Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Horror”

My Favorite Horror Movies

new-nightmareWith Halloween upon us, I want to share with you my favorite horror movies. There are many horror films I love, but these are the cream of the crop. Happy Halloween!

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Music Review – A Nightmare On Elm Street 8-CD Box Set

nightmare_layout_2048x2048With it being Halloween, I figured now was the perfect time to review the recently release CD box set celebrating the original Nightmare on Elm Street films. This deluxe collection contains nearly three hours of bonus tracks and is beautifully packaged. However, it’s limited to only 2,000 copies. If you’re curious about whether or not you should pick one up before they’re gone, watch my video review below:

Monster-Mania 30: A Nightmare Worth Living

Meeting Tobin Bell at Monster-Mania 30.

Meeting Tobin Bell at Monster-Mania 30.

Last Saturday I attended Monster-Mania. This biannual event features notable actors and actresses from the horror, action, comedy, and science fiction genres, as well as professional wrestlers. For the thousands that attend, this is an opportunity to meet their idols, get autographs, participate in photo-ops, watch Q&A panels, browse through aisles of cool merchandise, and enjoy hours upon hours of movies.

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Blu-ray Sale: A Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

A Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-rayThis week only, Amazon.com has the A Nightmare on Elm Street Collection Blu-ray box set on sale for $25.99 – that’s nearly 60% off the full retail price. For horror fans that don’t own all the Freddy films in high-definition, this is an excellent deal you should check out. You can buy it here: http://tinyurl.com/myhytuw.

Review – Evil Dead: The Musical

Evil Dead: The Musical is at The Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia from September 25-October 20, 2013.

Evil Dead: The Musical is at The Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia from September 25-October 20.

Evil Dead: The Musical, a show that made its debut in Toronto in 2003 and has had many successful productions around the world since, has just come to Philadelphia. It will be at The Prince Music Theater from September 25-October 20, 2013, so be sure to get your tickets now. I had the pleasure of seeing the musical last night, and I can confidently say that whether you’re a fan of the film franchise or someone who loves fun musicals infused with irreverent humor, Evil Dead: The Musical delivers.

When I approached the box office to get my ticket, I was asked if I’d like to sit in the “splatter zone.” After asking what she meant, the woman behind the glass partition explained that at the end of the show the first few rows get “blood” on them. While the fake blood washes out pretty easily, I decided to sit a few rows back. I must admit, at the end of the show, watching people get squirted, misted and splattered with blood was very amusing; a handful of them wore ponchos, while the others took it in stride.

Evil Dead The MusicalWhile waiting for the show to begin, I was treated to mix of classic 1980’s rock music – which I love – including, KISS, The Scorpions and Twisted Sister, among others. It was a great way to set the mood for a fun show based on a horror franchise born out of the same era. And the music was reflective of the jovial mood in the room. The fans were eagerly awaiting the dimming of the lights and the rising curtain.

The musical kicked off with a fun, infectious song, “Cabin in the Woods,” that did a great job of setting the tone for the show. It also provided the shows’ five central stars with the perfect opportunity to showcase their chemistry with one another and vocal prowess.

The next musical number, “Housewares Employee,” was easily my favorite. Ryan Ward, who plays the lead character, Ash, stole the show and this song illustrates why he was the perfect person for the role. He’s funny, has an impressive voice and can convincingly sing wonderfully absurd power ballads. What’s not to love?

Another fun song that stuck with me was “What The Fuck Was That.” After a character becomes possessed by the Evil Dead, Ash and Scott sing and, eventually, tango to this number. It made for a fun and humorous break in the action.

Other than Ash, my favorite character was Jake. This role was masterfully assumed by Daniel Williston, who did a terrific job both with his lines and body language. At one point, his ear piece came out, in the middle of a dance number, but he quickly tucked it into his pocket and kept dancing, undeterred. In addition to being light on his feet, Williston turned in an impressive vocal with “Good Old Reliable Jake” that conjured up visions of Meat Loaf. This song, along with the others I mentioned, make listening to the full album worth your while.

In case it’s not already abundantly clear, Evil Dead: The Musical is a lot of fun. If you live in Philadelphia and you’re looking for something unique and exciting to do, make sure to see the show. It’s a great tribute to the films that inspired it, as well as an impressive musical production.

Movie Review – Evil Dead

Evil DeadEvil Dead is the most shocking, violent and bloody horror film I’ve ever seen. This 2013 reboot of the classic film franchise was produced by the original team behind the 1981 cult classic. I can’t compare Evil Dead to its predecessors because I don’t recall seeing any of them from start to finish, which is shocking since I’m an ardent fan of horror movies. Nonetheless, I can tell you with great confidence that this movie is only meant to be seen by those who don’t mind a lot of gore. If you have a weak stomach, steer clear of this one. However, if you’re game, what you’ll find here is a gritty horror film with excellent acting, terrific cinematography and a compelling narrative. I also enjoyed Evil Dead’s score. Whether it was a tender moment or an adrenaline-infused showdown, the music elevated the visuals and amplified the emotion in every scene. For horror fans with a strong stomach, I can’t recommend Evil Dead enough. It’s one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen, and also one of the most satisfying.

Revisiting Alan Wake

Alan WakeAlan Wake took more than five years to develop but the end result is one of the greatest video games of all time. The game’s story follows bestselling thriller novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance during their vacation in the fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington. While searching for his wife, Alice, he experiences events from the plot in his latest novel, which he can’t remember writing.

This compelling narrative is told through a series of eight episodes, two of which – “The Signal” and “The Writer” – are additional downloadable content. All eight episodes kept my rapt attention from start to finish, and when facing the game’s frightening enemies, known as “The Taken,” I was stricken with chills.

Alan Wake’s character development is exceptional. As the game progressed I found myself more attached to the main characters and emotionally invested in their well being. Another “character” worth noting is the town of Bright Falls. This fictional locale came to life in a way no setting has before in a video game since the original Silent Hill. The transformation of the town from light to dark was impressive, and its foreboding presence was amplified by the fact that I was in control of Alan Wake.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Alan Wake’s score by Petri Alanko is simply gorgeous. It’s one of the most beautifully haunting pieces of orchestral music I’ve ever heard. It perfectly embodies the game’s mystical nature and Alan Wake’s dreamlike state. Even if you don’t play the game, you should give the score a listen.

While books, movies and television shows are wonderful mediums for telling stories, video games can be superior. Not only do they combine the best elements of the aforementioned art forms, but they put the person inside the story and make him or her play a key role in how it unfolds and, sometimes, how it ends. Having that level of agency within a game as spectacular as Alan Wake can only yield one result: complete satisfaction.

Below are three videos. The first is the game’s trailer, and the last two are about the making of Alan Wake.

 

 

 

Book Excerpt: Dead End

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When it comes to pieces I’ve written, so far, I’ve only posted poetry to my blog. Below is the prologue to an upcoming thriller/horror book I’m writing; I call it Dead End. Enjoy!

Dead End

Tom stepped into the night, not knowing what to expect…yet a feeling of foreboding hung in the nighttime mist.

The streets were desolate and it started to drizzle. Tom’s face was flecked with small beads of water, and it felt good on his warm skin.

Seemingly out of nowhere he heard footsteps from behind, so Tom peered over his shoulder. The ominous man wore a trench coat, which hung loosely from his tall, thin frame. In his right hand his fingers were clasped around a walking stick. It was hard to see, but it appeared to have a metallic wolf’s head on top of it.

Tom didn’t know the man, but, for some reason, he instantly feared him and quickened his pace. As he did so, he heard the man’s footsteps increase in rapidity. As Tom passed shuttered businesses and abandoned houses, all he could hear was the rhythmic pounding of the man’s footsteps and walking stick.

Then, he heard nothing. Tom turned around and no one was there. He breathed a sigh of relief and stepped under a tattered awning to call for a cab from his cell phone.

A thunderclap let out and the skies opened up. In a matter of minutes Tom was drenched from head to toe in a deluge of water. His grip on the phone slipped and it hit the sidewalk with a wet, hard smack. To his dismay, it was cracked and beyond repair.

After covering so much ground, he was determined to walk home and save the money that would have been spent on the cab. Lord knows he’d now need it to replace his phone.

As he crossed the intersection and approached a side street, cold, wet hands gripped his neck and threw him to the pavement. Tom shook his head, looked up and found himself face to face with the dark figure from earlier. But this time he was in an alley with a dead end.

Tom could barely see the man through the sheets of rain. What he did see was the man’s walking stick cutting through the darkness, and what he heard – and felt – was it connecting with his skull. Tom tried to fight back, but the man kicked him in the gut and viciously brought the stick down hard on Tom’s head one last time, breaking the cane in two. Cloaked in darkness and covered in blood, he died in that alley. And all he could see before breathing his last breath was the blood-soaked wolf’s head of the walking stick, gleaming in the moonlight.

Monster-Mania: A Horror Fan’s Dream

Me being attacked by Freddy & Jason.

For nearly 10 years, Dave Hagan has been hosting a semi-annual horror film and memorabilia convention in Cherry Hill, NJ and Hunt Valley, MD. It’s called Monster-Mania, and yesterday was my first time attending. I met Doug Bradley, Nancy Allen, Claire Higgins, and Craig Sheffer, among others. I even ran into Freddy and Jason. In addition to meeting horror icons and getting autographs, I got to enjoy horror films I’d never seen before: Dressed to Kill, Night of the Living Dead and Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut. Needless to say, I had a blast and plan on attending future shows. Below are additional photos from my fabulous time at this stellar convention.

Me and the lovely Nancy Allen, whose starred in such films as Robocop, Dressed to Kill, Carrie, and Blow Out.

Meeting my favorite star from Hellraiser, Claire Higgins (Julia). She’s a tremendous actress and has a delightful personality too.

Meeting the incomparable Doug Bradley, best known for his role as Pinhead in the Hellraiser franchise.

Hanging out with Craig Sheffer following a screening of Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut.

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