the film, while not overly terrifying, is entertaining enough and does offer a Creepshow-like comic strip conclusion that is both satisfying and sweet. Loaded with typical Halloween clichés, Trick ‘r Treat is a film worthy of the holiday and if tightly watched, might even teach some of the lesser known Halloween lore.

All Hallows Eve (2013) and All Hallows Eve 2 (2015) also feature short Halloween rooted tales that surround a central plot based on an old vhs tape. In both cases, it is the babysitter who plays the vital role. Unlike some predecessors, the films are arguably more frightening and most certainly more grisly. Let’s take a glance at each.

All Hallows Eve (2013)
In All Hallows Eve, the tape is found scattered among the trick or treat take and the tales feature a murderous goon of a clown who is both creepy and demented. Here you will find witches, the devil, an alien and the standard driving alone on a desolated highway.

While the acting is far from best, there is atmosphere, a complimentary soundtrack and gore. Underrated is one word that immediately comes to mind, especially when considering effects, creativeness and direction. Yes, the film may be low budget, but it does have value and should be appreciated for what it is…a fun creepfest. Strangely freaky and possibly nightmare inducing, watch All Hallows Eve for the clown alone…he will get to you.

All Hallows Eve 2 (2015)
All Hallows Eve 2 finds the vhs tape placed outside on the porch by a Jack-O-Lantern mask wearing freak who, straight out of a Michael Myers page, can inject fear simply with standing idly by looking back. Part 2 is more refined, quick and to the point, not allowing the viewer the time to get bored and don’t be surprise if you get sucked in on pace alone. Those familiar with part one can’t deny that the film making team has learned and from set design to tale quality to FX to acting, this franchise is growing and someday could have the potential to become a Halloween staple.

While were on the subject, let me ask you…you’re a babysitter on Halloween night and find an old vhs tape either on the porch or in a kid’s trick or treat bag. Would you watch it? Mwhahahahahaha

Tales of Halloween (2015)
Being a fan of short horror, Staying Scared could easily appreciate the efforts in the ten films, but that doesn’t mean they were all liked. Some were good, some were bad and some were simply mediocre. Led by the radio station narration voice of Adrienne Barbeau, the long opening credits featuring pure clichés in pop-up book type format was too long for our taste. We would have rather saw each tale introduced separately. However, that said, it doesn’t mean Tales of Halloween is a complete waste either. On the contrary, the rapid yarns take off quick and an odd fascination or compulsion clutched, forcing a continuous viewing from the opening Sweet Tooth to the closing Bad Seed. And, it was enjoyable. Some of these tales are quite warped and offer twisted endings. We especially enjoyed Ding Dong, a modern day Hansel and Gretel piece and couldn’t help but laugh as two neighbors fought to the bitter end over decor in This Means War. Trick would give slasher Jason a run for his money and The Ransom of Rusty Rex harbored one of those twists while featuring John Landis. While there were a couple we could have did without, having the Night of the Living Dead and Carnival of Souls playing in the background of various scenes made up for the slight downfall. No, this wasn’t Michael Myers, but it was a macabre Halloween night and we were entertained, which was exactly what was sought. So, for those with similar mindset, ignore the less than stellar reviews and give this one a peek. You might be surprised.

Suspension of disbelief is a requirement for all horror film viewers and is best served with a hearty appetite of open-mindedness. With the above mentioned films, the concept remains the same and don’t go into each film with high expectations. After all, we’re not talking massive budget Spielberg here. Take them with a grain of salt, or in this case, a drop of blood, and accept them for what they are, good, campy and creepy fun. Some are forgettable and some are not and that’s something for you to decide.

Cousin It (yours truly) was in the house for Daytona's Biketoberfest 2015
Blended in quite nicely I might add
Rockin with the band Hairball

And so, the zombies are in the house, the toe tags are ready, the blood is dripping quietly, witches are flying & the Jack O Lanterns are ready...
Happy Halloween everyone!

Stay Scared,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Another rejection for the pile...but its okay because Slashed Wrists Studio is finally live...

In the rear of Writer's Digest Magazine is a monthly series called Reject a Hit which offers the opportunity to play the publisher part and write a rejection letter to the author of a well known, usually popular novel.

One day an idea struck which, at least to me, seemed good enough to pursue even if it was more of a novelty concept. Surrounding my favorite Stephen King novel, The Long Walk, I wrote the piece and submitted. As usual, it took a few months to hear back, which was a rejection. Now I could easily submit the piece elsewhere, and maybe it would be picked up, but being an indigenous type piece limits submission areas and thus, I decided to share with you instead and posted below.

For you King fans, I'm sure you'll see what I meant by novelty. See how many titles you can find.

October 13, 1978

Mr. King,

While you may fancy yourself a horror writer, The Long Walk is anything but, and like some running man named Garraty, found myself encouraging frequent death simply to surpass every participant and end my character study misery. Had this been before 11/22/63 and the shining of science fiction, maybe, but believe me, this tale is no storm of the century.

Originally intending to ring your cell to convey first hand, both desperation and Dr. Sleep were more needful things and after tossing the last page on my nightstand alongside what is known as the dark tower of books, the dreamcatcher dangling above my bed swayed, quashing such notions and denying insomnia.

No joyland here Mr. King and under the dome of publishing, coincidentally feeling more like walking the green mile, must make the stand to implore using the pages simply as firestarter. For in the eyes of the dragon neither a Carrie nor a Christine or even a kid from Colorado will delve very far into this bag of bones.

Ascertaining your dark half, clearly the dead zone does not befit and so, please leave horror aspirations lingering somewhere between Duma Key and Salem’s Lot. Be original; concentrate more on playing finders keepers.

Granted, call it a revival if you will, but if hard set on horror, know the cycle of the werewolf grows yet thinner. At least wait until four passed midnight when clutching the talisman, otherwise maybe explore operating a pet cemetery instead. Somewhere the tommyknockers can exchange little Cujo or Lisey’s story.

Basically, Stephen if I may, everything’s eventual and this will not plant a Mr. Mercedes in your driveway. Next time try quaint romance...say a girl who loves Tom Gordon.


Delores Claiborne
From a Buick 8 Publishing     

Nonetheless, rejected...again, the story of a writer's life.

However, this won't get me down since I'm quite aware that writing is 99% rejection anyway. And, having been both published and rejected before, I suspect this vicious circle will remain a constant throughout this writing quest. know what they call a writer that never gives up?


My job typically sees me meeting all kinds of folks and some of those people are more interesting than others in both good and bad ways. One day a couple of years ago I happened on a guy named Joops Fragale, who was an independent filmmaker in the final phases of editing his short film entitled The Guy Knows EverythingClick here to watch it. Regardless, after some discussion in which I mentioned writing horror and my Staying Scared website, he offered me a screener to review, which I gladly did and posted at Horror News Net under my pseudonym Wee Willie Wicked. Read it here. While the overall situation, in itself, was invigorating enough, it also planted a seed, making me think I too could created mini horror films, and so began my pursuit.

Well, to make a long story short, after chopping, slicing and digging for what seems like an eon, this chase came to fruition, the graves are dug and Slashed Wrists Studio has become a reality. Although the films have yet to be created, rest assured, I have already pondered and have three ditties in the development stage. These short horror films will be shot using a Canon XL2 DVC and edited with Sony Vegas Studio. Of course, I'm no Spielberg, but I'm quite confident I'll be able to invade more than a few dreams. Mwhahahahahah

With the Slashed Wrists Studio website designed and live, my time frame opens and I will be shooting very soon. Maybe give the site a visit and let me know what you think. Send me an email here. By the way, much like accepting a publisher's rejection letter, I can also stomach criticism too.

Halloween, the most wonderful time of the year, is fast approaching and believe me, I'll be back to chat some more before it arrives. In the meantime, below is a completed idea I had lingering since I put that fearful costume on and maybe it will tide you over.

Ever wonder how the Jack O Lantern tradition began? Let Jack himself tell you his sordid tale...

Oh yeah, working on a couple of other things too. Staying Scared Storytime finds Lorelei Alecto (Staying Scared's very own witch) reading short horror tales and posting in audio format.
Here's the trailer...

And Staying Scared's Creep Theatre will see all the Staying Scared characters (the clown, jester, witch, scarecrow, ghoul, skeleton, Jack O Lantern & more) playing horror movie host with public domain films. The first prototype was for Burn Witch Burn, which was more than fitting for Lorelei to feature and it's actually a rather eerie flick.

Did I mention that I just went over 1000 Twitter followers? Milestones are a good thing...heh heh

...and so ghouls, I'll be creeping back and lurking around real soon...

Stay Scared,