Saturday, November 5, 2016

Some Face Time with FX Artist Salem DeVane

By - Steve Mezo

Another October has come and gone and even though it didn't feel like the others between the weather and upcoming election, I still found ways to enjoy it. And one of those ways was by getting something cool created by an Independent F/X Artist.

And that F/X Artist is Salem DeVane

And what I got was his "BUTCHER" mask.

When it came in the mail I was blown away by the detail Salem put into it and the quality of the material. And this is one of the main reasons why I make sure to buy custom mask from Independent Artist.
Seriously, I had paid almost as much for mass produced masks which are not only outsourced but made out of low grade latex that rots within a couple of years. And the last that I made the mistake of buying rotted in less than a year. I'm aware that latex doesn't last forever, but I've owned and seen mask that were poured back in the late 60's and were sold in the back of comic books still around today and pretty flexible. 

But Salem DeVane just like my close friend and Indie Mask Maker Ray Charland make their mask with quality latex that are definitely worth the investment for Movie, Stage, Haunt and Cosplay use or Collecting. 

And Salem has even more than mask available on his website along with props and costume extras that can be made to order. I had asked Salem to tell me a little about himself and here's what he had to say.

As a kid I've always been fascinated with horror and Halloween, I come from a small town so Halloween was always a big deal and all the houses on my block would go all out decorating and it was just an awesome time.
I loved masks of all kinds and was obsessed with horror movies and villains in particular. We weren't poor but wasn't rich either so I began modifying masks and make paper mache masks. And back before internet we had these things called magazines lol, and my dad scrounged up some money to order me the mask makers handbook. I was so excited to get it, but was let down and disappointed because the cost of supplies and the sheer complicated process of doing it discouraged me immensely.
So it sat on my bookshelf for many years til later on. Continuing my love for the macabre I became a grave digger and eventually a funeral director, along with being an artist on the side.

And then one day I had clay, I had plaster and soon after I made my first mask. It was a disaster, but we make mistakes to learn. And eventually I got the hang of it. Pretty soon through other connections I'd made with art I was soon was making masks and costumes for film and musicians. And by the time I had enough of a portfolio I created (no longer up) and it ran it for 6 years. But then I had some tragedy in my life and I dropped it for many years. And through help of family and friends I got back on my feet and Cellar Door F/X was born and here to stay!

Salem does some killer work and has main designs that can be made to order at or he can be commissioned to make custom (full head and face) masks as well as costume accessories and props. 

Check out his gallery and make sure to tell him that Tattooed Steve sent you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

He's David S. Pumpkins! Any questions?

By-Stephen Mezo

I'm David Pumpkins!!! Any questions!?

It's been a real long time since a SNL skit made me laugh really hard, but a simple skit with Tom Hanks and an elevator with a hundred floors of horror with "David S. Pumpkins" did just that.

The big question that everyone has (including the theme park guest in the Hellevator) "Who is David S. Pumpkins?"
And what makes it even funnier is even Tom Hanks himself has no idea who the character is or why he was at this fictional haunt.

My wife and I were sitting there laughing and we wound up making our own backstory for David Pumpkins. Our theories ranged from if it were an independent haunt he might have been an entertainer with a lot of money that wants to be part of a haunt in the worst way. And he made an agreement with the haunt where he would cover insurance, the space rental, props and costumes - but he would be able to perform as his character David Pumpkins with his Beat Boy Skeleton Dancers. And since he fronted so much of the cost he would be allowed to appear on seventy three floors of the haunts one hundred.

But when we heard that it was a theme park in the skit it became even funnier because then we had to change his backstory. This time the park only had so much money to pay for licensed characters and needed a filler, was afraid of offending visitors and wanted to keep the it the monsters and gore to a minimum and once again needed filler.    

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Storage Unit of Terror 2 XL!!!

By - Stephen Mezo

Remember on Gilligan's Isle how you never seen the other side of the island and the Professor said not to bother going there because of how overgrown and dangerous it was?
Well I've always took heed of his televised advice over the years and I have to say it's kept me pretty safe. And it's a big reason why in the five years I've owned The Storage Unit of Terror I've never ventured around the building past the side due to all of the overgrowth.

But with this super hot Summer the overgrowth dried up and died off. And I was finally able to walk around to the back of the building.

And to my surprise the back of the building was actually the front!

You should have seen the look on my face when I found out that the Storage Unit of Terror has it's own video store, a huge parking lot and a highway sign frame that I had a sign made for.

Now if you're wondering where I got all the money to get all of this signage made, all I'm going to say is there was enough bottles and cans laying around to pay for it and enough left over to keep the power on for years. 

I guess you're saying to yourself "You mean you've never walked to the back of the building in the five years you've been there?" The answer is the only way through was a locked and chained door at the end of this hall. And all of us that watched horror movies know better than to mess with doors like that.

I think the best part about the extra space is I don't have to do anything at all because it's perfect! And I can do any setup I want or need at any time! Of course I had to invite Father Evil over to give it a blessing.
I can build temporary backdrops for interviews and set up stages for concert performances.

Have friends over for F/X tutorials, set up a huge screen for premiere showings or just ride one of those Razor motorized things back and forth till I get bored.

The best part is it has it's own connected video store that I named TERRORVISION VIDEO. 
 And I can make the whole thing The Horror Section
 (Which I plan on doing).

With the old Mom and Pop Viral Video Store building being sold and turned into a health food shop I was at a total loss, but now I have my own with power and running water!

Yup, it's great having all of this extra space and just in time for all new interviews and reviews coming up right before this Halloween!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Talking about the movie "Reichsfuhrer - SS" (2015)


By - Stephen Mezo 

I have to start this one with a thank you to Manny Serrano of "Blood Slaughter Massacre" fame for telling John Martineau to let me view a screener of "Reichsfuhrer SS". 

 Written/Directed by David B. Stewart III

Reichsfuhrer reminds me of Grindhouse favorites like "Isla Shewolf of The SS" with a anthology segment kind of feel to it. 
The movie opens with Heinrich Himmler meeting up with a demon by the name of Erebus who is making him aware of why he is Hell.
And one of the many reasons is a murder he had to commit because of a treacherous move by Nazi General Hans Shellenberg. 

I'll save you a lot of film school blah, blah review yaddda yadda yadda, and just talk about what I liked about it. I'll start by saying with the budget they had for production they did pretty damn good and had a story line that kept me watching. 
The director of photography (Okay I have to use a little) really made use of a lot of different camera angles instead of falling back on static shots and saying "That'll work..." because nothing brings the watchability of a movie to a screeching halt faster than that.  And the lighting was excellent as well, hey don't give me "Dude really?" For me to sit there and take in the story going on I want to see what's going on. Nothing aggravates me more than having to try to make out what's happening because the director is trying to hide imperfections or just under light everything out of sheer lazyness. 
Don't get me wrong I enjoy atmosphere, but you can tell the difference when watching any kind of thriller or horror. 

I was impressed with Erebus look along with his Minion and there are some great Russian soldier zombies as well. And there was plenty of gore to go around for everyone as well. Add to that an hour and a half run time and it was definitely worth the watch. 

Reichsfuhrer - SS is availible on Blu Ray, DVD and VHS through SGL Entertainment .

Also on Blu Ray and DVD through Amazon .com

Check out the trailer for Reichsfuhrer - SS on YouTube

Reichsfuhrer - SS on Facebook

Reichsfuhrer -SS on Twitter

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Talking about Things 1989

By - Stephen Mezo

Well it's been a while since I've talked about a favorite movie I've owned on VHS and bought again on DVD. To tell you the truth it's been a while since I've really sat down and typed a full piece on here so I figured it's time to really enjoy it again. 

I've decided to start with a favorite that means a lot to me and it is THINGS (1989).

Where do I start with how much I love this movie? 

I got it I'll lead in with why, it'll intertwine with two movies I had worked on with Warren F. Disbrow "Flesh Eaters From Outer Space" and "Invasion For Flesh and Blood" in the same year THINGS was released. But I'm talking about this much loved Canadian Horror Indie in a sense of what it means to me and not just a review.

My original VHS was a gift from Tim Ferrante, yup THAT Tim Ferrante the man is still one of the nicest people that I have ever had the fortune of calling a friend.
The second he saw it he knew that I would absolutely love it and bought me a VHS of it.

And it couldn't have happened at a better time, I was a little over a year into working on Flesh Eaters Form Outer Space and building props, costumes and F/X to go right into working on Invasion For Flesh and Blood. So it's pretty fair to say that I was feeling a little overwhelmed. 

I had a background with making movies on VHS *We'll get back to that* and had Ricky Dick "Gravely McCabre" as my mentor with the prop, costuming and F/X work but Warren was giving me a huge chance of a lifetime to work on two monster movies and I didn't want to let him down. 

So you couldn't imaging how happy I was to see a dude up in Canada (Barry J. Gillis) that looked like a fellow Metalhead around the same age as me on the cover of a horror movie. And when I watched it it was like he was saying to me "You got this!"

A lot of reviews for THINGS over the years have been pretty harsh but that hasn't stopped the movie from earning a huge cult following who call themselves THING-ites and a re release on DVD. Not too bad of a job by Andrew Jordan and Barry J. Gillis writing it with Andrew as director and Barry in the lead making something that's still enjoyed over twenty years later.

It's easy to be judgmental nowadays while watching it, but when it was first released and hit the Horror Section shelves it was a huge love letter to all of our past favorites. And Barry J. Gillis was letting so many Horror Fans and Metalheads live vicariously through him as the lead. I mean name at least one Horror fan back then, Hell even now that wouldn't jump at that chance. And their dubbed film to video transfer gives it a great Italian Horror feel that classic horror/monster fans enjoy.

I'll save you the re reading of a description of THINGS plot that has been typed a million times before on IMDB, Wiki and other sites, but I will tell you that THINGS is like a Rock Club Band among a slew of Arena Bands to me.
Because just like those Rock Club Bands it's stripped down, powered up and unapologetic.You want boobs, beer, blood and monsters you got it!

*A little word about film to video*
The thing that helped launch THINGS onto Horror Section shelves was also something that slowed Flesh Eaters and Invasion's mass distribution in America.

When Warren had made Flesh Eaters and Invasion he had used 3/4" VHS. This was the format used by TV Stations, News Crews and for concert and sporting events. These VHS players were used with a video editing system. And these were the main machines used to make 1/2" home video copies onto 1/2" VHS machines.

And this is a 1/2" VHS machine you would use at home.

"Dude what's with the VCR talk?"

Well I'll tell you... Back in the old days Filmmakers were not happy with the change of film to video (They covered that in Boogie Nights) and Movie Theaters weren't thrilled with Mom and Pop Video Stores. So the ownership cost stayed high for VHS cassettes  (20.00 to 100.00 each) and if you wanted distribution you had to have a Film original to be transferred to 3/4" VHS cassett masters for TV airing, and others made to be masters to make 1/2" VHS cassettes for the rental/retail market. There's even more to it, but that's a whole other subject. 

Andrew and Barry had done THINGS on 8mm that was blown up to 16mm as a master film print, so they had that covered as well as a booming Independent Video Rental Store market in demand for titles.

Now Warren was thinking why go through all of that? A 3/4" master of the then titled "A Taste For Flesh and Blood"could be made professionally by him on the same equipment and sent out to distributors. Then proceeds from that distributor along with a sequel would finance a future FILM project that he was training my friends and myself to work on. Then that movie could go through the transfer progress and have the film look that we love. 

Well as I have heard all of my life "Rules are Rules..." And Warren had received one rejection letter after another from distributors. And they all pretty much said the same thing, the distributors loved the movies but needed filmed masters. On top of that were were already in production of A Taste For Flesh and Blood Part II which was being shot on 3/4".
A Taste For Flesh and Blood did get distribution, but it was during the dark times of Corporate Video Rental Stores squeezing out the Mom and Pop stores...
This was another heavy hit because while Mom and Pop Stores would have grabbed up plenty of copies for their Horror Section Shelves, B-Buster wanted a total re edit that would have killed the run time and would have taken up footage from Part II. But Warren stood by his work and our solidarity with the Mom and Pop Video Stores.

On the bright side it made it's way to Asia and Europe especially in Italy in 1994 (Grazie mille per alcuni tra i migliori fan dell'horror mai!) was covered by Fanatafilm and they even did an interview with me back then. And the distributor responsible for that deal wanted the re cut of A Taste For Flesh and Blood Warren had done along with Part II, the only request they made were to re title them. This is when they became Flesh Eaters From Outer Space and Invasion for Flesh and Blood.

Another eleven years later "Uncle" Lloyd Kaufman was given a copy to watch in Italy while filming "Tales From The Crapper" and secured a double DVD distribution deal with Warren and had a theatrical showing in Red Bank Art Cinema in New Jersey along with Two Boots Theater in New York. My Mom and my Wife were with me at the Red Bank showing and they were beyond proud. 

*End of video history and back to THINGS*

I had my Mom watch THINGS two days after I had seen it and not only did she like the movie she also thought that it was great that Andrew and Barry were around my age and had their movie in video stores to rent. 

So I watched that movie till it literally wore out and was on a quest to find a replacement. I was hoping to find another VHS version, but then had to deal with the thought of it being as worn as mine or worse a pirated cop of a copy... 
Then I found out that it was re released on DVD! I put an order in for a copy on Amazon since I had to place an order for some medical supplies for my mom and had it sent to her place. Get ready to laugh because it gets funny.

So my Mom opens the box after it arrived and as she's going through it she finds my THINGS DVD. When I saw her the next day she asked me if I bought some kind of snuff film? And when I saw the cover I said "That's that horror movie from Canada that came out when I was working with Warren." The next day I brought over my portable DVD player and about five minutes in she remembered the movie and had me getting her caught up on how Andrew and Barry were doing. Because they are her other favorite Monster Movie making kids up in Canada next to the Soska Sisters.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Monster Kid Dream Room of Daniel White!


By - Stephen Mezo 

Part Three of "Where did he get all of those wonderful toys?"
They always say "Leave The Best For Last" and the wrap up for the Monster Kid History of our friend Daniel White is the top floor of his home and collection.


 I had seen Daniel's top floor collection room for the first time on The Vintage Monster Group on Facebook and was completely blown away!
I couldn't get over seeing how many collectibles that I had myself, how many I had passed over buying myself (when I should have bought them) and how many more that I had absolutely no idea even existed. 

   The first photo I had seen from Daniel that invited me into his world
and then led me to become his friend.

The walls and ceiling are adorned with posters of all of our favorites and countless issues by our Uncle Forry, And the shelves are lined with models, toys, Super 8 Movies and action figures that we all found comfort in and loved. 

And this leads us back out.

One of the coolest things about Daniel is even though he has all of this incredible stuff he doesn't have the attitude of someone that normally would. And I've never once seen him lecture anyone about their own collectibles, how complete their collection is or knowing more about an item than others. He just enjoys everyone sharing the love of what ties us together as fans and collectors. 

And all I can say is the world needs a lot more people like him.

Thank you once again Daniel for sharing your life story and letting all of us see so much of your amazing collection.