Friday, December 10, 2010

Vince N Stilts: Hollywood Publicist Controversy

Lately, I've been helping my roommate Vince Cusimano learn how to walk in stilts. On our walks we talk about different things and this time it was about the recent controversy following Ronnie Chasen's death. Ronni Chasen was a Hollywood Publicist that was killed November 16th of this year. She was shot multiple times in the chest at 12:30 AM. The death is very suspicious since it was so early and on the busy intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Avenue. To hear more about it click the video below and hear the story from Vince.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

I'm super excited this is coming to Pasadena, CA on December 10th. I'll definitely be going to see this the first night.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Things I'm Scared of: Part 1

Since I run a horror blog I thought it would be fun to talk about what scares me. If you're friends with me you'll know that I'm scared of a few things that a lot of people are scared of but some things are more random. Since most of you have never met me, let me tell you a few.


Mostly just the ones at Halloween haunts like Halloween Horror Nights. I think I'm mainly scared of them because they're loud but I also have another theory. When I was a child my mom would play Zombies Ate My Neighbors a lot. In the game there's chainsaw wielding maniacs cutting through hedges. Something that has always stayed with me and freaked me out. I won't lie chainsaws are badass but I hate when they're anywhere close to me.


Sure a lot of people are scared of ghosts and I happen to be one of them. Strangely enough I love watching any ghost show I can. My first memories of being terrified of ghosts was hiding under a blanket watching Unsolved Mysteries as a kid.

War of the Worlds

This may be a different fear than most people. I am extremely scared of this movie. If the reality of this film ever took place I'd probably kill myself. Not only are the aliens in this movie terrifying but Tom Cruise is a crazy crazy man. I wouldn't want to be turned into dust and clothes or get the blood pumped out of me. 

Epcot's Spaceship Earth

It's not so much the ride but the ball itself. Yeah I know it's weird but for a while I had a fear that it was actually going to start rolling. Hey, it could be Disney's secret weapon...but probably not.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Drinking Game: Ernest Scared Stupid

This is by far the best drinking game my roommate, Vince and I have played. It's great for parties or just hanging out with some buddies. No one can really hate this ridiculous movie. Anyways, here's the rules...

Drink Every Time:

Ernest fucks up
Someone says "Rimshot"
You see a doll
Ernest changes character
You see a troll
Bobby Tulip is on screen (he is a scary man)

If you really want to get wasted, drink every time Ernest makes a face. Honestly, that could be a drinking game on it's own.

And one again, drink responsibly

Friday, November 5, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2

On October 20th, my friend Andrea and I went to go see the free midnight screening of Paranormal Activity 2. I had won VIP tickets from bloody-disgusting the night before which meant we got to go in first. When we arrived at the Archlight in Hollywood, CA I was surprised at how many people were already in line. They had a DJ playing music that didn't see to appropriate for a horror movie but that was just my opinion. We picked up our tickets and got in line. The VIP line only had 4 people in it so far so we were pretty lucky.  Along with the VIP pass we received a free food voucher for a food truck that came later that night.

Through out the night they gave out free swag including t-shirts, paranormal activity DVDs, travel bags, a tote bag, and posters. They also had food give outs like cupcakes, candy, water and ice cream. We were given wrist bands with numbers for free giveaways for xboxs, ipads, and ipods. Sadly we didn't win any of those.

The highlight of my night before they let us into the theater was someone dressed up as a ghost (just a sheet) popping up randomly and scaring people. It was hilarious. If any one was wathcing the live stream on dread central I'm sure they saw it.

Finally, around 12 AM they let us into the theater and we finally experienced Paranormal Activity 2.

Overall I enjoyed Paranormal Activity 2. I am a fan of the first film even though most of my friends do no like it at all. I also agree that it is scarier than the first. The end I thought was kinda cheesy because you knew exactly what was going to happen with Kate. Anyways, that's my super short review of PA2.

Here are some of the pictures of the swag and food we received throughout the night:

front of shirt
back of shirt
inside the travel bag

Drinking Game: The Gate

So I wrote this segment quite a few years ago.  Why I did not post it, I couldn't tell you. 

Anyways, the second drinking game I had with my roommate was with The Gate. Surprisingly we both got even more intoxicated with this one. Here are the rules...

Drink every time:

You see a hole
Someone says a name
You see a creature
Someone says something inappropriate
Something ridiculous happens

Not as many rules as the first but don't worry, it does the trick. Believe me.

Remember always drink responsibly

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Drinking Game: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Every week my roommate, Vince and I have a horror movie drinking game night so I decided to start posting the rules. Today I will post the first ever drinking game we did for Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter. So here goes...

Drink everytime:
Someone says "Gordon"
Someone says "Dead Fuck"
You hear the ch-ch-ch music
You see nudity
Someone is killed
You see Corey Feldman
Chug when you see Crispin Glover dance

The other films we've had drinking games for are The Gate, Ernest Scared Stupid, Troll 2, Little Shop of Horrors, and some other movies I can't think of right now.

"Drink Responsibly"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Horror Nights: 20 Years of Fear

As many of you know I am a huge haunted attraction nerd. Last week I went to Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. I was in FL for a horror convention called Spooky Empire (Formally Screamfest). I hadn't been to Halloween Horror Nights in FL since I had worked as a costume dresser in 2007. I was super stoked to go because this year was the big 20 year anniversary.

The theme this year for HHN was 20 years of fear. The icon for this years haunt is supposed to be fear himself. Who is pictured below.

The night started off with my friend Katy, her friends, and I all getting in the park. The line outside the gates were huge but to keep you from not going crazy was a huge screen showing a preview of what awaited us inside. It showed icons of years past all talking about fear. As we made our way inside we went through the first scare zone called Esqueleto Muerto. This scare zone was packed with glowing skeletons and was basically just dio de los muertos themed.

Next on our adventure was the PsychoScareapy: Echoes of Shadybrooks house. This house basically was all the previous years of the PsychoScareapy houses thrown into one. Which kinda worked to it's disadvantage in my opinion and was my least favorite house.

Next up was another house called the Legendary Truth: The Wyandot Estate. It was set up kind of like a Ghost Hunter type crew setting up for an investigation at a haunted bed and breakfast. The description of the house says: Using a machine that gathers ghosts, the spirit seekers are about to get more than they bargained for. Which pretty much sums up the house. What I really loved about this house were the new  technology advances. They had two sections in the house where the halls seemed solid but were in fact slightly transparent. Scare actors dressed up as ghosts went by on a conveyor belt like device on the sides of you and under the floor. They also had a bunch of crazy sheet tricks.

After the Legendary Truth we made it over to the Fear Revealed scare zone. It was basically the new icon this year, Fear and some of his lantern minions around him. After this scare zone was another called The Coven. The Coven's description says beware the Cult of the Raven. Enter this witches realm at your peril, as unbelievers will be condemned to death. Walking through all that surrounded the path was pumpkins. Tons of them. That was it.

Next was Catacombs: Black Death Rising. To be honest this was the scariest house that we went to that night. I won't lie I covered my eyes for a lot of it. The set design for this house was amazing you actually believed you were underground. It went along perfectly with the old dirty smell. The room that freaked me out the most was when it felt like the creatures down there were coughing on me from every direction.  Really nasty stuff.

The last thing I went to was the Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure show. Sure I could have gone to another house but this show brings back memories for me. I used to work in back of it in a trailer while doing costuming.If you aren't familiar with the show I'll explain it to you. The show pokes fun at the year's recent entertainment and pop culture icons.  I thought this year's show was great. It poked fun at Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Jersey Shore, Toy Story 3, The Last Airbender, and Twilight to just name a few. The best part of the show was the intro where they showed a bunch of clips from previous year's shows.

After the show I made my way to leave the park. I walked through one more scare zone as I exited called Zombie Gras which was my favorite in my opinion. It was surrounded by mardi gras floats and had a ton of zombies dressed in mardi gras attire.

Overall I would say this year was pretty good. Not too amazing though. The houses I didn't get to go to were Horror Nights: The Hallow'd Past which I probably would have loved. It included everything from past Halloween Horror Night events. Hovoc: Dogs of War which looked kinda lame. It was supposed to be a soldier program gone wrong. Zombiegeddon  was the more humor based house this year. Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes which was supposed to be about an orphange containing souls of lost children that screamed the name Cindy who if I'm not mistaken was the Caretaker's daughter from a past HHN.  The last house I missed was Hades: The Gates of Ruin and was  all myth and legend underworld themed.

I would have loved to have gone the year Bloody Mary was the icon. I thought they did an amazing job with all the art direction and costuming that year.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dead Rising 2 Party

What:  Greene’s Hardware Super Sale (Dead Rising 2 Community Event) 
Where:  2147 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026              
When:   8PM – 12 Midnight on Friday September 10th 2010

Yesterday I ventured down to Sunset Blvd and went to the Dead Rising party or as they were calling it a community event. The store it was held in was set up to be a fake hardware store with tons of flyers covering the walls. They had most of the weapons from the game on shelves inside the store. I tried to take pictures but a bunch of them came out blurry. Next time I will remember to bring a better camera than my Droid. 

As I walked farther I entered a larger warehouse looking room where there were a ton of PS3s and Xbox 360s set up so you could test out the new Dead Rising 2 game. They also had more weapons available to take pictures with including a rocket launcher, a freedom bear, a sticky bomb, a shotgun, a beer helmet and a few more weapons that I can't remember. I was a little sad they didn't have a fake chainsaw lying around but what are you going to do.

Aside from the game testing they had free pizza and soda. They also gave out some badass shirts just for being there. If you tested your skills out at the Tape it or Die table you received a free poster. 

Here's some pictures from the event:

You can order Dead Rising 2 here: 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Contest Time: Take 2

Alright here's a new contest. It's for a 1313FX Fright Zone mask.

If a girl wins than they get a Swine Flu mask and if a guy wins it than they win a Doll Face mask.

How do you win?

By sending a picture or telling me what your favorite Halloween costume was.

Send your answers to

The winner will be picked on September 15th, 2010

Please support 1313FX Fright Zone by ordering a mask at our web site

Also check out Tom Devlin's site here

Here's worked on the following films:
Lo , Creek , Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead , Joshua

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Walking Dead Contest Winner

And the winner of The Walking Dead Contest is.....

Daphne White of Daph's Dark Little Corner

and the special prize goes to Jessica Chiou.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

The next contest will be announced tomorrow and you won't want to miss this one...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Live the Fear: Knotts Scary Farm Halloween Haunt

World's Oldest and Largest Halloween Theme Park Attraction
Where: Buena Park, CA in Knotts Berry Farm
When: September 24th - October 31st
How Much: Pre-Sale: $50
Day of Event: $56
Group sale prices also available.

I start my Live the Fear weekly posts with one of California's favorites, Knotts Scary Farm. It's celebrating it's 38th anniversary this year. I went to this event last year with a huge group of friends who I worked with at Disneyland. There were 13 houses, 7 shows, and 3 scare zones. The houses last year included: Lock down: The Asylum, Terror of London, Dia De Los Muertos, Uncle Bobo's Big Top of the Bizzarre, The Labyrinth, Slaughterhouse, Cornstalkers, The Doll Factory, Black Widow's Cavern, Club Blood, Quarantine, Pyromaniax, and Alien Annihilation.
While I was there I got to go into all of the houses except for Pyromaniax and Alien Annihilation. My personal favorites last year were The Doll Factory for the scare aspect. The dolls were extremely creepy. I also recommend Uncle Bob's Big Top of the Bizarre for the fact that it's just a really fun house to go into. The Black Widow's Cavern is actually a ride they transform for the Halloween season. They have character actors and huge spiders jumping out at you through-out this runaway mine car ride. It is so much fun with a big group of friends.  The new houses this year are Sleep Hollow Mountain which is a log flume ride they transformed for this season, Fallout Shelter, Virus Z. The returning houses are Lockdown: The Asylum, Cornstalkers, Terror of London, Dia De Los Muertos, Uncle Bobo's Top of the Bizarre, Slaughterhouse, Labyrinth, Black Widow's Cavern, The Doll Factory, and Club Blood. If you are at Knotts and you'd like to enjoy some alcoholic beverages there's quite a few areas to do so.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Contest Time

Time for a Spooky Brew first... A contest!

This contest is for  The Walking Dead mini poster given away at this year's Comic Con.

How do you win this contest?

Simply by requesting a movie I should review. The winner will be picked randomly. If I really dig the movie you request I will send you a special secret gift.

Send your request to:

The contest will end August 13th.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Steve's Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic Films

With the DVD release of The Road, I figured now would be a good time to talk about my top 5 favorite post-apocalyptic films.

5. Planet of the Apes (1968)

From the opening crash landing to the twist ending, this movie plays like a two hour Twilight Zone episode. If you haven't seen this classic, (and no, not the mediocre Mark Wahlberg remake) go rent it. Charlton Heston is great and the makeup was revolutionary for the time.

4. A Boy and His Dog (1974)

The story of a young man and his telepathic dog companion searching for food and women in a post-apocalyptic world may not sound like a great premise but it's remarkably better than it sounds. The key to the films greatness is the relationship between Vic (the boy) and Blood (the dog). The writing is sharp and humorous as the two companions, who rely on each other to survive, are constantly bickering and arguing over nonsense. However, the film's dark humor truly shines with the ridiculous twist ending that will probably have you smiling.

3. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

And no, not the mediocre Zack Snyder remake. George A. Romero's classic takes the awful situation he started with Night of the Living Dead and makes it so much worse. The zombies have grown in numbers, hope is pretty much lost, and a shopping mall is the only thing standing between our new band of survivors and becoming a symbol of American consumerism. Oh, and don't forget the gore. This is probably one of the goriest horror films ever made and Romero continued the trend with the sequel, Day of the Dead (1985). Let's just not talk about the remake of "Day".

2. The Road (2009)

It doesn't get much more post-apocalyptic than this. Viggo Mortenson plays a father trying to protect his child born into a post-apocalyptic world from gangs of cannibals. The man and his boy, constantly on the verge of starvation and death, struggle to survive as the boy constantly wants to help others they encounter. The performances are extraordinary and the film is filled with many powerful moments. The duo attempt to maintain the role as the "good guys" even when cast into morally objectionable situations. I read the book before I saw the film and enjoyed the film more. The Road's author, Cormac Mccarthy, paints a picture of the Earth's new, bleak landscape. It's captured perfectly on film. Mccarthy's characters look and speak as I imagined them and many scenes from the book were simply better in motion.

1.5 28 Days Later (2002)

I can't believe I forgot this film. My favorite horror film ever is not really post-apocalyptic since Britain is the only part of the world affected by the zombie outbreak, but those opening scenes of Jim walking around London are so powerful that it deserves a spot on this list. Danny Boyle single-handedly rebooted the zombie sub-genre with this film. This was probably the first time we saw fast zombies which are now common in today's video games and cinema. Just don't listen to anyone who says the people infected with the rage virus aren't really zombies. It's the same formula.

1. Stalker (1979)

Well, it may not technically be post-apocalyptic but it certainly feels like it is. Andrei Tarkovsky's greatest, yet, lesser known science fiction film tells the story of a group of three men traveling into the heart of a mysterious area known as "the zone" that has been blocked off by the government. At the center of "the zone" a man's deepest wishes are said to come true. Stalker, the leader of the group navigates the zone which is supposedly filled with many dangers. The film is used by Tarkovsky to fully explore the many philosophical ideas first brought up by Solaris. In addition, like Solaris, the ending is used to cast everything you thought you knew about the film into doubt. This is one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time and one of my all around favorite films.

-Steve N.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The BlogTv Return of Maweanne

If anyone is following me on Twitter you may have heard me talking about doing a live broadcast tomorrow on BlogTV.  I'm going to be doing it around midnight tomorrow night. BlogTV is basically a live video broadcast with a live chat where you can talk to me and everyone else logged in. I think it wil be a great way to talk and connect with the Spooky Brew followers. You can sign up for an account here and it's totally free.

If you have any questions you'd like to ask me you or want to know what my opinion is on anything horror related please post a comment below.

BetterThanEvil AKA Steve will also be in the chat so if you'd like to ask him anything you can post that in the comments too.

So if you'd like to tune in, here is the link . I'd really appreciate it.

Breaking Down: Vacancy

There is a lot of talk surrounding the production of Robert Rodriguez' upcoming Predators reboot/remake/re imagining/reincarnation/reload/refresh/requel. A big portion of which is about his decision to put the film in the hands of director Nimrod Antal (Kontroll), and there is no shortage of opinions about him all over the internet. Vacancy is Nimrod's horror directional debut, and may provide some insight into what we can expect from him. Written by Mark L. Smith, the screenplay is for the most part neither exceptional nor terrible. The script is essentially a voyeuristic B-movie wrong-turn scenario set in a creepy motel, a classic genre setting. While on the surface it might appear to be another torture porn movie, but unlike recent movies before it such as Hostel and Saw, it actually is supposed to turn the audience off the violence instead of get off on it. Smith made sure to write characters we empathise for instead of cheering at their every squirm. The scene in which Luke Wilson's character, David, shockingly looks into the t.v. straight at us, the audience, was written in the script specifically to emphasize the double-sided mirror aspect. Unfortunately, the first 2/3 of the film are much stronger than the third act, and the script as a whole is nothing special, however, what Antal does with it at times is nothing short of brilliant.

The opening sequence in the car is probably the strongest of Antal's career. His use of framing in isolated shots to show the character's disconnection from one another is pure art. Coupled with constricting rear-view mirror images, he really adds to the bickering dialogue and is a great example of how a director can utilize the visual advantages the medium of film can offer over novels. There is a claustrophobic feel to this sequence that returns through out the course of the movie. The basic synopsis of the story is a couple, David and Amy, are on the verge of a divorce as they are having trouble coping together after the loss of their son. Their car breaks down suspiciously soon after a well mannered gas station attendant gives a reluctant to ask David directions, and checks under the hood for the cause of a noise the car has been making after a close encounter with a raccoon. Staying with each other in the car for another minute, let alone long enough for another car to come along willing to help is out of the question, so they decide to trek back on foot to a motel they saw straight out of Hitchcock's twisted imagination. After hesitantly buying a room for the night from the motel's sole employee Mason, played to perfection by Frank Whaley, David and Amy soon realize they are about to be the next unwilling stars of a murderous game caught on candid camera.

Antal utilizes hidden cameras as a storytelling device to great effect. These wide angle shots add a creepy realism, and actually become a large part of the plot when David and Amy ( mostly David ) use them to their advantage. Where Hitchcock had Norman Bates peering through the peephole, Antal has Mason spying from the hidden cameras. It's obvious that The Master of Suspense was an inspiration, as the tension will have you clenching on more than a few occasions. As I mentioned earlier, the theme of claustrophobia comes into play through out. Culminating in a sequence underground in a rat infested tunnel beneath the motel. Antal knows what makes us squirm, and he seems to take pleasure in doing so. If you wish to dig a little deeper into the psychology of the film, there seems to be some commentary on how to heal a wounded relationship. As goofy as it may seem that the notion of this holds any weight in a film like this, it was still nice to see that it had something to say regardless of the validity. Vacancy turns from genuinely tense and chilling to slightly non-sensible and far-fetched in the last act, but not enough so that it dissolves the effectiveness of the first two. The ending also left me with mixed feelings about bringing a certain character back to life. Even as the film veers into the direction it does in the final third, the thrills are still there. So although a bit on the Silly side, it is at least skillfully-silly.

Acting wise, leads Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale are satisfying as a struggling couple at the end of their relationship rope. I had a chance to talk to one of the cam ops of Vacancy during a commercial shoot we were both working last year, and a little fun fact for everyone is he told me that Wilson and KBecks absolutely could not stand each other during production. I couldn't help but think how easy it must have been for them to do the first half of the movie. Beckinsale is intentionally not her glamorous self here, and I actually really liked her. Obviously neither Wilson nor Beckinsale took these roles thinking Oscar gold was going to come from it, but both put in a serviceable enough effort. Wilson was even slightly endearing here as a guy obviously still in love with his woman and willing to do whatever it takes to protect her. Frank Whaley really steals the show acting wise, and makes the most of every scene that features him on screen. As the sly mousey Mason, equally creepy as the roach infested motel he manages.

The bottom line here is that this is Antal's show the whole time. He makes the most of every scene, and elevates the tension far above the level of the script. And isn't that, after all, what a good director does? Make a movie better than it has any right to be. There is never a dull moment, and it runs at a perfect length at 80mins. If there is one thing I want any reader to get out of this blog is that you may not have heard of Vacancy, and you may have even heard it's bad news. But if you like horror movies that bring a fresh style, give this one a shot. You may be as pleasantly surprised as I was. The fact that a straight to DVD prequel was released at least proves the first was somewhat successful.

What does this all mean for Predators? At this point it's just too early to tell, but if the teaser trailer is an indication of the final product than it definitely looks as if it's in the right hands. Something I couldn't say about the last two installments in the franchise.

Vacancy is available on Blu-ray and DVD.

  • Story: 6.9
  • Sound: 8.4
  • Music: 8
  • Editing: 8
  • Effects: 7.8
  • Cinematography: 8.1
  • Acting: 8
  • Direction: 9.5
  • Overall (not an average): 8.2