Friday, October 31, 2008

Recommended Halloween Reading: Comics!

Happy Halloween, folks! In continuing with our Halloween-themed celebration -- a "spooktacular," if you will -- of all great scary stuff, I thought it might be interesting to talk about some excellent horror comic books. That's right, comic books. While comics generally have a for-kids-only, superheroes-in-tights stigma, the medium actually has a long history of producing terrific horror stories. Thusly, here are a few personal favorites that are sure to deliver thrills and chills.

The EC Archives: Shock Suspenstories
EC Comics, a comic book publisher from the 40s and 50s, produced a slew of innovative horror comics -- notable, aside from how frightening they are, for introducing new techniques in art, narrative, and overall chance-taking -- before being all but shut down thanks to some very irrational fears about the effects of comics on kids. Thanks to the EC Archives series of hardcover collected reprints, these long out-of-print tales are being rediscovered. EC created several stellar titles, including Tales From the Crypt and Weird Science, which aside from providing scares, also worked as smart morality plays on racism, anti-Semitism, and more. Shock Suspenstories was no different, as this omnibus is filled with excellent horror, crime, and war stories that will scare you and make you think. But don't take my word for it; EC fan Steven Spielberg wrote the foreword to this wonderful collection. An essential piece of comic book history.

The Goon: Volume 1 - Nothin' But Misery
The Goon, a story about a hulking, emotionally scarred gangster with a heart of gold -- created, written and drawn by Eric Powell -- is one of the best comics on the market today. A mash-up of horror, crime, and comedy, The Goon contains everything cool: zombies, werewolves, 30s gangsters and tough guys, vampires, mad scientists, killer robots, and more. Powell is a supremely gifted storyteller when it comes to his writing, as he deftly jumps from the heart-wrenching to the gut-busting, and he pulls it off with aplomb. But his art is also startlingly unique, combining pencils, watercolors, and deep inks with a kinetic energy that recalls Jack Kirby. It's best to start here at the beginning, and see how Powell slowly builds The Goon's world, characters, and tone. Before you know it, you're amazed. Highly recommended.

Torso: A True Crime Graphic Novel
Brian Michael Bendis is probably comics' biggest writer these days, as he has written just about every major series that Marvel Comics publishes, including Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers, and the current mega-event, Secret Invasion. But I think his best work remains Torso, a black-and-white graphic novel based on the true story of the Cleveland Torso Murderer serial killer. Disturbing and dark, this comic is like a great crime novel, with a true can't-put-it-down quality.

The Walking Dead: Volume 1 - Days Gone Bye
Zombie comics have been around forever, but none have really had as great an impact as Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead. Created and written by Kirkman, and presented in awesome black-and-white, The Walking Dead recalls George Romero's excellent zombie films, with a balanced focus on zombies and smart story. Telling the story of a cop named Rick, his family and others they've met along the way in trying to survive a zombie outbreak, the real brilliance of The Walking Dead lies not so much in its scare-factor of a catastrophe, but rather, in its questioning of how far are we willing to sacrifice our morals and ideals in the face of that catastrophe? No character is safe in this sprawling epic (which makes it all the more fun), and if you start here with volume one, you'll be hooked.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dudley Moore & Peter Cook

A little Halloween fun for all - check out this 1960s classic, Bedazzled starring Dudley Moore as a cook at a greasy spoon, and Peter Cook as Satan. Plus, Rachel Welch, who stars as one of the deadly sins, Lust.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Free Horror Movie Classics

Let's turn it up a bit, shall we? A Top 10 list, NO! We'll go one better, 200% better in the top 10 horror movie calculations. - yes, a Top 5 list, in this case, The Best 5 Silent Horror Movies. Not only do we provide a list, we also have the entire films to watch online for free. Let them drum roll begin, or better still how about an a J.S. Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Okay, here goes.

5) Hunchback of Notre Dame(1923). The Victor Hugo classic was released in 1923 and starred Lon Chaney as Quasimodo. Plus, a killer preview by LikeTelevision's own, Frank Random.

4) Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde(1920). Based on another classic literary work, in this case Robert Louis Stevenson's story called The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Plus - this could be John Barrymore's greatest performance. Really amazing acting, a must for all wanna be thesbians.

3) Nosferatu(1922) - Okay folks, this 1922 F.W. Murnau film is really creepy. Based on Bram Stoker's epic novel Dracula, Max Schrek is amazingly frightening as the Vampire Nosferatu. In a fit of insanity, Frank Random worked like a maniac to put a new soundtrack on it. Have fun.

2) The Phantom of the Opera (1925). Lon Chaney is brilliant in his role as the music genius named Erik, who gets disfigured and becomes the Phantom of the Opera.

1) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari(1921) starring Werner Krauss as Dr. Caligari. Nothing is more frightening than one's mind - wondering what is real and fantasy, and wandering between the lines of sanity and madness. The Mother of all horror films - Check out Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari. Or watch Frank Random's preview for a taste.

Monday, October 27, 2008

LikeTelevision's ScreamFest 2008

As if the political season and the financial markets aren't scary enough... it is once again time for the LikeTelevision Streaming Screaming Halloween, also known as ScreamFest, now in it's ninth year!!! We have been adding lots of fun stuff in the Horror department and hope to include another classic later this week, though lately we have been swamped with real world horrors - like the phone just won't stop ringing. I am really getting annoyed by all the solicitations and Robo calls, and remembered this gem from ages past, that is so deeply hidden, i could barely find it. But thanks to google... it can now be resurrected. Basically, a clever fella created a loop, and when he got a sales type call, he'd put them on hold, and then send them to a recording. Check it out... a telemarketer's worst nightmare. You know, i feel sorry for the guy, imagining him just trying to make a living, pictures of his kids on the desk... and then he gets tricked into the looped recording.

But let's get back to stuff that is entertaining scary. Here's a top 10 list of you favorite horror titles on the site. If you are more selective, just search for Vampires, or Witches. Another great title is Frank Random's bizarre soundtrack for the original Dracula film, Nosferatu.

We'll be offering more halloween themed video content all week... so come back to the blog and check out LikeTelevision at it's creepiest, where movie quotes like - have a little fire scarecrow... can only be doused with Holy Water.