Top Ten Treehouses of Horror

October 14, 2011

Specializing in parodies of just about everything from The Twilight Zone to I Know What You Did Last Summer and mocking cultural references from the US presidential elections to the Millennium, the Simpsons’ annual Halloween special ‘Treehouse of Horror’ has become just as much a part of Halloween as tooth-rotting treats and cheesy slasher movies.

There are the ever-changing creepy opening sequences…

…and the ghoulish credits.

Beginning in 1990 as three segments of ghost stories told by Bart and Lisa in their treehouse on Halloween night, ‘Treehouse of Horror’ quickly became a cultural phenomenon. After over 20 years running it’s tough to pick favorites, but we gotta admit that the series hasn’t been the same since its heyday in the ’90s. Here are Awesome Art‘s Top Ten ‘Treehouse of Horror’ segments.

Where it all began…

10. The HΩmega Man (Treehouse of Horror VIII, series 9, 1997)

Back before apocalyptic zombie movies were a dime a dozen, the Simpsons had a go at envisioning a world where Homer is the last man alive after a nuclear bomb hits… but he’s not alone. After briefly mourning his family (and his television) Homer frolics naked in the church (Isn’t that what everyone would do first?) and comes face-to-face with a horde of mutated zombies who want to make him one of THEM.

Something's not right here...

9. Life’s a Glitch, Then You Die (TOH X, series 11, 1999)

Remember the universal panic over the Millennium? Computers would fail, gadgets would explode, planes would fall out of the sky? Seems ridiculous 12 years on, but this segment sees the Simpsons exploring the once topical panic of December 31st 1999. Naturally, the world falls apart as soon as the clock strikes 12, but Lisa and Marge manage to escape on a rocket ship bringing the world’s best and brightest to a new civilisation. Bart and Homer, on the other hand, end up on a rocket with the world’s losers (including Courtney Love and Tom Arnold) headed straight for the sun.

Don't get too comfy guys…

8. Bart Simpson’s Dracula (TOH IV, series 5, 1993)

When a series of vampire killings hits Springfield, nobody believes Lisa when she claims that Mr Burns is the culprit (even though he’s just bought the Springfield blood bank and lives in a mysterious gothic castle in the dreaded Pennsylvania), so when the Simpsons visit his castle for dinner, it’s up to Lisa to make sure that they aren’t the ones on the plates.

Don't you just love a trip to Pennsylvania?

7. Nightmare On Evergreen Terrace (TOH VI, series 7, 1995)

Groundskeeper Willie plays a ghoul seeking revenge on Springfield’s parents after he is killed in a furnace explosion during a PTA meeting (thanks to Homer turning the heat up too high). In this parody of A Nightmare On Elm Street, Willie gets his revenge by slaughtering Springfield’s kiddies in their sleep. A Looney Tunes-style opening sketch, Martin’s untimely death and that lousy Smarch weather… this is pure Simpsons humour at its best.

Don't fall asleep kiddies, or you'll end up like this guy…

6. Nightmare Cafeteria (TOH V, series 6, 1994)

Another childhood nightmare scenario and certainly one of the bloodiest TOHs, ‘Nightmare Cafeteria’ sees Springfield Elementary facing two problems: an overcrowded detention hall and budget cuts resulting in school dinners made from ‘Grade F’ meat. The solution to both problems? Serve up the naughty school kids for lunch. Üterbraten, anyone? How about a Sloppy Jimbo?

Mmmm.... tasty.

5. The Raven (TOH I, series 2, 1990)

An entirely different segment from the rest but easily the most well-known, ‘The Raven’ takes Edgar Allen Poe’s classic narrative and sees Homer recounting it word-for-word in a visually enchanting piece that includes Bart cast perfectly as the pesky Raven.

Too cute to be creepy.

4. Clown Without Pity (TOH III, series 4, 1992)

Let’s face it, everyone’s scared of clowns. And creepy dolls, everyone’s scared of those too. Put them together and you’ve got a nightmare on your hands. Especially when the doll’s switch is set to ‘evil’ and it comes with a free cursed Frogurt.

Seriously, would you buy your Frogurt from THIS guy!?

3. The Devil And Homer Simpson (TOH IV, series 5, 1993)

“So you like donuts, eh?”
“Uh-huh.”
“Well, have all the donuts in the world!”

Cruel irony…

Homer’s gluttony lands him in hot water when he sells his soul to the devil for a donut. Undoubtedly one of the funniest TOH segments, from Ned Flanders as the devil to the ‘jury of the damned’ that includes Lizzie Borden and Blackbeard the pirate, while the iconic ironic scene of Homer being force-fed donuts in Hell remains one of the best moments in Simpsons history.

Now THAT'S evil right there.

2. The Shinning (TOH V, series 6, 1994)

“No TV and no beer make Homer… something something…”
“…go crazy?”

"DON'T MIND IF I DOOO!!"

Some of the best lines in Simpsons history come from this flawless parody of The Shining that includes perfect casting (Moe as the bartender, Mr Burns as the hotel owner, Willie as the psychic hotel staff member), key moments from the film given a Simpsons makeover (a bumbling Homer recreating the ‘Heere’s Johnny’ moment to an empty room) and proof that television’s “warming glowing warming glow” will always save the day.

"Urge to kill fading… fading…"

1. Time And Punishment (TOH V, series 6, 1994)

‘The Shinning’ may take the top spot on most lists, but I have to admit that I’m more fond of this one (although technically they are both part of the same episode. Hooray!). The moral of the story? Don’t squish prehistoric bugs if you accidentally travel back in time through a magical toaster. As is the case in most TOHs, Homer’s clumsiness gets the better of him when he does exactly this, and ends up repeatedly traveling back in time to try to undo his messes. The worst alternative universe that he inadvertently creates? A world where Ned Flanders is the unquestioned Lord and master of the earth.

If that ain't a nightmare scenario, I dunno what is.

What’s your favourite ‘Treehouse of Horror’ story?

HOORAH FOR HALLOWEEN!

October 8, 2011

Screw summer, I say. Let’s face it, the only good thing about summer is the possibility of a warm afternoon or two, and unless you’re a school-going kiddie or lazy college student you’re probably going to be spending it cooped up in a stuffy office anyway. The winter months have many more redeeming qualities: chub-concealing cosy jumpers, the red cups’ annual arrival in Starbucks and of course the bestest holiday of all… HALLOWEEN!

Freddy's excited… are YOU?

Here at Awesome Art we have a whole horde of Halloween-themed posts in the pipeline to celebrate this special month. To kick things off, here are a few of my favourite things about the Halloween holiday season.

HALLOWEEN-THEMED SHIT

I’m not talking about the endless arrays of standard plastic decorations like squishy spiders and shiny skulls (although they are awesome too), but the everyday items that get a Halloween-themed makeover and start cropping up all over American malls around August (those Americans really know how to make some awesome HALLOWEEN-THEMED SHIT). My favourite item of HALLOWEEN-THEMED SHIT? My ghost fairy lights. I love these bad boys so much that they stay up in my house ALL YEAR LONG.

Aren't they cute? And scary too, of course.


AWESOME HALLOWEEN MOVIES

I love a good Christmas nostalgia movie, and we all know it ain’t Christmas yet until you’ve watched The Muppet Christmas Carol. But Halloween nostalgia movies are even better.

While Halloween is the time of year when horror-movie-haters finally subject themselves to watching the classics, for me, it’s when standard horror films go on the back-burner and I indulge in Halloween-themed movies that are somewhat cheesy, aimed primarily at children and full of HALLOWEEN-THEMED SHIT (sigh…don’t you just love it!?). Here are some of my favourites, to be watched while eating copious amounts of sugar and nuzzled up in front of a cosy fire.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Not only is this film beautiful to watch, full of adorable characters and set to a delightful soundtrack, it’ll also quench post-Halloween blues by getting you all excited for Christmas! But watch out for the Boogeyman, and his appearance in the most traumatic scene to appear in a movie pre-The Human Centipede (only a tiny exaggeration there…).

Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is one of those awesome ‘family-fun films’ (as I like to call ‘em) of the ‘90s. Such films always had a gang led by a sarky kid (or a sarky kid without a gang, *sob*), just enough sexual innuendo to still be family friendly and an inevitable wholesome and happy ending. Other examples of this well-known genre that you might remember include films like Matilda, Harriet The Spy and Home Alone. But Hocus Pocus is the best for PG Halloween fun: it’s got a bratty Thora Birch, a hilariously pre-digital age robot cat and Sarah Jessica Parker in the role that God intended for her.

Addams Family Values

This sequel kicks the ass of The Addams Family movie, which let’s face it, isn’t all that awesome. Though Addams Family Values may not be as outlandishly ‘Halloween-themed’ as the other movies on this list, who gives a crap!? It’s the ADDAMS. They ARE Halloween. Best bits? The summer camp scenes, especially the Addams-style politically incorrect Thanksgiving skit.

Check back with Awesome Art for more AWESOME Halloween-themed posts soon!

Try to contain your excitement or you mind end up like this guy!

A New Kind of Horror Story: Interview with Vincent Hobbes

October 7, 2011

Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’, Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’, Stephen King’s seemingly endless multitude of creepy stories: you can’t deny the fact that some of the world’s most memorable horror narratives come packaged in just a few pages.

Classic horror narratives that found their way into popular culture

Taking the classic horror story to new and strange places is The Endlands, a short story anthology written by a selection of contemporary horror writers. One of whom is Texas-based Vincent Hobbes, who is also the brains behind the book’s concept, and describes it as “a collection of 17 mind-boggling short stories, a carnival of tales, sure to entertain your darkest fears.” Rather than sicken you with gore, The Endlands injects its short stories with Twilight Zone-style bizarreness.

Awesome Art chats to Vincent Hobbes about the release of The Endlands, the development of his own writing style and why gore and ‘torture porn’ horror leave him cold.

The man behind the madness

How did your interest in writing begin?

I was always creative, even as a child. I think that motivated my passion to write. I enjoyed a wild imagination, and needed an outlet for it. Writing came naturally for me. I remember creating stories in my head at a very young age, and began writing them down when I was a teenager.

What about your interest in horror? Can you remember the first horror related piece that you wrote?

I’ve always enjoyed scaring people. Ask my sister or her childhood friends—it was quite the hobby of mine! I wrote a horror novella in my freshman year of high school. It wasn’t very original, and not even well written, but it started me on the right track.

How would you describe your own writing style?

I write much differently now than I did before I wrote professionally. In the past, I focused a lot on description and less on characters and plot. I now understand the importance of character connection. I find my style is faster paced, a more furious approach. I still keep the description, but it’s a better blend.

Tell us about some of your previous writing projects pre The Endlands.

I previously worked on a fantasy series with two other authors. But it’s an ongoing project—a very complicated project!

What was the initial concept for The Endlands? Where did the idea come from?

The original idea was to put together a short story book of my own work. As the idea grew in my mind, I decided I wanted other authors to contribute. I have always loved the bizarre side of horror, like The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, and I wanted a collection of stories that were really out there, really creative—The Endlands is that place. Thank my wife for the title!

How do you think the stories connect with each other?

Each story is different in every way, yet each fits into the same realm of unexplained.

Tell us about the other writers who have stories featured in The Endlands.

After presenting this project to my publisher, we sought out talent. Through different means my publisher helped me take submissions. After just a few weeks, hundreds of submissions flowed in—some by professional writers, some by writers who simply had a good story. From there came the painstaking process of attempting to find the best work—and the stories that best fit the project.

Do you have a favourite story in the book?

Hard for me to pick a favourite, though I really enjoy Patrick Greene’s stories. His writing is so fluid, and his imagination is endless. Craig Wessel’s work is also great.

Do you think that the subject of horror is particularly suited to the short story?

The short story allows for a quick scare, so in that way, the short story is conducive to horror. I think the short story has a bigger impact at times. An example of this is Shirley Jackson’s story, ‘The Lottery’.

Do you have a favourite short story horror writer?

Stephen King.

Are you a big horror movie fan as well? What do you think about the current ‘torture porn’ fascination?

I am a huge fan of horror films. I’ll watch almost any movie that is horror, but it takes a lot for me to truly appreciate a horror film. I prefer horror that relies on a solid plot and a creative take to it. I’m not a fan of ‘torture porn’ or gore. Gore is necessary only when it fits the story, but often—both in movies and books—gore is used to shadow poor ideas and poor writing.

Who are some are your favourite horror writers and why?

I’m a fan of Stephen King, perhaps the master of horror. I think my fear of clowns can be attributed to IT. I also love Rod Serling’s work, and Ray Bradbury. Though they are often categorized as science fiction writers, I think they fit into the horror category as well. These writers know how to tell a story, they know what makes the reader cringe. They also make you think. Horror that makes you think is the best kind. Horror that leaves you wondering is even better.

Are you currently working on any new projects?

I am currently working on two new projects. First is a horror novel that takes place in the Wild West. Secondly, I’m working on a dystopian novel. I hope to finish these this fall and have them released sometime next year.

What are your other interests outside of horror and writing?

Spending time with my family and friends, and my German Shorthaired Pointers.

Can you talk us through a typical day in your life?  

I’m lucky because I have a flexible schedule, so every day is not the same. I typically write in the morning and late at night. Other than that, you may find me outside with my dogs or on the Internet. I am happily married and own a home. I work, hang out with my friends, and spend time with my family. I especially enjoy time with my beautiful niece.

My life is as normal as anyone else’s!

Vincent and his wife

Vincent Hobbes lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, chickens and ducks north of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. Visit his website here.

The Endlands is available now from Amazon.

Marilyn Manson returns… with an unlikely collaboration.

September 4, 2011

Before the artist formally known as Brian Warner documented his mid-life crisis by writhing around with his barely legal lover in a pool of fake blood, the self-proclaimed God of Fuck (LOLZ) was a master of horror and heavy metal, specializing in sick music videos and stellar live performances. And, most importantly, he was selling albums. But the last decade has seen a steady decline not only in Manson’s album sales, but also in the number of people who respect him. The controversy has worn off, the tunes have dried up and poor Manson’s music career is drooping almost as much as his jowls.

Identity crisis, anyone?

But despite negative responses to his recent efforts, Marilyn Manson refuses to give up. Even as someone who spent her teenage years with his first four albums on repeat, I’m not sure if this is a good thing. It was announced this week that Manson’s attempt to redeem himself after mediocre last album The High End Of Low sees him returning with a new song, new video, and even a brand new sidekick…

.... this guy!?

So… apparently Manson and the kid from the Transformers movies (who goes by the name of Shia LaBeouf… bet that made for a fun adolescence) met at some concert somewhere and like totally hit it off or something to the point that Manson hired him to direct a ‘short film’ that would be accompanied by music from Manson’s new album, Born Villain. Right.

No offense, Brian, but I don’t think the way to rekindle your lost respect is to collaborate with a kid who found ‘fame’ on the Disney channel.

Desperate times…

So what can possibly result from this bizarre collaboration? And, more importantly, can it resurrect the once legendary status of the Antichrist Superstar we know and, err… love? Or is it finally time for Brian (I really, really enjoy calling him Brian) to hang up his microphone and retire to a dank dungeon somewhere to paint watercolors (they’re actually not half bad) while chugging his own brand of absinthe? (Yes, really. It’s called Mansinthe, obvz.)

MANSINTHE: for the life and soul of every party!

Born Villain isn’t unlike other Manson videos, just in case you were worried that this Shia kid would change Brian’s ways. In fact, the video is pure Manson all over: there are plenty of naked chicks paired with a load of ‘shocking’ and ‘controversial’ visuals (pedophilia, genitalia, a guy with no legs in a pair of saggy boxer shorts, etc.) that are occasionally interrupted by Manson and pals spouting out Shakespeare quotes. Deep. Oh yeah, and there’s music in there too, somewhere.

But what do you think? Have a look at the video for Born Villain for yourself…


WARNING: THIS VIDEO IS VERY NAUGHTY. We don’t advise watching it at work.

Well. That sure was interesting, wasn’t it?

Films I LOVE: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

August 24, 2011

Frankenstein gets a ‘70s style makeover complete with suspenders and glittery platforms in this over-the-top cult phenomenon that – and this may surprise you – was written by Richard O’Brien who plays creepy butler Riff Raff and is led by the “sweet transvestite” (is there any other kind!?) Frank-N-Furter. The beauty of this wacky film is the chaotic mishmash of themes, visuals, music and characters that are performed to hilarious perfection. Admittedly, you will either love it or loathe it, but either way, you have to see it.

Yep, this weird little guy is the one responsible for the madness.

Transylvania: the new Fire Island!

Not technically a horror film – a young Meatloaf may get bludgeoned but if that scene manages to frighten you then you’ve got issues – however if you can think of a scarier scenario for the all-American white underwear wearing squeaky clean couple that is Brad and Janet than being thrust into an alien mansion bursting with sexual decadence and governed by a horny transvestite dictator then be my guest. And besides, it’s awesome.

Ya feelin' gay yet?

Why I Heart It

Yep, definitely feelin' a bit gay now.

Two words: Tim Curry. Although Susan Sarandon comes a close second for her comic performance of the doe-eyed ditz Janet, Curry gives the performance of his life as the cross-dressing scientist and all round mentally unstable sex-crazed alien Doctor Frank-N-Furter (although he’s also pretty awesome as Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island too, fo’ reals. And let’s not forget his role in a little film called IT). The voice, the hilarious facial expressions and THAT wiggle in THOSE high heels: this film belongs to Tim Curry.

Captain Jack who?!

Favourite Scene

...not this one.

There are so many to bloody choose from: Janet and Brad’s opening number as they frolic through a graveyard with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him sighting of Tim Curry in the background, a wig-wearing Frank-N-Furter seducing both Brad and Janet in one night, Janet’s seduction (she’s quite the huss ain’t she) by the gold hotpants wearing muscled moron Rocky, and of course the random arrival of Doctor Scott. Altogether now: “Doctor Scott!” “BRAD!” “Janet!” “Doctor Scott!” “BRAD!” etc. But we all know that the BESTEST SCENE OF ALL is Frank-N-Furter’s entrance and everyone’s favourite tranny tune, “Sweet Transvestite”.  Come on gang, you know the words!

As if you needed any more reasons to watch it.

Hand-held Horror: Beyond the Blair Witch

August 16, 2011

Fancy yourself as the next big horror movie director? Of course you do. Well, you’re in luck! Forget forking out for a fancy camera and a couple of years at filmmaking school. Hell, don’t even bother hiring any actors, ‘cause all you need to scare kids these days is a hand-held camera and a few willing participants to run around a dark forest/college campus/backyard squealing. Add a couple close-ups of scary looking shadows and the tagline ‘…and five years later, the footage was found…’ and BAM you’ve got yourself a horror movie.

Remember this?

It’s been nearly 13 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the horror movie circuit by adding a new level of realism using low quality cameras. We’ve all seen it, and although you probably remember crapping your pants, you might not remember that we never actually SEE anything truly terrifying: the image of the Blair Witch remains a mystery and the terror is created wholly through suspense. Poor Blair Witch never got her 15 minutes of fame, but The Blair Witch Project itself got a whole lot more than that, paving the way for hand-held horror. Awesome Art takes a look at some of these ‘found footage’ films.

Evil Things (DVD release in 2011)

The latest installment to the club, Evil Things, is an independent horror movie about a bunch of college students who go away to some desolate snowy location for a 21st birthday party, and as you know a gang of college buddies isn’t a gang of college buddies without an aspiring filmmaker, so they bring along a video camera to document the super fun times. WHEN WILL KIDS LEARN THAT THIS WILL NOT END WELL!? Or should I say, when will writers start racking their brains a little more for new ideas, hmmmm?

Cameras are everywhere, ya know!

Predictable set up aside, it is described as a ‘nightmarish descent into psychological terror’ with a ‘bone-chilling’ conclusion. Those dopey kids certainly spend a lot of time running away from something… but just what the hell are they running from!?

HERRO!? GHOSTIES??

Is it ghosties? Mutated woodland creatures? Axe-wielding psychopathic ex-lovers? You’ll just have to watch and find out for yourself. Relatively positive reviews have upped the film’s credentials while its website is also pretty good at keeping in character, and you can watch video testimonials from ‘friends’ and ‘families’ of the missing kids. But can it rival the Blair Witch? Check it out for yourselves.

Cloverfield (2008)

Cloverfield is hand-held horror with a difference. First of all, there are no screaming college students (well, maybe there’s a few in there somewhere), no woods and certainly no ghosties. Second of all, Cloverfield takes matters out of the usual horror setting of ‘nameless hick-town’ and into the big bad city.

Essentially, Cloverfield is a cinematic apocalyptic vision, added to a long list that includes The Road and 28 Days Later, only with a giant monster instead of an unidentified virus and a hand-held camera that is needed in order to make any aspect of this over-the-top movie seem ‘real’. Without the clever camerawork Cloverfield would have been a monster flop FO’ SHO.

Bright lights, big... creature?

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Otherwise known as The Exorcist for the digital generation. The reason Paranormal Activity generated so much hype is simply because it taps into a fear that everyone has: what happens when you sleep? Paranormal Activity knows. But do you? It’s quiz time, kids!

So, just what DOES happen when you snooze?

a) Do helpful little elves burrow into your bedroom and mend the holes in your work boots?

b) Do your toys come to life and have a rockin’ luau at Barbie and Ken’s new pad?

c) DO YOU GET POSSESSED BY A HIDEOUS DEMON AND DO SHIT YOU DON’T REMEMBER!?

Answers on a postcard, please.

Please tell me that's just an elf...

Paranormal Activity intensifies this fear that we all possess by tricking viewers into thinking that they’re watching a true story, and then takes the next step in spooking by making us jump. A lot. There are long, drawn out moments where nothing happens… nothing happens… you start to get bored… and then BAM SOMETHING MOVES! And that’s it. For now. It continues to build until the final scene, which will make you shit yourself, no matter which alternative ending you choose to subject yourself to. And that’s essentially what you want from a good horror film, innit!?

Oh yeah, and then there’s this.

I watched this once. All the way through. I think I might have kind of liked it. Yeesh.

What are  your favourite ‘found-footage’ films?

Search Engine LOLZ Part 1

August 11, 2011

Scaring yourself silly is certainly a fun way to pass the time, but while locking yourself in a darkened room with hordes of horror movies and googling scary faces just before bed is all well and good, sometimes what you really need is a good ol’ fashioned LARF-FEST.

I JUST LOVE A GOOD CHUCKLE!

Luckily for me, larfs aplenty can be found with one simple click of a button: checking the search engine terms that have led people to my blog.

Over the course of Awesome Art’s short life (1 year old in October – send cake plz), search engine terms have played a huge role in bringing visitors to my lovely little blog, for which I am eternally grateful.

Of course, many of these people must have been pretty disappointed by what they found. I’ll tell ya, I live to regret the day that I absent-mindedly shoved the word ‘porn’ into a post. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that one.

Even aside from the plentiful amount of porn-searchers, people are looking for some pretty strange stuff on the Interweb. Usually disgusting, often bemusing and always hilarious, here are some of my faves that hopefully will make you larf just as much as I did.

(And just in case you’re interested, the top search engine term at the moment is ‘Village of the damned’, followed by ‘female horror characters’. Definitely not as amusing as the ones which shall follow. Spelling and grammar have not been changed.)

Sheri Moon ass
STANDARD.

Fairuza Balk tits
LESS STANDARD.

crazy horse cabaret
I like the sound of this.

Rob Zombie’s halloween tits
I wasn’t aware that Mr Zombie had breasts. Although if he did, they would probably be Halloween-themed.

The dark side of winnie the pooh
Pretentious English Lit/Film student seeking material for their essay about the dodgy deeper meanings behind our favourite childhood bear? Or just some stoned guy who was craving more Heffalumps and Woozles?

Virgin mary horror porn
Initially this perplexed me no end. However it turns out that it must be some kind of new fad that I was unaware of. See below.

The virgin mary+naked+porn+horny+weird+
+ what? + WHAT!??????

porno blasphemy virgin mary 
OK, seriously, who is this guy!? Whoever they (he, she, it, who knows) may be, they must be pretty sick of looking at my blog by now. And pretty sick in general. THERE’S NO VIRGIN MARY PORN HERE! BE GONE! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!

Hot naked grandma
Nice…nice.

cannibalism side effects
Good to know that modern cannibals are concerned about possible risks. STAY SAFE, CANNIBALS!

bald woman rampage
This would make a great horror movie title. The one thing worse than a woman scorned? A BALD woman scorned.

real life t rex that’s still alive today
This kid may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but at least he knows where to put his apostrophes.

bald dumbo rat
I believe that this guy was searching for his perfect pet: a bald, brain-dead rodent.

what if your heaven was also your hell would you still go there no fear
Ah, that age-old question man has been asking since the dawn of time… don’t think you’ll be finding the answer here though, mate.

And to bring it all to a delightful conclusion, I share with you one person’s beautiful vision…

cannibal frolics
The image of this is just too awesome for words.

This topic may become a regular feature on Awesome Art because it’s so gosh darned fun(ny). And, like I said before, we all love a good LARF.

See y'all again for more lolz soon!

The Scariest Faces in Horror

July 17, 2011

It’s happened to all of us.

Picture the scene: the lights are off, you’re all wrapped up in your nice little bed, clutching your teddy/spouse/empty bottle of vodka, but just as you start to drift off… you see it. THAT FACE!

Fancy a bedtime story? 

While creepy characters and gruesome scenes from horror movies may have us grimacing and seeking shelter behind our sofas, the things that stay with us long after the DVD player is turned off are THE FACES. There are some that shock unexpectedly, briefly visible in a flash of light, and others that just keep popping back for more fun. Whatever the case, it’s these faces that remain embedded in our tired minds as soon as the lights turn off.

Awesome horror blog The Horror Digest has created The Scary Face Club, where such faces are placed in one handy little spot where masochistic readers can experience one horrific viewing right after another. I have chosen my top three scariest faces in horror, plus a few extras just for funsies. Sweet dreams, readers…

1. Pazazu – The Exorcist

BET YOU'RE GLAD I BROUGHT THIS INTO YOUR LIFE!!

Yeah, so Regan is pretty rank to look at once she morphs into the pea-soup stained devil child. And her demonic voice paired with frequent crotch stabbing and weird spider-walking only adds to her status as a truly horrific character. But even I must admit that she’s no match for Pazazu (yep, this thing even has a name). Pazazu’s leap into the limelight may only be for a few seconds, but it’s a moment that we’ve all paused onscreen resulting in serious regret and sleepless nights. The Godfather of all shit-your-pants scary faces. Yeesh.

2. Double Offender – The Shining

Jack Nicholson

Demented Daddy

I stuck this one in here to pay homage to one of the greatest horror movie performances that depicts an entirely realistic possibility: Daddy goes cuckoo and attempts to bludgeon his brood. That face of his is pretty spine-chilling too. But The Shining’s ultimate nightmare FACE moment comes in the form of: OLD CHICK IN BATHTUB.

Who wouldn't want a hug from Grandma!?

First we see a hot naked chick just chillin’ in the bath, it’s all good. Jack Nicholson cops a feel. Bit creepy, but yeah, it’s still all good. Kinda. Then suddenly, without any warning, hot naked chick morphs into geriatric naked chick but not just any geriatric naked chick… a decaying, somewhat green, particularly saggy geriatric chick with a hideously eerie cackle.

3. Zelda – Pet Semetary

Don't you think I'm purdy?!

This dude decked out in drag and encased in plastic (Yup, it’s a dude. Does this make he/she/it scarier or just laughable? I know my answer) had a particular effect on my nerves when I first saw the tongue-in-cheek gem that is Stephen King’s Pet Semetary. Many of the scenes were filmed in my friend’s house, including this one. A house we used to play in when we were kids. Let that sink in for a minute.

I HAVE BEEN IN THAT FUCKING ROOM.

Some more beauts for you to gaze upon…

Nosferatu – Count Orlok

Surprisingly, not the best thing to watch when you're stoned.

The Others – Creepy child/old guy in veil

Is it a kid? Is it a midget? Is it an old shriveled little leprechaun? OH GOD WHO KNOWS!!!

The Ring – Closet chick

Late night, love?

The Strangers – The, uh, strangers? Particularly this guy

la la la, on the phone, la la la... HOLD ON WHAT THA!?

Psycho – Norman Bates

Srsly, though, if your mother called you Norman you'd do the same, right?

Who do you think has the scariest face in horror?

The Kings of Shock-Rock Return: Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie at Download Festival 2011

June 21, 2011

Download Festival 2011 will be remembered for many reasons: the triumphant return of System Of A Down, security guard no. 836 who will go home with the best work story of all time, and the Sunday downpour that resulted in hoards of mud-soaked metalheads. But what it really should be remembered for was playing the honoured host to the gods of horror performance: Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie.

The 'gruesome twosome' toured the US in 2010

       Alice Cooper – Saturday Second Stage

Image courtesy of MandyHallMedia on Flickr

The immortal master of tongue-in-cheek shock rock may be getting on, but he still has bucketloads of energy to writhe around onstage with a life-size doll and perform numerous costume changes including inevitable black leathers and a lab coat for Feed My Frankenstein.

This glam spectacle reeks of camp horror, and Alice never stops performing: he swats a faux photographer with his mic stand and carries out his infamous onstage beheading. Favourites like Poison and the encore School’s Out rev up audience members old and young, and Alice even treats fans to a new song, I’ll Bite Your Face Off.

    Rob Zombie – Sunday Second Stage

A really awesome photo of Rob Zombie.

It’s been 12 gruelling years since Rob Zombie played a live show in the UK, and the soaked crowd is forced to wait in anticipation as Johnny Cash blares over the speakers.

With a flaming stage, smoke, confetti and a hoard of props including bubble machines, skeletons, monsters and robots together with a set of screens playing horror clips, shots from Zombie’s music videos and plenty of tits, this stellar spectacle brings a whole new meaning to the words horror performance.

With Mars Needs Women, Superbeast, Super Charger Heaven and More Human Than Human acting as highlights, it’s when Zombie returns on a gnarled demon podium to address his loyal subjects for the Dragula encore that the crowd really goes wild. Leaving the crowd chanting “Zombie! Zombie!” it’s clear that the horror king has risen to godlike status.

If you were lucky enough to be present, congratulations, it’s likely that you witnessed the best live horror show on earth.

The Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards

The gruesome twosome were reunited at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards on Monday June 13th, where Alice presented Zombie with the final award of the night, the Golden God award. You’ve got to love Zombie’s short and sweet acceptance speech.

Check out the full list of Golden Gods Awards winners here.

Read my reviews of Download Festival in the August issue of Metal Hammer magazine.

Rob Zombie Movie Marathon: Hold the Fried Chicken

May 29, 2011

Rob Zombie is the new-age Alice Cooper, blending shock-rock and campy over-the-top B movie style theatrics with plenty of tits and ass (usually that of his wife).

Yes, yes we get it. She's fit.

Zombie’s long-awaited musical return to the UK this Spring/Summer has resulted in a flurry of sold-out shows and has upped his credentials after his latest films resulted in more of a slump than a surge. But the dreadlocked devil hasn’t hung up the camera just yet; he also has a new film project in the bag, The Lords of Salem, which he describes as being his darkest work yet.

A teaser from Zombie's latest project

The Lords of Salem is inspired by the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts, but is set predominantly in the present day, and is to be released in 2012.

I’m just going to come out and say it: I bloody love Rob Zombie. He is without a doubt the best live act that I have ever seen (and I am eagerly awaiting the experience of seeing him again at Download festival) and his tongue-in-cheek macabre melodies never fail to dazzle.

But upon hearing the news of his new film project, I realised that while I blare Mars Needs Women at every given opportunity I have never transferred my attention over to his – often poorly received – onscreen works. Awesome Art takes a look back over the best (and worst) of Zombie’s horror exploits.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

A colourful dose of camp southern gothic, Zombie’s first full-length feature tells the story of the demented Firefly family who live in the arse-end of nowhere in 1970s Texas. The film resembles a Rob Zombie music video, loaded with snippets of serial killers, pin-up strippers and black and white silent movies.

Two idiotic teenage couples attempting to write a book about desolate road-stop attractions in the southern states come across creepy clown Captain Spaulding’s combination gas station and dodgy fried-chicken hut complete with horror attraction: ‘The Museum of Monsters and Madness’. There they learn the legend of Doctor Satan and, after picking up a hot hitch-hiker, become entangled with the demented serial-killing skin-wearing Firefly family.

Would you really eat this guy's fried chicken?

The mediocre plot and often irritating script – did Zombie purposely set out to squash a swear word into every line? – are luckily overtaken by the visual impact of the film. Fetuses in jars, Sheri Moon writhing around with a skeleton, and the Firefly family herding their victims (victims dressed in over-sized bunny costumes) through the mist are just a few of the memorable moments that make this film the ultimate cartoonish nightmare. Just try not to judge too much on the poor ending, or on Doctor Satan, a hilariously awful excuse for a villain.

THAT'S Doctor Satan???

The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

I was first introduced to The Devil’s Rejects as a teenager by a horror-loving ex-boyfriend who emphasised to me just how “fucking cool” this film was. I was horrified and thought it was the most disturbing thing I had seen since The Exorcist.

She's no Sheri Moon…

A few years on and I have been sufficiently desensitized by my consistent horror-viewing to assume that I would no longer have this opinion. But upon being re-introduced to the sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, I can safely say that this is not only Zombie’s best horror movie, but definitely his most disturbing.

It’s six months after the killings of those dumb teenagers, and police are madly trying to get their mitts on the Firefly family. We learn that Captain Spaulding is actually Baby’s father, and he, Baby and Otis manage to escape the house after it is discovered by the cops.

Boasting a hell of a lot more plot than its prequel, The Devil’s Rejects gets to grips with these members of the Firefly family, turning them into actual characters (and an actual family complete with brother/sister spats) as opposed to the cartoonish hicks that they were introduced as.

A fun-filled family day out!

Zombie ups the gore and suspense; the motel scene is particularly uncomfortable to watch – although Baby is still the most unconvincing villain – and the scene where that chick hysterically runs through the street wearing a mask of her husband’s butchered face: pure horror genius.

rank

The perfect blend of horror and comedy, it’s no wonder that this film has earned itself such a cult following. It also has what its predecessor lacks: an awesome final scene, suitably set to Lynyrd Skynyrd no less. Altogether now kids: “If I leave here tomorrow…”

One last road trip?

Watch the final scene of The Devil’s Rejects here.

Halloween (2007)

Halloween 2 (2009)

Zombie’s first attempt at fiddling with a classic was neither a remake nor a prequel, but rather a mishmash of the two, with his second attempt carrying on from where the first left off. While Michael Myers was never known for his long list of motives for butchering everything that crossed his path, Zombie attempts to give a back story to Myers and with it, reasons for why he became the infamous boogeyman. Both films focus on the family factors behind Michael Myers’ killing rampages.

So baby Myers had a tough childhood: a slaggy mother (guess who plays her?) a slaggy sister and an asshole stepdad who wants to bang said slaggy sister. So, obvs little Mikey has no other choice but to butcher them all. Will this half-assed explanation really satisfy an audience of Halloween experts who want to know what makes Myers tick?

THIS kid is supposed to be Michael Myers!?

This is the Halloween franchise injected with classic Zombie: an abundance of swearwords from the start, trashy women, misogynst men and not forgetting Sheri Moon’s ass. Both films create a dark, desolate world filled with dirty, dishevelled and wholly unlikeable characters. But overall, the films are a whole lot more mainstream than those of the Firefly family sagas, and a hell of a lot less entertaining.

Stick with what you do best, Rob: showing off your wife’s ass. Oops, I mean… original storylines. Yep, that’s what I meant.

One for the lads.