Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mechanical Shooter Games to Light Guns!

By-Stephen Mezo

I have had an absolute love for Mechanical Shooting Arcade Games since the first time I ever played one in the game room at Two Guys department store when I was six years old. 
I can't remember which company made it, but I do remember that it had a seat with some kind of cannon or bazooka and metal army men raised up from foxholes and if there was a hit they would go back down and you would score points. And it had explosion sounds and lighting effects. 

My Mom called games like these quarter eaters because they were timed unless you were good enough to get a second play score. Unlike pinball machines that could be played for hours if you had the skill to do it. Or claw machines that would give you hand fulls of green army men or dinosaurs. 
She just didn't understand that this game was my backyard green army men battles turned up to eleven.
And just when I thought that I had played the coolest game ever I discovered Midways "Haunted House" 

This game is so awesome and had three of my favorite things. Toy guns, monsters and day-glow black light infused artwork. I would play it as much as I could and try to rack up as many free plays as possible.
Then when I had seen the inner workings of the game itself on YouTube I was beyond blown away by how simple it was, but still provides so much entertainment.

And then there was SEGA's "GUN FIGHT"

This shooter was awesome because you would fire until one of the the two action figures fell backwards on a hinge and the cacti on each side would break in half too. But the only down side is you needed another player to play against. 

As time went on I found so many more versions of the mechanical shooters and action games and loved playing them all until SEGA released "Killer Shark".

 It made a cameo in the movie JAWS which led to some of it's popularity three years after it was released in the arcades.

It had it's place in the shooting game universe, but for me the projected sharks just didn't have the same feel as the original mechanical shooters.

And just when I thought shooting games in the arcade were lost to me the EXIDY video game company stole my heart and probably what could have been years of future car or rent payments in quarters.

The first game that I had ever played by them was "CROSSBOW" in the video game area of Rite-Aid in Hazlet New Jersey. And I will never forget the Empire Strikes Back wall paper there in that corner to let you know that you were in the video game area. 

It was cool because even though it was a video game screen it had really kicked up the challenge of the Shooter Game, and unlike the the mechanical versions it wasn't timed and there were a lot of different levels to keep you entertained.
It doesn't look like much here, but the challenge of the game was to provide cover fire to the adventurers as they made their way across the screen to their goal. And you would have the the trolls and evil elves throwing knives at the adventures as well as ghost looking to take them out. The duck was there to distract you and just mess with your head. 

Then there was a desert level with giant ants and scorpions coming from every direction and vultures swooping down at the adventures. They had made a western version of Crossbow called "CHEYENNE" soon after, it was okay but didn't appeal to me as much as Crossbow did when I played it in Bev and Wally's Arcade on the Keansburg Boardwalk.

After that EXIDY had literally upped their game and came out with "CHILLER"

This one was like HAUNTED HOUSE steriods!!!

It was timed like it's mechanical predecessor but if you were quick enough and figured out the targets that gave you more time you could get a lot of play out of it on one quarter. The funny thing about this one was I had no idea that it was being banned in arcades all over the country while I was playing it all of the time in Rite-Aid in Hazlet. 

After that a lot of smaller arcades were closing down and stores were getting rid of cabinet games because home systems were gaining popularity again. And once again I thought that was the end of the arcade shooting games once again...

And then when the TAITO company had released a new arcade shooting game called "Operation Wolf" during the Action Movie craze you couldn't even walk into a laundromat without bumping into one. 

This game had it all and with no time limits. You were armed with hand grenades and a compact UZI to make your way to the enemy camp and rescue the hostages held prisoner by the enemy forces. 

After that arcade shooting games had gained enough popularity that arcades and movie theaters started getting one of my all time favorites of the new generation and it was SEGA's "House of The Dead" and it's sequels.

This is a screenshot of House of The Dead 2  

And the popularity of this brought about Midway creating their own arcade shooter "CarnEvil"
 And it takes place in a haunted attraction that's haunted.

And that strikes me funny because it's like MIDWAY and SEGA came full circle because they were the companies that created Mechanical Shooters for arcades in the first place. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bughuul and all things Sinister...

By - Stephen Mezo

If you've never seen either of the Sinister movies stop reading this and go watch both of then come back. I'll even wait for you.

Okay if you just got back or have watched both movies already lets do this! Stop with the eye roll there are a hundred million reviews of both movies already I'm just discussing why I liked both and wish that they had made part 3. 

I've read a couple reviews of the movies and complaints about both, but I'm not faulting any of them. I'm just typing about why I've watched them more than once or twice.

I think I'll start with the main reason that I'm disappointed that Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill aren't writing or making part 3...

First I would have loved to have seen the summoning of Bughuul
by whoever had done it in Norway. And led to what was known as "The Norwegian Hell Call" with ham radio enthusiast in part 2.
Now without part 3 acting as a prequel as I would guess we would find out who discovered the music that opened the portal between Bughuul's realm and our own. 
Dr. Stromberg had said that Bughuul exist in art and music and can enter our realm through either. So would that mean a musician had found some kind of sheet music that wasn't destroyed like others along with paintings and drawings?
And then this Norwegian musician had first played the music only to have his daughter exposed Bughuul's powers and influence. And then she turned on her father's ham radio to broadcast her song to Bughuul as carries out her sacrifice to him before being claimed by him.

Then the father of the family in the film pool party might have been a ham radio operator himself and accidentally found the Norwegian Hell Call. Then not only was Bughuul able to influence his son, he also found a new medium to exist in. And since it was in 1966 it might have had a influence on his appearance where he still had the Nordic hair and look, but decided to go with a suit of that time period to appear more normal to the kids he's influencing to do his sacrifice so he can deplete their soul after.

After that the camera and projector makes the rounds until it reached Ellison's family and Bughuul couldn't have asked for a better person to open the portal between realms. Ellison was so desperate for a second chance to hit the big time that having all of that information was too much to pass up. But by the time the danger of the reality caught up with him it was too late. 
Then when (soon to be ex) Deputy So and So and Professor Jonas got word of Ellison's and his family's deaths as well as his daughter being missing they new that they had to take action. 
Which would lead in to the events between parts one and two where Deputy So and So was let go from the sheriffs department and became a private investigator. And then began burning down all of the houses connected with the curse of Bughuul. And I think Professor Jonas planned to travel to Norway using the coordinates to find the original house maybe in the hopes of destroying that one. But I also think that Bughuul brought him to a nasty ending somehow before that had a chance to happen with the use of that ham radio Dr. Stromberg had in his lab at the university. 

Now if you're saying there's no way Bughuul could have taken out Professor Jonas himself just think about the ham radio being in Ex Deputy So and So's hotel room before Bughuul appeared. Which means Dr. Stromberg met a bad end because he didn't get a chance to destroy the ham radio after Deputy So and So told him to.    

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Doc Terror Forever...

By - Stephen Mezo

If it weren't for James Harris
 there would have never been a Storage Unit of Terror... 

After I had a long run and falling out with a much loved Horror website (in complete rock band style) that I had written for I simply said "Okay now what?" Seriously I was just done with it...

So I moped around for a couple months and drove my wife crazy with one less thing to do that brought me enjoyment (I hadn't started collecting monster toys again yet) and my wife had told me to start up my own horror site. And after a long think I came up with the name "The Storage Unit of Terror" in honor of all all the missed it by that much Entertainment moments of my life. But I felt like this time out with the site was just going to be yet another one of those times.

But then James Harris "Doc Terror" himself got to talking to me about it and when I told him that I was going to pack it in he simply asked me why? And my response was "How many horror sites does the world need? And does anyone really care about what I thought of a movie that a thousand people already typed about?"
And that's when he did what he did best and made a lot of us do now. He reminded me that I was out there doing a lot what others never had the chance to. Yeah sure I never made a million dollars out of it, but I got to live the life.

Even though I was getting pretty jaded with the cliques and cool kids at the table attitudes of most out there in the horror community James was there telling me to keep making contacts. And I am forever grateful that he did because of all the new friends I've made over the years and all of the new experiences I've had and all of the new talents I've been fortunate enough to meet.

And he even had me write a little something for one of his
  Italian Horror Week Specials. 
Click the picture above to check it out.

Okay enough blah, blah about me and I've finally ran out of stupid eye rain so I can see and type about him.
Click the image above to witness the greatness of Doc Terror. 

Cancer fought dirty and took James Harris away from all of us but his legacy is unequaled. And part of that legacy is all of us with keyboards in front of us letting his three little girls know how awesome he was to make us love him this much. It may be a long time before they read any of this but I can tell them that he was the main force in making me wanting to be a better person in the horror community. 
I know that this doesn't sound like much in the grand scheme of things, but to seek out and connect so many creative people and then influence them to do the same on their own is very impressive.
And then to have so many of these same people show so much love during his fight and then post their grief of his loss says even more.

One of the things I really liked about James the most was him living the quote made in the movie Spinal Tap "Have fun all of the time" and reminding all of us to not take ourselves too seriously
and that the ride isn't as long as we think it is.

He was the biggest horror fan out there and they'll never be another like him. So the best we can do is keep on supporting each others projects and keeping the positives in the scene alive until we all meet up at our tables in that Great Horror Convention in The Sky.  


Monday, March 20, 2017

Father Evil Can Smell Your Sins...

By - Stephen Mezo

I've had the pleasure and honor of knowing Lou Alvilleira and his beautiful wife Sarah Rusin Alvilleria for a couple of years now and getting to see the rise of Lou's creation (now persona) FATHER EVIL. 

Lou had come up with the idea of Father Evil back in 2009 with the use of a Halloween costume. Now with the support of his wife and his own dedication and drive to making Father Evil available to the masses he is a household name of Horror Fans everywhere.

A character to me is what you see in film, animation or on a stage during a performance, that's why I always use "Persona" when I speak of Father Evil because that is who you are talking to when in is his presence. Really, when you meet Father Evil at an event you are meeting Father Evil! If you want to meet Lou you're going to have to catch him before an event or after because once Father Evil emerges he is all.

A lot of people use the term "Cosplayer " when talking about Father Evil and I will be the first to say that it's beyond wrong. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with Cosplay, in fact I am in awe of the creativity and skill that Cosplayers have when doing it. I'm full on saying that FATHER EVIL IS NOT A COSPLAYER!  A Cosplayer is someone that dresses as a character from an established series as a hobby and aren't claiming ownership of that character. While Father Evil is a persona created by Lou Avilleira and can appear in just about any medium with only his permission.

But I have to say that when I had seen his photo spread in Cosplayer Magazine I smiled so wide my cheeks hurt for about an hour after. 

Then there are others that simply say "He's just another scary priest". But once a lot of these people have met Father Evil and have seen his interaction with fans that are now traveling to meet him just like Metal Fans travel to attend their favorite bands concerts, they definitely see what makes him stand way out from the crowd. 

Tattoo owner: Anna Coffman Clark / Tattoo Artst: Richard Stephens

And another thing that makes him an original is his very personable attitude along with not being offensive or a mockery of what he is personifying.

 Father Evil with our good friend John Roisland from "House of Tortured Souls"

As far as Father Evil's back story he was once a beloved priest in a small Latin village that had a horrifying experience that made his faith absolute. He's not possessed but infused with the power to seek out sin. And once he's found those with sin their fate is sealed.

Currently Lou has taken the next logical step and has become an ordained minister in order for Father Evil to be able to conduct wedding ceremonies.  For more information about this, future live appearances and bookings check out 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Showcase of the art of Travis Mullins

  By -Steve Mezo

The first time I had seen Travis Mullins sculpture "CRACKED" I was blown away by how cool it looked and was able to get in touch with him on Facebook about it and then found out about his ETSY store with even more of his creations.


Once I checked out his ETSY store with my wife we loved so much of what he's created we had to agree to buy a piece that represented both of us and the one we decided on was "Zahhh".


When Zahhh arrived my wife had seen it first after shen unpacked it she absolutely loved it, and when I saw it my jaw just about hit the floor because it looks amazing and is a monster size slice of pizza!

After I contacted Travis to thank him for doing such an incredible job I asked him to type a little about himself for his showcase.

*Travis Mullins*

I make the MONSTERS that make YOU smile... www.facebook/travismullinsart My name is Travis Grant Mullins. I am based in Warsaw, Indiana. I'm inspired by everything and everyone around me. I see everyday objects and think of how to turn them into monsters.
My first monster, in this series, was a commissioned piece. It was a killer tomato for a local tomato festival. I like to use any everyday object, sculpt jaws with teeth and a tongue, and then figure out a way to incorporate the two together to create something both fun and terrifying.
Monsters are something that I find to be a great subject because of the seemingly endless ways to create them. That, and I love creating something that is interesting to look at, that is fun, disturbing, and original. The art form I prefer to use in creating monsters is sculpture. I like the 3D form because of the many ways to examine the artwork. I enjoy the physicality of sculpture. It is something you can touch and hold as well as view from afar. 





Talking about Ryan D. Blazic's Monsters Among Men

By - Steve Mezo

I had received an advanced Blu - Ray copy of Ryan D. Blazic's modern vampire film "Monsters Among Men". And I really enjoyed the story starting out with a dude getting a cup of coffee and getting ready to purpose to his girlfriend in a nice woodsy setting just to wind up having a real bad day with a plot twist to boot.

It was produced by Ryan along with Thomas Berdinski and Johnathan David. With a music score by Thomas Berdinski of The Giant Rubber Monster Movie and The Italian Zombie Movie fame.

So I put it on and readied myself for some kind of vampire action and got plenty of it. I'm talking vampire attacks, undead familiars, thrill killer helpers, guns and blood. And of course the plot twist that really made it worth the watch. I mean most of the time Indie vampire films are a quick shoot that rely on boobs and fake blood with a simple plot of some kind of lead vampire doing a bunch of turning and getting destroyed at the end. 
But Ryan went the extra mile and actually typed an awesome story line and a plot that you actually got into with a couple of twist that you won't see coming. 

Yes I'm typing about the twist a lot, because like I said I was really impressed with Ryan caring enough to put that much work into the script of this movie.
And I love the nods made by Thomas Berdinski to a couple of Warren F. Disbrow's movies that I had worked on and appeared in with some of the cinematography he had done.

All around it's a cool watch and definitely a must have to your Indie Horror collection.