Gavin A Go Go’s Vault Of Horror: Dementia 13


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It’s Friday the 13th again! Here is installment number 5 in our series of horror-thriller movie reviews. Written by Gavin A Go Go. This is Dementia 13. All the 13’s! Released in 1963.

On the eve of his sisters memorial service at the families ancestral Irish castle, John Holoran takes his greedy wife Louise for a boat ride on the same pond where his little sister, Kathleen drowned six years earlier. While strenuously rowing and arguing about his mothers will, John suffers a fatal heart attack. Realising she will inherit nothing if John was to die before his mother Lady Holoran, Louise covers up his death, throwing the body overboard and convincing the family that he had to return to New York, while she is to stay behind to acquaint herself with her extended family.

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During her visit with the not exactly welcoming in-laws, Louise discovers more about the death of young Kathleen which she uses to devise a heinous scheme to get on Lady Holorans good side. While helping her mother in law recover from passing out during the ceremony, Louise manages to convince Lady Holoran that she is able to communicate with her late daughter.

Under the cover of darkness, Louise sets her elaborate ploy in to motion. Although she makes a lot of noise, her plan seems to be going as intended. Outside she continues putting all of the pieces of her puzzle in place. Once completed she discovers something out of the ordinary. Scared, she rushes to get back to the castle, but an axe wielding looney makes himself known by attacking and ultimately murdering the gold digger.

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Dining at the pond one of Louise’s tricks comes in to fruition and Lady Holoran believes it is a sign from her daughter. That night mother goes to where she thinks all the signs lead, only to be attacked by the same madman which sets him off on a furious rampage picking off the family one by one; but who is it?

After his uncredited horror directional debut, The Terror with Roger Corman, Francis Ford Coppola went on to conceive, write and direct this brilliant example of early horror with Corman as producer. Without any direct references Francis is clearly influenced by Alfred Hithcock, but has taken that influence to construct his own “who done it?” chiller in his own unique style. Creating this film on a shoestring budget of just $20,000, a rushed shooting schedule and Coopola only being 22 at the time, it’s no wonder he went on to be one of the most influential directors of all time.

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Right form the outset of this flick you get an enormous feeling of animosity and lack of trust between most of the characters which makes for an uneasy 75 minutes, but great viewing. Hooked in straightaway the tension built up nicely to the first kill, with subsequent attacks spaced out nicely making the film move at a perfect pace. Without feeling any connection or remorse for any of the characters, I couldn’t wait to see who got the axe next but was a little disappointed with the amount of deaths. There wasn’t a great deal of gore either, but I didn’t expect it to really.

A personal favourite scene in this film is where Louise is about to set up her pond prank. She breaks in to Kathleen’s room to take some toys some of which start so move (they are wind up, not possessed) and they are lit in a very menacing way which looks incredible, ensuring a sense of dread.

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Each individuals purpose and actions give the otherwise simple story a lot more depth which is a great example of how to tell a tale.

Right through to the end you have no idea who the killer actually is. The family is so dysfunctional and the other characters come across creepy and sometimes armed, they all have a motive to kill.

The t-shirt depicts our leading lady Louise, just about to meet her maker in full colour print, done in an amazing classic horror style with a great perspective angle including the creepy castle giving it more dimension. By now some of you will know one of my favourite things in movies and especially 50’s/60’s horror is the marketing gimmicks that come with them and the wording on this hilarious. It’s perfect!

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Gavin A Go Go’s Vault Of Horror: Frankenstein


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As it’s Friday the 13th we figure a new horror movie post is a good idea. Here we have the 4th post in our series of classic horror movie homage. Written by our buddy Gavin A Go Go. This is Frankenstein. Released in 1931.

Dr Henry Frankenstein is a man obsessed with the idea of bringing life to a monster that he created using body parts from the recently deceased. He obtains the parts by robbing graves and execution sites. Along with his helper Fritz (prick) he constructs the experiment in the basement of a disused windmill.

After Fritz fumbles the acquisition of a brain and gets the wrong one, he returns to the windmill where the organ is placed into the human jigsaw.

Under the watchful eyes of his concerned father; Elizabeth his fiancee and one Dr Waldman; Frankenstein triggers the experiment. After a short while they are amazed to see that it actually worked.

Whilst being kept in the cellar the monster seems obedient and understands simple direction. Suddenly the antagonistic Fritz charges in with a torch ablaze. Frustrated, the monster begins to lash out and attacks Dr Waldman. The others manage to restrict the monster and lock him away to relative safety.

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As the two doctors discuss what must be done Fritz decides to pay a visit to the detained and again begins to provoke and annoy the monster which dose not end well (for Fritz, I was glad). Frankenstein and Waldman finally agree that the monster must be destroyed.

Dr Waldman offers to terminate the monster himself but while doing so it escapes. After an unfortunate incident with a young girl the town’s people begin to form angry mobs and watched on by the females of the town the mobs set out to bring Frankenstein’s creation to justice.

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There is a reason why this film remains as popular as ever. It’s truly brilliant! The sets look so good and the acting is fantastic. I like Baron Frankenstein the most, but that is mainly down to his immense whistle tooth. Where the music usually sets the tone in most horrors, the noticeable lack of it particularly in the most pivotal scenes is really unnerving.

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This is a classic and definitive horror film that spawned many sequels and reworkings, even comedies such as Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein. Along with all of these story-of-Frankenstein based films came tonnes of merchandise in the form of T-Shirts, hoodies, bags, hats and all manner of apparel. This can be said from when it was made to the present day with no sign of it slowing up. Which brings me to this great looking Frankenstein T-Shirt from Plan 9 Clothing. Where on other Frankenstein Tee’s you would just get a single colour, this photo print really stands out and puts others in their place. This is a must for all fans and collectors alike. I can’t wait to get my hands on one!

frankenstein karloff_tshirtPost written by Gavin A Go Go

Gavin A Go Go’s Vault Of Horror: House On Haunted Hill


House_on_Haunted_HillThe 3rd post in our series of classic horror movie worship by our pal Gavin A Go Go. This is House On Haunted Hill. Released in 1959.

I thought as I mentioned William Castel in my review of The Screaming Skull that it would be fitting to do another of his films and what better than The House On Haunted Hill staring the brilliant Vincent Price.

Eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren (Price) invites five apparent strangers to a haunted house for a “ghost party” (not too sure what that is, but I really want to go to one) for his wife. Each of the guests have been informed they will receive ten thousand dollars in return for their attendance. They each arrive by funeral cars and at this point Loren narrates the reasons for them attending (they desperately need the money mainly). One of the guests, Watson Pritchard is also the owner of the house. He inherited it from his brother, who was murdered (along with several others) at said house. Watson had stayed in the house once before and claims that he only just survived, but doesn’t go into much detail of his ordeal.

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As soon as they arrive at the mansion, strange things start to happen. A door slams, a chandelier swings and falls, narrowly missing young Nora Manning. One of the guests who works for one of Loren’s company’s and needs the money as she is the sole earner for her family.

After the guests have calmed down with a drink, the host finally makes an appearance and goes into more detail about the evenings events. They soon learn that in order to claim their ten grand they are required to be locked in overnight with no chance of leaving until 8am the next day. Each have until midnight to make their decision. While all of this is going on Pritchard is telling everyone how unsafe the house is, the ghosts have been awoken and that everyone should leave immediately. It becomes apparent that the man likes his booze, so very little notice is taken.

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The strangers take a tour lead by Pritchard, as he is familiar with the house and it’s history. He shows the locations of where the murders took place and the grizzly stories behind them. The group is lead to the cellar where they are shown a trap door. The lid is lifted and a vat of acid is revealed. We are told that this is where one of the murders took place.
(The acid seems to dissolve only the flesh leaving the bones and we are given a demonstration of this by use of a dead rat ha ha ha)

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As Midnight approaches more and more strange things happen, particularly to Nora, who pretty much gets the brunt of it. Miss Manning is determined that she is going to leave, but before she has a chance…. its too late! The care takers have left and locked up 5 minutes early. There is no way out and with no electricity or phones, communication with the outside world is futile.

Once the party goers have come to terms with the situation, Loren thinks this would be a good time to hand out guns to everyone awesomely presented in tiny coffins. (I want one). This just raises tension and doesn’t bode well for the rest of the evening.

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This is how early black and white low budget horrors should be made. Great story, high camp factor and perfect cast. Right from the get-go you pretty much know what you are in for and it doesn’t stop. It’s a great story, very original at the time, totally engrossing and a lot of fun. It has some pretty good jump moments too. My personal favourite being the first time we are introduced to the female care taker (You’ll see).

1999 produced a re-make of this classic and although it was thrown in with the post Scream MTV horror overload such as the likes of Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer and 13 Ghosts (another Castle re-make), it wasn’t that bad.

I really wish I could have seen this at the pictures when it was first released. William Castle is well known for his great in theatre promotional gimmicks, such as under seat buzzers for The Tingler and had (fake) nurses in the lobby checking peoples blood pressure to make sure they were well enough to watch the features. For this one he used Emergo, where he installed an elaborate pulley system in the theatre which allowed a plastic skeleton to be flown over the audience at the right time. It would have been a blast. The film Matinee staring John Goodman is based on Castle’s career and well worth checking out too.

This House On Haunted Hill T-Shirt really nails the awesome camp factor from the film and some of the classic moments from the film, even the trap door of acid.

house-on-haunted-hill_tshirtPost written by Gavin A Go Go

Gavin A Go Go’s Vault Of Horror: Asylum


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The 2nd post in our series of classic horror movie worship by our pal Gavin A Go Go. This is Asylum. Released in 1972

Asylum (AKA House Of Crazies, which I prefer) is a British anthology horror film and one of many made by Amicus Productions. Others include Tales From The Crypt, The Vault Of Horror, From Beyond The Grave and The House that Dripped Blood. It was directed by Roy Wood Baker who is no stranger to horror having also directed Scars of Dracula & Quatermass And The Pit. Scripted by Robert Bloch who’s own short stories were adapted for the screenplay, he was also the writer of the novel Psycho which went on to become the film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

A young Dr Martin (I Know, right?)  has arrived at Dunsmoor Asylum to interview for a position. When he arrives he is expecting to be greeted by a Dr B. Starr, the head of the institution, but instead meets a wheelchair bound (he turned his back on a patient. Idiot) Dr Lionel Rutherford who’s now in charge.

Rutherford goes on to tell the doctor that all the patients at the institution are in fact “incurably insane” and that Dr Starr is now an inmate at the asylum having suffered a mental breakdown and that it was in fact Starr that left him incapacitated. The orderly who looks after the patients reports that Starr is now perfectly rational now but has developed a new personality. (Being disabled he can not check on them himself as the patients reside on the first floor)

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Dr Martin says that this can happen from time to time, when people want to escape their current situation and cockily claims to be able to identify such a case. Rutherford calls his bluff and sets the confident doctor a test. There are several other patients with a similar condition and if Dr Martin can pick out which one is Dr Starr, then he will be “considered” for the vacancy.

Martin ascends the stairs and takes in the “art” which so happens to be drawings of past inmates of the institution acting erratically (bit inappropriate). The stairs lead to a locked door. The door is opened by Max Reynolds who welcomes Martin in to a corridor which has Max’s office and two rooms on either side, each of which is a patients confined space where, while being interviewed the residents will tell the story of how they came to be, each in turn.

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First up is Bonnie (at this point I would like to point out that all the patients names begin with B so as not to give Dr Martin any clues as to who Dr B. Starr is). She tells us her tale of how she and her lover, Walter plotted to kill his wealthy, possessive wife Ruth who studies voodoo, although she claims it’s not voodoo. She returns from one of her sessions with a new bracelet charmed with teeth which apparently will protect her from evil. This just fuels Walters fire as he believes its mumbo jumbo. Walter tells Ruth he has gotten her a gift and leads his wife to the basement. While she admires her brand new freezer (Great gift mate) he give’s her the real present, which leads to terrible repercussions.

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The Weird Tailor
The next story comes from Bruno. Bruno was a tailor and recites how poverty lead him to take a tailoring job from a one Mr Smith. After learning that the suit is to be a surprise gift for his son, Smith produces the measurements and material that the suit is to be made of and strict instructions of at what times the suit can be made. These must be “to the letter” as the customer is a keen astrology enthusiast. Bruno says that it will be a lot of work, but Smith will pay him handsomely, so Bruno accepts.

Upon completion of the suit, Bruno delivers it to Smiths home where he learns that he will not be paid until his son tries on the suit as Smith has sold everything he owns to buy a book. Trying to prove his customer wrong, Bruno goes on a hunt, but what he finds is what the suit is really made for, which ends in tragic consequences.

Lucy Comes To Stay.
An agitated Barbara quickly informs us she has a history with the medical profession, she has been incarcerated before. Her yarn starts off with her initial release where she is driven to her home by her brother George. Upon their arrival they are greeted by Miss Higgins a nurse who will be caring for her. This confuses Barbara as she claims she isn’t sick and every order given is met with denial of her condition, but ultimately she complies.

Barbara is told to go to bed and rest which after some fuss she does. Once Miss Higgins is satisfied with her patient, she leaves her to rest and almost immediately receives a telephone call telling her that her elderly mother has been taken to hospital and her attendance is required. George offers to drive Miss Higgins to the train station, leaving Barbara alone, well at least she think she is until her impish and manipulative friend Lucy decides to pay a visit and brings a world of trouble with her.

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For his final interview Dr Martin meets with a Dr Byron. It is clear from the outset that he has a keen dislike for Dr Rutherford. We learn that he is working on an unusual project where he believes that he can willfully transfer souls into tiny robots with lifelike heads. The one he is currently working on bares a strong resemblance to himself. He goes on to explain that the insides of the toys are organic and a small version of his own viscera. Furious, Dr Martin delivers his verdict that the conditions in which the practice is being run are intolerable, particularly as no help is being offered to rid them of these “fantasies”. He is quickly reminded that Rutherford considers them “incurable” and that Byron is helplessly insane…. or is he…….

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I could go on about this flick for a long time, but I feel it would spoil it for those of you who are yet to see it. Having watched films like Creepshow at a really young age I became a huge fan of the anthology sub-genre and really happy to add this to my list as I had never seen it before. (the t-shirt inspired me to watch it). Asylum is not particularly gruesome (unfortunately) but, it is still good fun and reminds me of a The League Of Gentlemen Christmas special. The cast has some familiar faces of horror including the legend that is Peter Cushing and Britt Ekland (Wickerman) as well as a very young Robert Powell. There are so many great bits such as the body parts, climbing toys and Britt Ekland’s accent that it’s hard to pick a favourite storyline. The Asylum T-Shirt design has great depictions of each, but if I had to choose I would say Frozen Fear.Overall this is an enjoyable film and really well thought out, with a great linking story. Highly recommended.

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Post written by Gavin A Go Go

Gavin A Go Go’s Vault Of Horror : The Screaming Skull


Poster_for_The_Screaming_Skull filmWelcome to the 1st post in what will become a regular series. Our good friend Gavin A Go Go is a serious fanatic about all things horror so it seemed like a good idea to get him to put his ghoulish knowledge to good use and share some of his thoughts on a wide range of horror classics.

ANY film that opens with a disclaimer offering to pay for funerals if the viewer dies as a result of the films frightening climax, while onscreen a coffin lid opens and inside lays a card reading “Reserved For You”; I’m sold. A classic fright gimmick, such as those of William Castle and I can’t wait for the film to get going.

And this one didn’t fail! A traditional tale of a newly married couple who move in to a house where the husband used to live with his previous and now dead wife (Mysterious accident), then bad things start to happen. Text book.

the screaming skullJenni (the current wife) who has a history of mental illness (both her parents tragically died) starts to have visions of skulls. Obviously everyone thinks she is going crackers again and that the gardener, who was obsessed with the late wife that is also apparently a spitting image of Jenni’s mother is playing tricks on Jenni, or is he? Oooooooh.
the screaming skull skeletonWhen this film came out it was panned by critics and some of it’s creators. I loved it. As I said its a classic tale which still gets used, like in Candyman. Ok so the overall film is very different, but it still has the same backbone story. I also believe it was the blueprint of more recent blockbusters such as Insidious and The Conjuring, both of which I disliked, but I thought this was great. Yeah the special effects are pretty shoddy (see the skull on the stairs haha), but it was the 50’s and personally I wouldn’t have it any other way.
the screaming skull movieAs the film was made in 1958 there is not much in the way of Merch (trust me I have looked) but what is available is this brilliant classic movie image Screaming Skull T-Shirt which inspired me to watch this flick and also features the promise of a free burial if you die of fright during THE SCREAMING SKULL!!!
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Post written by Gavin A Go Go

Star Trekkin’ Across The Albert Hall


Star-Trek-Into-DarknessAs Star Trek fans we’ll be getting our tickets for this event: https://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/star-trek-into-darkness/default.aspxHave you bought yours? We will of course be showing up looking the part. The only difficult part will be deciding on the uniform for the night. Click here now to choose yours from our huge range of Star Trek T-Shirts and Merchandise.

The Royal Albert Hall will host the UK premiere of Star Trek Into Darkness – Live in Concert, celebrating the extraordinary collaboration between J.J. Abrams‘ 2013 blockbuster hit and its soundtrack.

Following on from Star Trek – Live in Concert at the Hall the day before, Star Trek Into Darkness will also see Michael Giacchino‘s score brought to life on stage by the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Ludwig Wicki, whilst J. J. Abrams’ critically acclaimed film is shown simultaneously in high definition on the big screen.

 

New Dead Kennedys Merch!


Great news! We’re happy to say that we’ve now widened our range of Dead Kennedys merchandise!

If you’re even only slightly aware of punk, Dead Kennedys is a name that should ring a bell with you. One of the prime bands of the early-1980’s hardcore punk movement in America – along with Bad Brains, Black Flag and Minor Threat – Dead Kennedys were a band that pushed punk further with speed and aggression. Unlike their contemporaries, they were far more political than social thanks to Jello Biafra’s lyrics; which were often playful and drenched with satire while criticising right-wingers and totalitarian governments, written in the point of view of those people more often than not. Check out songs like Police Truck and California Uber Alles and you’ll get the idea.

Unsurprisingly, this meant that the band stepped on a few toes during its existence, Jello often feeling the brunt of the backlash. Their 1985 album “Frankenchrist”, the band faced charges due to their use of H.R. Geiger’s ‘Work 219: Landscape XX’, for ‘distribution of harmful matter to minors’. For a while, Biafra ended up on several heated talk shows defending the band’s actions and creativity to angry audiences, unveiling in several of the police brutality he experienced during a raid of his home.

After all the trouble and controversy of that particular time, Dead Kennedys decided to call it a day in 1986 after releasing the suitably named “Bedtime For Democracy”.

While the band has reunited – guitarist East Bay Ray being the only original member now – they haven’t released anything new and seem to have lost their shine when communication with Biafra soured after the break-up. Granted this is a shame, but Jello has experienced continuing success with his own band Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine (often playing Dead Kennedys songs live), his spoken word albums and collaborations with the likes of Melvins and D.O.A.

Nevertheless, Dead Kennedys left a big impression in punk, rock and metal; influencing a whole generation of teens and a myriad of bands, most notably Slayer, as the late Jeff Hanneman was a huge fan.

You can check out our updated Dead Kennedys merch, and visit the official Dead Kennedys website.

Related merch:
Bad Brains
Misfits
Bad Religion