Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN Top 10 Scariest TV Shows

Happy Halloween!!! While television shows in the late 1950's and 60's like the original "The Twilight Zone" (1959-1964) and "The Outer Limits" (1963-1965) paved the way for shows like "Dark Shadows" (1966-1971) and "Kolchak: the Nightstalker" (1974-1975) in the 70's . They would soon give rise to even more horror and Sci-Fi TV shows in the 80's and 90's. Since I grew up watching many of these shows, this Halloween Chernobog's Blog looks back at some of the scariest modern TV shows in the last 30 years and present my list of the Top 10 Scariest Modern TV Shows. Enjoy!
#10 Freddy's Nightmares (1988-1990) - A short lived TV series based on the ORIGINAL "Nightmare on Elm Street" films starring Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). A horror anthology hosted by Freddy himself, the show was somewhat disappointing to many fans, playing on the more campy side of Freddy's character making him into more of a Cryptkeeper type. While the show had a few memorable episodes with early appearances by now major stars such as Brad Pitt, Freddy's Nightmares are now more like a bad dream you can't quite remember after waking up. Favorite Episode: "The Art of Death", 3/12/1989 - A cartoonist's creation called The Phantom comes to life!

#9 Friday the 13th: The Series (1987-1990) - While loosely based on the "Friday the 13th" film series the show had nothing to do with hockey-masked killer Jason Voorhies. The show revolved around two young owners of an antique store (which they inherit from their uncle) who try to recover cursed items from their store. While the show lasted for three seasons there were several episodes with decent stories and interesting plots revolving around these various cursed items.
Favorite Episode: "Tales of the Undead", 11/25/1988 - A comic book monster comes to life and kills a shopkeeper!

#8 Tales from the Darkside (1983-1988) - "Tales from the Darkside" was a horror anthology series very reminiscent of "The Twilight Zone" with a little "Tales from the Crypt"-like story structure that would always end with a twist! The show lasted for four seasons and even sparked a major movie in 1990, which featured three stories and starred actors such as Steve Buscemi and Christian Slater!
Favorite Episode: "The Word Processor of the Gods", 11/25/1984 - A struggling writer's computer has the power to grant wishes!

#7 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) - While having very little to do with the 1992 movie starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the TV series became an increasingly popular show during the late 1990's and sparked the career of actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. The show was an ingenious combination of occult action and teenage drama from the mind of creator Joss Whedon. The show also spawned a spin-off in 1999 with Angel, a vampire cursed with a soul, (1999-2004) starring David Boreanaz (Bones).
Favorite Episode: "Halloween", 10/25/1997 - Buffy and her friends buy costumes and a cursed costume shop where they turn into whatever they are wearing!

#6 Millennium (1996-1999) - F.B.I. profiler Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) has the ability to see inside the mind of serial killers. He joins the Millennium group, a team of former law enforcement officers who believe crime is increasing as the millennium approaches. This was the second show from "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, although the show did not last as long as it's predecessor (only 3 seasons) it was an interesting and often suspenseful show with a highly original concept...that is, until Y2K didn't happen!
Favorite Episode: "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me", 5/1/1998 - Four demons trade stories at a donut shop of how they corrupt human souls.

#5 The X-Files (1993-2002) - F.B.I. Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovney) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) search for the truth as they investigate strange murders, monsters, alien abductions and government cover-ups! Created by Chris Carter, The X-Files became a pop-culture phenomenon in the 1990's and spawned two major films including X-Files: Fight the Future (1997) and The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008).
Favorite Episode: "The Host", 11/23/1994 - When a body is found in the sewers Mulder and Scully investigate and discover the killer is a Fluke-Man!

#4 Masters of Horror (2005-2007) - Anchor Bay and Starz produced two seasons of hour-long horror anthologies directed by some of the best names in horror from John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Mick Garris and Stuart Gordon. Some of the most original and horrifying stories came from this short-lived series which would quickly be released to DVD for many more to enjoy and be horrified!
Favorite Episode: "The Black Cat", 1/19/2007 - Based on the tale by Edgar Allan Poe, directed by Stuart Gordon (Reanimator, Dagon) and starring Jeffrey Combs (Reanimator) as Poe himself! 

#3 The Walking Dead (2010-Current) - Based on the graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, the series premiered on AMC on Halloween 2010 and has since become one of the most popular and most terrifying TV show ever. Sherrif Rick Grimes has to find and protect his family as they try to survive a zombie outbreak!
Favorite Episode: "Guts", 11/7/2010 - As Rick and the others try to escape Atlanta, they try to blend in with the "Walkers" and cover themselves in gore.

#2 Supernatural (2005-Current) - Sam (Jared Padelecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester hunt monsters, ghosts, vampires, demons and rogue angels! They have both been to Hell and back (literally!) and even prevented the apocalypse!
Favorite Episode: "Nightshifter", 1/25/2007 - Sam & Dean search for a shape-shifter in a bank with the aid of Ronald (Chris Gauthier), a paranoid conspiracy-theorist, when they become surrounded by a SWAT team!

#1 Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996) - Based on the 1950's EC horror comic books published by Bill Gaines, Tales from the Crypt aired on HBO in 1989 and soon became immensely popular spawning a children's animated series: Tales from the Cryptkeeper (1993), and two major movies including Demon Knight (1995) and Bordello of Blood (1996)! The horrific host of the show was the Cryptkeeper, an animatronic puppet based on the comic book storyteller, voiced by John Kassir. After seven scary seasons the show featured some of the most talented Hollywood directors and producers such as Robert Zemekis and Richard Donner; and actors including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Pesci, Demi Moore, Michael J. Fox, Malcolm McDowell, John Rhys Davies, Whoopi Goldberg, Dan Aykroyd, Christopher Reeve, Kirk and Eric Douglass AND Tom Hanks just to name a few!
Favorite Episode: "The Secret", 7/31/1990 - A rambunctious orphan is adopted by a rich, childless couple who spoil him and turn out to be vampires, but the jokes on them because the kid is a werewolf!


Saturday, October 22, 2011


MOVIE REMAKES! It seems lately, that if a movie is over 20 years old, it automatically gets thrown into the proverbial Hollywood laundry pile to be remade. Far be it for Hollywood to remake any truly classic movie such as Citizen Kane (1941), Casablanca (1942) or Gone with the Wind (1939), although I'm sure they've thought about it. While most remakes, particularly in the horror/sci-fi genre are usually awful, there have been a few successes (i.e. Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007)). It seems that lately the average number of movie remakes have been increasing, particularly in the last few years with all of the franchise remakes and reboots. The latest atrocity to this long list of movie remakes is of course The Thing (2011). This movie has an interesting past, this latest version is actually a remake of a remake! No joke, the original film titled The Thing (from Another World) (1951) was a 1950's black-and-white, Cold-War/Sci-Fi paranoia film starring James Arness as "The Thing" and produced by Howard Hawks. The movie was masterfully remade in as simply The Thing in 1982 by horror master John Carpenter (Halloween (1978) starring Kurt Russell (Escape from New York (1981). While this latest version is technically considered to be a prequel, taking place before the events of the 1982 version, that claim makes no sense since the title the same? While there have been many remakes over the years there are ten that come to mind that fall completely short of it's original intention of outdoing the original and fail are the Top 10 "Worst" Movie Remakes:

#10 House of Wax (2005) - The original film titled Mystery of the Wax Museum was released in 1933 and starred Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray (King Kong (1933). When a famous London sculptor (Atwill) is horribly burned in a fire, he disappears, only to reappear in New York City with a new wax museum where he uses stolen corpses for his wax exhibits. When it was remade as House of Wax in 1953 starring Vincent Price, it was filmed in 3-D and used the same premise. Them in 2005, it was remade into a mediocre teen horror movie featuring now Supernatural TV star Jared Padalecki and Paris Hilton (of all people!?). The movie was drastically changed into a story about two twin boys, one horribly deformed, who create a bizarre wax museum (and town) encasing victims (alive or dead) in wax!
#9 The Haunting (1999) Based on the classic tale by Shirley Jackson, the original 1963 Robert Wise classic is a masterpiece of subtle suspense and psychological terror. Unfortunately, the 1999 remake directed by Jan de Bont and starring Liam Neesons and Catherine Zeta Jones is a travesty relying on cheap CGI effects and a convoluted storyline.

#8 Night of the Living Dead (1990) - While George Romero's 1968 zombie classic is considered to be one of the best and well-known modern horror classic, special effects artist Tom Savini decided to direct a remake of it in 1990. Not only did they change the fate of the major characters but the ending as well! What we're they thinking?
#7 King Kong (2005) - The original King Kong (1933) is a classic adventure featuring one of the first uses of stop-motion animation. After the success of the "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy, director Peter Jackson endeavored to remake this classic film using state-of-the-art motion capture (played Andy Serkis (Gollum) and CGI effects, what resulted was a really convoluted and really LONG movie! Despite Jackson's ambitious vision, the remake got mixed reviews and moderate success. But not for Jack Black...
#6 The Omen (2006) - The Omen is one of the scariest modern horror films of all time. Released in 1976 following the same vein of religious terror like The Exorcist (1973), The Omen is about a child who will become the Antichrist! Liev Shrieber and Julia Stiles starred in this pathetic remake, which was released almost 30 years to the day and fittingly on 6/6/06. Unfortunately, the inauspicious release date didn't help the fact that the movie was awful.

#5 Planet of the Apes (2001) - Tim Burton, known for his fantastically dark films, would be the LAST person in the word to direct a remake, however, his  2001 remake of the 1968 classic Sci-Fi film turned out to be an embarrassing, big-budget, flop! In this so-called "re-imagining" of the Apes film, Mark Wahlberg is definitely NO Charlton Heston! Despite the impressive ape-make-up effects but lacking in story and substance.

#4 Clash of the Titans (2010) - The original 1981 mythological epic is a fantasy classic, however following Sam Worthington's fame in Avatar (2009), director Louis Leterier turned Perseus into a ungrateful, angst-ridden, jerk bent on revenge! Liam Neeson as Zeus is so over-the-top with his blindingly, flashy armor costume. The movie takes the original story of heroism and love and shoves it up the Kraken's ass!

#3 I Am Legend (2007) - While Richard Matheson's original vampire novel I Am Legend has been adapted into movies before including The Last Man on Earth (1964) starring Vincent Price and The Omega Man (1971) starring Charlton Heston, when director Francis Lawrence wanted to bring new life to Matheson's story he actually used the title of the story for the movie (what a concept!). Starring Will Smith, I Am Legend is downright boring. Watching Will Smith (and his dog) all by himself most of the movie, surrounded by terrible CGI vampires is exhausting! Even the campy, 70's exploitation Charlton Heston version is more entertaining than Smith's! They should've called it something else rather than ruin the original story.

#2 War of the Worlds (2005) - H.G Well's timeless Sci-Fi novel was first adapted into film in the 1953 classic Byron Haksin film. When it was announced that visionary director Steven Spielberg was set to direct a remake in 2005 audiences were highly anticipating this epic special effects laden blockbuster! It even stars Tom Cruise and a young Dakota Fanning, however the whole movie is a huge disappointment. While most moviegoers think Spielberg can do no wrong, we are reminded of flops such as The Lost World (2002) and Minority Report (1997), you can't win them all!

#1 Psycho (1998) - Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) is a monumental suspense classic! Based on the novel by Robert Bloch, Hitchcock literally created the slasher-movie genre. Of all the classic films that you would think would never be remade...BUT in 1998, director Gus van Sant (Good Will Hunting (1997)) decided to produce a shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, starring Vince Vaughn as the cross-gender confused killer, Norman Bates. What was he thinking? This movie shouldn't even be allowed to exist! It was a box office flop earning only a little over $20 million dollars but with a budget of $25 million. This is quite possibly THE worst movie remake of all time!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


THE MISFITS are back! This week saw the release of The Devil's Rain, the first full-length Misfits album in almost a decade! The band's current lineup includes Jerry Only on bass and vocals, Dez Cadena (formerly of Black Flag) on guitars and Eric "Chupacabra" Arce on drums. Produced by Ed Stasium, The Devil's Rain consists of 16 tracks including re-recorded versions of "Land of the Dead" and "Twilight of the Dead", singles previously released in 2009. Other tracks incorporate the Misfits' signature horror/sci-fi themes with songs like "The Black Hole", "The Mummy's Hand", "Dark Shadows", "Jack the Ripper", "Ghost of Frankenstein" and "Death Ray". The album features artwork by Arthur Suydam (Marvel: Zombies) and the album title is based on the 1975 movie starring William Shatner and Ernest Borgnine. The new album is available in a Limited Deluxe Edition with a Glow-in-the-Dark poster inside. A special promotion for this album includes a special limited-time coupon offer from Best Buy! If you're a longtime fan of the Misfits or just now discovering this phenomenal horror punk band, The Devil's Rain is an amazing album and just in time for Halloween!

Formed in 1977 by Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only at the dawn of the American punk music scene, the Misfits' unique style and imagery were based on horror and sci-fi B-movies. Although the band originally broke up in 1983, they later reformed in 1995 despite legal battles with Danzig, who went on to form Samhain and then Danzig. The Misfits enjoyed a short-lived revival from 1995-2001 with Jerry Only on bass, Michale Graves on vocals, Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein on guitars, and Dr. Chud on drums. During that time they released two full albums including American Psycho (1997) and Famous Monsters (1999). Recent releases include compilation albums Cuts from the Crypt (2001) and Project: 1950 (2003). While the Misfits lineup has changed many times over the years including musicians such as John Cafiero, Robo, and even Marky Ramone; Jerry Only has been the only consistent member. Since the band's 30th anniversary the latest version of the Misfits shows promise in the hopes that the Misfits will be able to continue rocking on despite their rocky past!

"The Devil's Rain" is the judgment of all others who stand before us, like a prophecy. The old B-movie was an influence to some of the lyrics, but the song itself is as if the heavens opened and swallowed our enemies. They have...and a new “rain” of terror begins"
- Jerry Only