Saturday, November 14, 2020

Fourteen on the 14th at 14:14

The 31 Nights of Halloween may be over for now, but Terror Titans isn't going to go complete dormant until next October. Instead, we hope to bring you tidbits of terror at least once a month, starting today with this 14-second horror flick, posted at 14:14 on the 14th day of the month.

We plan on doing this every other month until the forces of Halloween are back in full force in late 2022! We're kicking this series off with "Sandman"!



Sandman (2015)
Starring: Chance Monahan
Director: Joseph Monahan
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Saturday, October 31, 2020

It's a Nightmare on My Street!


Enjoy this Halloween classic (inspired by a Halloween classic) from Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince!

31 Nights of Halloween: Happy Halloween!


Sadly, Halloween may be basically cancelled throughout the United States and possibly the world--why I can't figure out, since wearing masks is what Halloween is all about!--but I hope you have some candy on hand, just in case some trick-or-treaters come knocking. And if you don't... well, I hope you fare better than the subject of this tale.

Happy Halloween! (2020)
Starring: Victoria Fratz
Director: Aaron Fradkin
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

31 Nights of Halloween: The Jester, Chapter 3

The Spirit of Halloween, the Jester, is once again on the prowl, as the 31 Nights of Halloween come to a close for 2020. This is the first of a number of films that we'll be featuring today and tonight. It's a direct continuation of "The Jester, Chapter Two", which helped close out the 2018 festivities.

Writer/director Colin Krawchuck has done something very neat with this three-part series, in addition to making each installment better than the one it followed. If you have seen all three chapters, and have an exceptional memory, you'll notice what it is. If not, I'll reveal what it is after the film.

The Jester: Chapter 3 (2019)
Starring: Aimee Rowan, Mason, Rowan, Kyle Crowder, and Benjamin Rowe
Director: Colin Krawchuck
Rating: Ten of Ten Stars

The Jester, while roaming the town in search of those with Halloween Spirit, encounters a little girl who has no one to go trick-or-treating with. He volunteers to escort her around the neighborhood.



There are many things I love about "The Jester: Chapter 3", but foremost among them is the way it loops back around to the beginning the first installment in "The Jester" series. If you go back and watch it here, you'll see that it starts where Chapter 3 ends. I also really loved the little touch that the home of the girl who can't go trick-or-treating already has a Christmas reef hanging on the front door! Maybe, if there's a Chapter 4 to this series, the Jester will be paying those parents a visit...

Saturday Scream Queen: Peculia


Peculia made her first appearance in "Evil Eye" #1 (Fantagraphics 1998), a quarterly anthology title featuring stories written and drawn by Richard Sala. Peculia went onto become one of Sala's signature characters, as well as a favorite of her creator and his fans alike.

A Portrait of Peculia

Most of Peculia's adventures start with her just going about her day... and end up with her fighting for her life against cultists, monsters, or bodice-ripping villains who have learned some tricks from mad scientists and mad slashers.

Peculia vs. the Bat Man

Peculia vs. the Cult of the Cat








Peculia and the Admirer

Peculia in a world where the horror and thriller movies of the 1920s through the 1950s could all easily have taken place, and where no one thought twice about encountering the supernatural or the by-products of mad science.

Sala never revealed much about Peculia's background. All we ever learn is that she's an orphan who lives alone in a large mansion located on the outskirts of a town. Here, she is looked after and assisted by a short manservant named Ambrose. Meanwhile, a bandage-swathed mystic known as Obscuras watches her from afar--although he and his minions cause almost as much trouble for Peculia as they rescue her from. 

Peculia: Who Watches the Watcher?

In 2002, nine of Peculia's adventures were collected in "Peculia" (review and some excerpts here, including the history of our heroine's lost shoes). After the cancellation of "Evil Eye" in 2004, Sala revised and expanded the Peculia story from #11 into the graphic novel "Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires" (review here) in 2006.

Sala wrote in 2010 that he had several unpublished Peculia stories and "hundreds" of sketches and drawings involving her, and that he hoped to some day to a book collecting them. Sadly, Richard Sala passed away on May 7, 2020, and the Peculia collection he thought of never came to pass.

While many of Sala's Peculia sketches and drawings have made their way onto the internet over the years, there are at least two Peculia stories that have never been reprinted outside issues of "Evil Eye", and at this point we'll probably never get to see them, nor the treasure trove of unpublished material from his sketch- and notebooks.

But... Peculia lives on, wandering the countryside of the imagination and finding trouble, whether she is looking for it or not.

Peculia the Peeker


Finally, if someone has the good taste to make a Peculia movie, "Trouble is a Friend of Mine" MUST be the theme song for it. It's also great music to listen to get you in the mood to read any of Peculia's adventures... and the video has the added benefit that it feels like it could have been animated by Richard Sala!



Friday, October 30, 2020

31 Nights of Halloween: The Lonely Slasher


It's the night before Halloween, so it's the perfect time for this little gem about a Slasher who wanted a little more from life. (It's also a nice attempt at a homage to the cheap 1980s slasher films.)

The Lonely Slasher (2017)
Starring: Corey Michael Adams, Ben Smith, Sam Bird, Will Milligan, and Nicola Brown
Director: Jack Bentley
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

The Fear-filled Phantasms of Richard Sala

It's the night before Halloween and monstrous men and women and terrible creatures are gathering in every shadowy ally and every abandoned home and hovel. Soon, the will roam the streets, looking for victims...

The late Richard Sala left behind imaginings of these dark beings...










Thursday, October 29, 2020

31 Nights of Halloween: Candy Crash


This literally just-released short film provides a preview of Halloween Night by showing how to Trick or Treat during the Pandemic--if you're a ghost, haunting lonely stretches of highway...


Candy Crash (2020)
Starring: Goulven Kervizic
Director: Simon Guyomard
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

31 Nights of Halloween: Threshold


With Halloween almost upon us, even turning on all the lights might not protect you from the lurking horrors, as Hannah and Charlotte discover when they hear something go bump in the night. (Actresses Charlotte Butcher and Hannah Clark have starred separately in films featured earlier this month, and they unite here as we Halloween is almost upon us! (It's Dylan Clark's fourth film to be featured during these 31 Nights of Halloween.)

Threshold (2017)
Starring: Charlotte Butcher and Hannah Clark
Director: Dylan Clark
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tuneful Tuesday: The Song of the Cat People


It's the last Tuesday before Halloween, and we're closing our presentations of cover versions of the immortal song "Cat People" with two different versions--one guitar-driven instrumental by the Breakaways... and a haunting version by Danish band Phosphoric with a female vocalist and a cello, front and center.

Again, there aren't any videos here to speak of--the one for the Phospheric cover is more annoying than anything else, frankly--but the music is great!


The original "Cat People" film was released in 1942.

There was a remake (the version for which David Bowie performed the "Cat People" song) was released in 1982.

Here's hoping there's another remake in the works for release in 2022. It would be great to have a tradition of a "Cat People" remake being released every 40 years...



Monday, October 26, 2020

31 Nights of Halloween: Shadowed

A power failure signals another run-in between the supernatural and the world's unluckiest woman, Lotta Losten. 


(Actually, everyone should probably take tonight's mini-fright film as a cautionary tale. We are at the point in the 31 Nights of Halloween where the shadows just don't hide the monsters... they might be the monsters!)


Shadowed (2020)
Starring: Lotta Losten
Director: David F. Sandberg
Rating: Ten of Ten Stars

Sunday, October 25, 2020

31 Nights of Halloween: The Devil's Passenger

Colleen Kelly in "The Devil's Passenger" (2018)

Some of the short films featured during the 31 Nights of Halloween leave you with more questions than answers once they're over. Sometimes, it's a flaw in the storytelling. Other times, it's exactly what makes the film so great. Tonight's mini-masterpiece is of the latter kind, and I'm sure you're going to love it. 

(Heck, as I began to write the above paragraph, I was going to raise the criticism that the film relies on Stupid Character Syndrome to work, but they I realized that it didn't. This tale of a woman who follows a van with a kidnap victim in the back is, in fact, perfectly executed. It's one of the best films featured during this year's festival!) 

The Devil's Passenger (2018)
Starring: Colleen Kelly and Gabrielle Niebaur
Director: Dave Bundtzen
Rating: Ten of Ten Stars

(If you're new in these parts, Stupid Character Syndrome is what takes hold when characters do things that are absolutely, blazingly idiotic because otherwise the story wouldn't work. I take it as a sign of lazy writing. In the case of "The Devil's Passenger" there isn't even a whisper of Stupid Character Syndrome.)

Saturday, October 24, 2020

31 Nights of Halloween: Klown Skool

Klown Skool (2020)
Starring: Valeska Miller
Director: Aaron Fradkin
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

A young woman (Miller) becomes the owner of a haunted television set.


"Klown Skool" is a great example of how to make an effective mini-horror film. Its premise is swiftly and effectively set up in the beginning, and we are given insight into the main character's motivation and personality, as well as that of the film's monster. We also get a complete story, with a beginning, a middle, and and an end. Writer/Director Aaron Fradkin did as more in five minutes than some filmmakers do in ninety... and which only the best makers of short films seem to be able to do at all. I also love the fact the film continues as the credits flash across the screen. (My only complaint is that I wish they'd been a little more legible... and makes me rate it Nine of Ten... but it's a 9.9999 rating.)

"Klown Skool" is one of the best films featuring during this year's 31 Nights of Halloween. Check it out! And be sure to visit Social House Films' YouTube channel by clicking here. Fradkin posts a new short film every month... and he's a filmmaker who is either wasting his talent in that corner of the web, or he's a filmmaker who is destined for great things!