Friday, August 28, 2009

THIS WEEKEND: Greystone Mansion Tour & Werewolves in the Cemetery

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to report that the following event is already sold out, so I hope that you already have your tickets! (I don't. I suck!) This gathering will also be a GHOULA meetup, so wear your pins (if you have 'em) and keep an eye out.

Friday Night Fright Night
at Greystone Mansion (Beverly Hills)

From the Beverly Hills website:
Join the Greystone Park Rangers around an old-fashioned campfire and indulge in gooey smores and spooky stories at the historic Greystone Estate. A tour of the deserted old mansion will follow the campfires.

Fridays, July 31 and Aug. 28
$15 per person

Not recommended for children under 10 years old. Ten to 16-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult.
In case you're unaware, the Greystone Mansion was the site of a controversial murder-suicide back in the 1920's, and is purportedly haunted as a result. Read more about it on the GHOULA website.

Then, on Saturday, we have a classic werewolf film at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery...
An American Werewolf in London (1979)

From the Cinespia website:

directed by John Landis (1979 130 mins)

gates 7:00 pm movie 8:30 pm
no reservation necessary
$10 donation tickets available at gate
as a courtesy to other moviegoers: NO TALL CHAIRS!!

Two American backpackers are attacked by a mysterious creature on the moors, and when one begins to show signs of lycanthropy, he starts to believe the local superstitions might be true...Terrifying, but with a sharp sense of humor, John Landis (Animal House) directs this beloved cult favorite with a fine balance of horror and comedy. Oscar winning special effects make it a full blooded horror film, but the eerie dark countryside, terrifying creature, and walking dead are balanced with the hilarious banter of the main characters. Truly genius!

dj dave orlando spins before and after the screening
Hollywood Forever Cemetery is at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., near the intersection of Santa Monica and Gower.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Movie Review: Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN 2

As previously mentioned, I was fortunate enough to attend the red carpet premiere of Halloween 2 at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Monday night. There seems to be a little bit of confusion about how, exactly, this entry can be called "H2" when it is, in fact, the tenth - count 'em! - film in the Halloween series, so here's the skinny: Rob Zombie's 2007 take on Michael Myers was not a sequel, it was a "reimagining." Thus, this film is a sequel to that reimagining, not another entry in the series started by John Carpenter. Got it? It might sound a little strange, but the truth is that the less you think about Carpenter's movie, the more you'll enjoy this one.

How did I feel about it? Overall, I liked it. But I should preface this by saying that I am, in fact, a Rob Zombie fan, and I did like his first Halloween. What I like most about him is that he genuinely seems like a fan of horror and of these movies. Whereas the Texas Chainsaw and Friday the 13th remakes seem like they were made by people who were, at best, ignorant and, at worst, disdainful of the films they were revamping, I think Zombie has the proper reverence for the original Halloween, which just so happens to be my favorite film of all time. True, he has made a lot of changes, but I actually find that more respectful than trying to do a shot-by-shot remake a la Gus van Sant's Psycho; it was perfect the first time, so if you don't have something totally different to bring to the table, why bother?

Okay, now that we have that settled, on to the movie itself. I read somewhere that Zombie conceptualized his first Halloween as two movies, with the first focusing on Michael Myers as a child up until his escape from Smith's Grove, and the second dealing with "the night he came home." The general consensus is that he succeeded far more with the first half of the movie than he did with the second half, and I'm guessing he agrees, because H2 is essentially a remake of the second half of that first film. (Woo! Confused yet?!) It's basically Laurie's friends getting slaughtered one by one as she tries to avoid the same fate herself; however, it is scarier and more interesting than it was in the first movie. There are a few flashback sequences and some very bizarre glimpses into the psyche of Michael Myers; these are less successful than in the first movie, I think mainly due to the absence of Daeg Faerch, a.k.a. young Michael Myers. He's been replaced in this film, and the new kid is way too cute to look adequately disturbed.

Scout Taylor-Compton plays Laurie Strode, and while I wasn't particularly impressed with her in the first movie, I think she did a fantastic job in this one. There's also a nice twist near the end that calls Halloween 4 to mind. Oh, and as for the kills, which Zombie has trumpeted as particularly brutal this time around? They are - mostly because of the sound! As my boyfriend put it, "It's like he's punching people, but with a knife." Prepare yourself for lots of crunching, snapping, squishing noises, and a lot of jump moments (including two that actually made me clutch my chest and hiss, "Oh my God!").

The premiere itself was rather thrilling; we managed to spot a number of the film's stars, including Malcolm McDowell, Danielle Harris (who was sitting two rows behind us!) and, of course, Rob and Sheri Zombie. My favorite celebrity sighting of the night, however, was Ace Frehley of KISS, who was practically anonymous without his signature "Spaceman" makeup.
I did like this movie, but I'm not sure it was better than the first. However, if you enjoyed that film, I would definitely recommend this one, but I don't think it's going to win over any Zombie detractors. You have to be a fan of his whole mean, dirty, disgusting aesthetic...which I am. One note: While I think Zombie is a very talented director, sometimes his dialogue can be a little cringeworthy. It works in a movie like The Devil's Rejects, which centers on a family of deranged outlaw serial killers, but it seems a little out of character for suburban, Midwestern teenage girls.

Essentially, here's how I view "the two Halloweens," Carpenter vs. Zombie: John Carpenter's original version is a masterpiece, a love note to autumn and the terror of childhood/adolescence, a fantastic example of elegant filmmaking that illustrates just how far the economy of imagery can take you. Nothing goes to waste. Every shot is a keeper. Rob Zombie's version, on the other hand, is in your face, over the top, loud, wild, colorful, filthy and bizarre. While Carpenter's Michael Myers is a boogeyman, "the Shape," Zombie's is a crazy, hulking, angry monster. They're both scary, but Carpenter's is iconic. You may not want to marry them, but if you take Zombie's movies for what they are, they can definitely show you a good time.

Halloween 2 opens everywhere this Friday, August 28th.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Frankenstand: L.A.'s Very Own Spooky-Theme Mobile Cuisine

With the end of August finally upon us, it seems like the Halloween season is finally beginning in earnest. Halloween merchandise is gradually finding its way onto store shelves, the weather is starting to cool down (or it was, until last weekend! sheesh), and last night I attended the Hollywood premiere of Rob Zombie's Halloween 2. (More on that later!) This time of year - mid-August through the very beginning of November - is my favorite because it seems like, magically, everyone is suddenly on board with my interests. I mean, you can walk into the supermarket and find decorative monsters plates and bargain horror movies on DVD! But I digress.

Last weekend, I managed to check out both the Frankenstand, a horror-themed vegan hot dog cart, and the Poe celebration at Dark Delicacies. The Frankenstand, in particular, was an absolute revelation. Spooky veggie dogs?! Sign me up!
The cart is well-decorated, with spooky little flourishes everywhere - from the umbrella right down to the condiment table. And, of course, that menu! Not only are the names and descriptions clever (The Cannibal: "Mmm, tastes like chicken"), but each selection has an accompanying photo of the wolfman, witches, etc. Mr. Frankenstand himself dresses up rather nattily (hat, tie, vest), and there's even a tiny boombox playing creepy songs.

And how, you might ask, is the actual food? Delicious! I tried the Wolf ("packed with a fangtastic, chipotle pepper flavor") and the bf tried the Franken ("a monster blend of sun dried tomatoes & basil") and we were both very pleased. In fact, I think I can say without exaggeration that these are the best veggie dogs I've ever had...and the fact that they come served with a side of spooky makes them that much better. The Frankenstand will be at the Madex GuerrilLA Drive-In in downtown Los Angeles on September 6th and the Downtown Art Walk on September 10th. Check their MySpace for additional future dates and locations.

As for the Poe festivities at Dark Del, check out Creepy L.A.'s post on the event for a more detailed account than I can provide. I found myself a bit overwhelmed by the crowds (and the sweltering Valley heat), so after checking with the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab table to see if they had any full-sized vials of Blood available (they did not, but advised me to attend their open house event on September 4th at 12120 Sherman Way and kindly gave me a complimentary "imp" of the fragrance) and grabbing a couple of non-Poe-related books (a used copy of The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories and The Book of Lists: Horror, co-edited by Mr. Del Howison himself), we were on our way.

Later this week, I'll have a recap of the H2 premiere and a review of the film, as well as previews of some more upcoming spooky events. Happy End of August, everyone!

Friday, August 21, 2009

THIS WEEKEND: The Frankenstand at Pehrspace & Dark Delicacies Poe Celebration

I've been dying to check out the Frankenstand (above photo from their MySpace), a horror-themed vegan hot dog cart, ever since they found and commented on this very blog. And now it looks like tonight is my big chance: They'll be serving up the Wolf, the Witch, the Franken and the Cannibal at Pehrspace in Echo Park for the Hella Hipster Hoedown. It's $5 to get in to the Hoedown, but my guess is that the Frankenstand will be set up in the parking lot. Pehrspace is at 325 Glendale Blvd.; festivities start around 8:30 PM.

Then, on Sunday at 2 PM, the Poe madness continues with a special event at Dark Delicacies in Burbank. From the website:
Book launch party commenorating the 200th Anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe. Join illustrator Gris Grimly signing Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Death and Dementia. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab will be premiering four new oils based on "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether", "The Oblong Box" and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", with a special Poe oil available with purchase of book, oil and a shirt or print. Original artwork from the book will be on display and for sale. Gris will also have limited editions posters and t-shirts.
Dark Delicacies is at 4213 Burbank Blvd.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Recap: Vampire Con 2009

I had high hopes for the first ever Vampire Con, which took place last weekend in Hollywood. First, because I love vampires. Who doesn't?! They're sexy. They dress really well, especially for supernatural creatures. They'll gladly nibble on your neck. And, hey, they might not even kill you! Instead they'll just make you young, beautiful and hypnotically seductive for the rest of eternity. Sounds good to me. Also, I've always wanted to go to a horror convention. Every year I eye the lineup for Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors in Burbank and wonder if this should be the year that I finally bite the bullet and go. So when my buddy "Madame Magnet" (ahem, not her real name) over at Magnets de los Muertos announced that she would be selling her awesome macabre magnetic poetry at the Vamp Con, I naturally volunteered my services to help her man the table.

Magnets de los Muertos' Vampire Poetry! (Top two pics by me, bottom pic by Gendy Alimurung for LA Weekly.)

Here's a little taste of what we were selling. (If you'd like to see other poems put together by guests at our booth, click here or here.) People seemed to respond really well to the magnets, and we made several sales, including MdlM's first ever sale! (Yes, it's a very, very young company. In fact, the Vamp Con was MdlM's public debut!) Why only "several," you ask? Well, the fact of the matter is, there just weren't very many people at the convention. Here are my guesses as to why:
  • It was the first Vamp Con ever! Subsequent years will see more attendance, I'm sure.
  • It was a weekend-long event, but it changed venues. While Friday and Saturday featured film screenings at the New Beverly, Sunday was the only day vendors were allowed to pimp their spooky wares, and that was at the Henry Fonda. Somewhat confusing.
  • The vendors were on three different levels: The ground level, where the panel discussions were taking place, the mezzanine level, where we had our booth, and an outdoors balcony area, which was unbearably hot and bright. Hello, vampires don't want to stand in the August sun!
  • It started way too early. Vendors were only allowed to sell from 10:30 AM until 4:30 PM. Who's up that early, especially on a Sunday, especially to shop for vampire merchandise?!
Case in point: I dressed up as a vamp myself for the occasion, but I have to admit it was really hard to get into the right frame of mind at 9 AM.

SLG working the booth, fangs in tow. Blah, blaaaah!

Looking at this now, I'm like, "Hmm, I should've worn more eye makeup." But, again, it's really hard to get all gothed out right after you roll out of bed! Boo to that. You would be surprised how many people didn't dress up for this event at all. I can't even count how many people asked me if my fangs were real, and when I replied, "Of course!" (real answer: "Of course not!"), they were awed and asked to take my picture. One dude interviewed me and asked if I drank blood. Uh, no, see my vendor pass? I'm selling something! I'm not here because I'm one of those people you see on A&E specials about "Real Vampires!!1" around Halloween! I think everyone was just starved for freaks because, alas, the freaks come out at night...not 10:30 AM-4:30 PM. SIGH.

On the left: Nella, your new Vampirella. On the right: Girl who can't believe Nella is walking around with her rack hanging out like that. (Pic by Gendy Alimurung.)

That's not to say, however, that there was nothing interesting to see at Vamp Con. For example: Feast your eyes on Vampirella Nella! They were holding a contest downstairs to see who should be crowned the new Vampirella, and this girl was the only one who actually came upstairs to tell us to vote for her. And then she won! Yay! She seemed like a nice girl - she even turned around and showed us her ass as per Mdm. Magnet's request. (Nice ass, too!) I'm glad she won.
Sweet little pup, all vamped out!

Anytime an event inspires people to put their pets in costumes, it can't be all bad, right?

Hell-ga, Satan's barmaid. (Pic by Gendy Alimurung.)

This lovely lady was making the rounds to promote her Halloween-themed polka album, Polka Haunt Us. (Good name!) The tagline was: "If Hell had a polka soundtrack, this would be it." My response: "What do you mean if?!" Har har. I can't tolerate an entire polka album, but if I could, I would buy this one. At least her heart's in the right place...and her outfit was awesome.
How did I miss this vamp?! (Pic by Gendy Alimurung.)

You know, I didn't even see this woman on Sunday, although I wish I had. Now this is the level of commitment that I expected from Vampire Con attendees! Well, there's always next year.

In addition to the excitement of actually making some sales and meeting a few interesting characters, the best part of the con was the freebies we snagged right at the end. A charity was distributing vampire doggy hand puppets, complete with felt fangs and cape, and we each got one for free! (Their names are Count Dogula and Lord Barkington.) Also, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab was distributing tiny vials of their "Blood" fragrance, which I love and must now own. It smells kind of like clove cigarettes and kind of like incense - deep and mysterious, and dark. Would I go back next year? Of course. I'm excited to see how this event will progress as the organizers work out the kinks and figure out how to make it flow. (One idea: Allow vendors to set up shop on the film screening days!) Until then, there's always Fangoria...
Graffiti I spotted on the way to Hollywood. Also, this is just good advice.

Did anybody else attend Vampire Con last weekend? How did you feel about it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dark Entries

I love Bauhaus. "She's in Parties" is one of my favorite songs of all time.

And, truly, the cover art for many of their singles is - for lack of a better word - the best. I would be thrilled to possess physical copies of any or all of the following:

Actually, I do have a 12" vinyl single of "Bela Lugosi's Dead," and it's absolutely glorious. It was purchased at Amoeba in Hollywood for something like $1.99, and it's probably my favorite record out of my entire collection.

Here's my band covering the aforementioned goth classic at a Halloween show a couple years back:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

THIS WEEKEND: Shaun of the Dead Zombie Walk & Vamp Con '09

Of note in Los Angeles this weekend, we have a Shaun of the Dead outdoor screening tonight at 7:30 PM. Pre- and post-show festivities include a zombie photo booth, zombie face painting, a zombie costume contest, etc. More details here. (By the way, can anyone figure out exactly where this will take place? It's probably quite obvious, but I'm still groggy from waking up before 10 AM, so help me out!)

Then, on Sunday, I'll be attending the first ever Vampire Con at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood! The convention actually started last night and continues today with a film festival at the New Beverly Cinema, but count on the Henry Fonda to be the site of "celebrity panel discussions, vampire merchandise and contests," and - at night, naturally - Vampirella's Ball (featuring a DJ set from Gary Calamar, who is the music supervisor on HBO's addictive and excellent True Blood). If you're planning to attend, look for the Magnets de los Muertos booth. Mention this blog and you'll get a free bonus gift!

I'll be back with my impressions of Vamp Con early next week.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Magnets de los Muertos

One of my nearest and dearest friends makes magnets for a living; sometimes, she even makes magnets for fun. One day, she presented myself and my better half with - in my opinion - one of the coolest things I'd ever seen:

Zombie magnetic poetry.

You know those magnetic poetry kits you can buy and stick to your fridge so when your friends come over they can make obscene haiku with them? (What? That's what they're for, right?) Yeah, that's what she had made, but with words like horde, plague, damned, braiiiiins, feed, etc. Sounds like it's right up your gleefully macabre alley, doesn't it? Well, prepare to take your magnetic poetry writing skills beyond obscenity and into the realm of the spooky, ghoulish and grotesque, because Magnets de los Muertos has officially launched, and if zombies aren't your thing, you have tons of other options, including:

  • Alien
  • Axe Murderess
  • Haunted House
  • Killer Clown
  • Pirate
  • Robot
  • Vampire
  • Witch
I have them all, and they're all amazing. Perfect as little gifts, perfect for Halloween, perfect for any fridge or filing cabinet! Order a set today!

(By the way, we'll be at the first annual Vampire Con in Hollywood this Sunday, so stop by and check 'em out if you're planning to attend. More details on the Vamp Con to follow...)

TONIGHT: Spirits With Spirits at the King Edward Saloon

The King Edward Hotel (photo source)

Any ghost enthusiast in the greater Los Angeles area should be familiar with the group GHOULA, or Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles. In addition to occasional extracurricular activities, GHOULA holds meetings on the 13th of every month (called "Spirits with Spirits") at haunted bars, taverns and restaurants around L.A. I've only been attending for a few months myself, but past meeting places have included the Cat and Fiddle on Sunset and the Queen Mary in Long Beach. For August, our haunted locale is downtown, at the King Edward Saloon at 121 E. 5th Street. Here are the details, taken from the GHOULA blog:

GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, and toast a ghost! Let's put the “Boo!” back into “booze.” All those who attend will receive a free G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have, please wear it so others can find you.

THE DATE: August 13th, 2009 (Thursday)
THE PLACE: The King Edward Saloon
(121 E 5TH St @ Los Angeles St.) map
THE TIME: 8pm to the witching hour


The King Edward Saloon, a.k.a. The King Eddy Saloon, a.k.a. The King Edward Bar, just might be the oldest bar in Los Angeles (despite Coles's claims), opening their doors for business in 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt (when staying at the adjoining hotel) is said to have frequented this bar after hours (for his safety). Though there have been many changes in the neighborhood, and Prohibition (when its operation moved into the basement), this tavern has endured. It also remains the last survivor of the fabled "skid row bars" of Los Angeles.

This historic bar (even if it is mostly ignored and forgotten) occupies the South-East corner of the even more historic King Edward Hotel, designed by Parkinson and Berstorm (Parkson later designed many L.A. landmarks, including Union Station, City Hall, and Bullocks Wilshire). When this building first opened it not only proudly boasted that all the materials that went into the construction orginated from Los Angeles, but that due to its unique design was "absolutely fire-proof."

Those features aside, this saloon has another reason to brag. It is home to one of the great archetypal ghosts of America, the "vanishing hitchhiker." This apparition/urban legend has been seen in some form all over the United States (the most famous one being "Resurrection Mary" outside of Chicago), and even locally different versions of this story have been connected to the San Fernando Mission and Mulhulland Drive.

The Kind Eddy's version of this tale is that an awkward woman (possibly inebriated) introduces herself to a male patron at closing, and asks for a ride to her home in the Belvedere Garden section of East Los Angeles. The man, either with the best or worst intentions, agrees and even offers his coat to the shivering woman. On route, she demands that the driver pull over at the Evergreen Cemetery, where she mysteriously jumps out of the car and disappears into the dark grave yard. When the driver goes to look for her (and his jacket), he finds that she has completely vanished into thin air. As he leaves, he notices his jacket draped over a tombstone bearing the same name as the one she gave.

Is this ghost story a true haunting? Is it just another urban legend? Or, is it a hoax perpetuated by a woman with a sick sense of humor? Go to the the King Edward Saloon and find out for yourself.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Etsy's Halloween Preview

You're probably already somewhat familiar with Etsy, the online repository for all things homemade. Although I've spent some time ogling, I've never actually ordered anything...but I think that's about to change. Almost everything featured in their Halloween Preview is seriously awesome. For example:
Instant Cemetery Display, complete with 16 hand-drawn tombstonesSlit Throat Choker (with matching blood drop earrings, sold separately!)Ouija Board Pendant - love the dangling planchette

Other notable items include (but are certainly not limited to) delicious-looking Pumpkin Chocolate Truffles, Skeleton Hand Barrettes, Poe-inspired "Nevermore" gift tags, Pumpkin Juice soap (Harry Potter fans represent!), a bat necklace that would do Lily Munster proud, and even a "Spider Witch" ball gown featuring an orange strapless dress adorned with an elegant spiderweb and a huge black spider perched on the shoulder.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Coraline (2009)

Speaking of spooky gateway drugs, an excellent animated movie that came out earlier this year was recently released to DVD, and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven't already. Coraline is the tale of a lonely little girl who finds a portal to a parallel universe of sorts and learns just how much truth there is in that old adage, "Be careful what you wish for." It's based on a book by Neil Gaiman, and although I'm not familiar with the source material, I did read some Gaiman in high school, and I was particularly fond of the Sandman comics and his novel Neverwhere. I think this film does a great job of capturing his trademark blend of playful whimsy and creepy/fantastic atmosphere. I highly recommend the 3D version, which was pretty spectacular when I saw it in theaters (I can't attest to how well the effect will translate on DVD, unless you're fortunate enough to have a really, really large television...or a private screening room). The best endorsement that I can give this movie is to pass along an opinion that I heard that this is basically a "horror move for kids." Still, I think you're likely to enjoy it regardless of age - but if you can pass it along to a little one and help foster a love of creepiness, so much the better!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When the Crypt Goes Creak and the Tombstones Quake...

So Mark and Brian over at KLOS recently held a contest for a family to win the chance to spend a night in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion - a first in the history of the park.Now, the lucky winners have been chosen, and they'll be spending the night in the Stretching Room this Sunday. Fortunately for the rest of us, the family patriarch has set up a blog to document their experience. Here's what they know about what's in store for them so far: "We’ve been warned that there are surprises to be expected….creaking doors, rattling chains, 'maybe' some visitors in the middle of the night." If you're as jealous as I am, you'll surely want to bookmark that page and check it out again on Tuesday!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gift Idea: Spooky Soaps

Looking for a great gift idea? Allow me to recommend these spooky soaps from Villainess...

Arsenic & Old Lace
Smells Like: "Sweet black cherry tarts with warm, clinging honeymusk and a soft wisp of old-fashioned perfume - roses, honeysuckle, gardenia and chamomile."

Smells Like: "The cloying sweetness of a covetous lust for misspent youth, offset by a geriatric touch of rose and carnation, and underscored by a malevolent insinuation of sandalwood."

And, of course, Blood
Smells Like: "A full-bodied spiced Merlot grounded in dry fig and inspired by a ripe bouquet of berries. "

There are others, of course, with similarly awesome names, but these are my favorites. (Based on names, product descriptions and packaging, mind you - I haven't actually smelled any of these yet, although I have sampled other soaps from this company.) Bonus: They are surprisingly inexpensive! I think these would make lovely hostess gifts throughout the entire month of October...or any time, really, as long as you have the right hostess!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ghost Adventures Lockdown: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Excellent news for those of us waiting for an update on the forthcoming Ghost Adventures 7-hour live event mentioned here: We now have a location! According to the GA Official Fan Site, the lockdown will take place on Friday, October 30th at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia.

Built during the Civil War, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV, is the second largest, hand-cut stone building in the US, second only to the Kremlin in the world. For decades its massive walls housed the insane, the neglected and the unwanted. Patient-on-patient violence was common. Inmates were subjected to brutal medical procedures. The asylum was finally shut down in 1994 and stands empty today.

Even while operational, there were much reported paranormal activity in the asylum's 2-1/2 miles of corridors. Visitors were grabbed from behind and dragged into rooms. Mysterious figures darted through walls. Today, those brave enough to venture inside report hearing the incoherent screams of the insane.

Ghost Adventures will have unprecedented access to the entire asylum from the seclusion cells where the most violent patients were shackled to the medical center where hundreds of primitive ice-pick lobotomies were performed.

As always the team will be padlocked inside the facility, unable to escape as they record their experiences.
So excited! I'm particularly pleased that the broadcast will take place on the 30th, rather than the 31st - because who wants to stay home all night on Halloween, especially a rare Halloween-on-a-Saturday!?

(It's also worth mentioning that, if you live anywhere near WV, the asylum appears to offer ghost tours year-round, as well as special Halloween activities including a Fall Fest, a Witches Ball and a haunted house - called "The Asylum," natch. Definitely worth checking out - visit the website for more info.)

Scooby Doo, Spooky Gateway Drug?

As I sit here watching a weekend-long marathon of vintage Scooby Doo episodes on the Cartoon Network, I have to ask: How many of my fellow spooky enthusiasts grew up watching Scooby Doo, Where Are You? For obvious reasons, it seems like Scooby Doo was (and, hopefully, remains) a real gateway drug to the macabre for the young and impressionable. How many of us watched episode after episode, loving the heady blend of '70s kitsch, spooky/supernatural themes, random stoner jokes and slapstick cartoon comedy, hoping and praying that - just this once - the gang would find a real monster under that sheet or behind that mask instead of old Mr. Jenkins, the amusement park caretaker or old Mr. Carruthers, crooked real estate developer? I can't be the only one!

Unfortunately, if you're over the age of 8 or so, you'll find that Scooby Doo starts to get repetitive pretty fast. (That's why they need a constant stream of guest stars to liven things up! Phyllis Diller and the Harlem Globetrotters, anyone?) Still, I'll always love Scooby for stoking the fires of my love affair with spookiness. I'll just try to overlook later atrocities, like Scrappy Doo, and the regrettable live action movies starring Mr. and Mrs. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Matthew Lillard and a really poorly executed CGI Scooby.
Zoinks! No thanks. I think I'll also avoid the live action "Scooby Doo Origins" movie they're pimping on Cartoon Network - I mean, Fred doesn't even have blonde hair! What's that about?! In the meantime, however, I'm happy to relive my childhood with this little marathon. Anyone else share my affection for Scoob?


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