Saturday, March 6, 2010

CHURCH OF HELL (Berserker Comics, 2009)

Written by Alan Grant / Pen & Ink by Glenn Fabry

Every time I walk into a comic store these days, I start flipping through the bins, and then ask where I can find old horror comics, EC re-prints, or something similar to scratch my itch. Stores rarely carry any of it, so I ask them for suggestions. The employees almost always point me in the direction of The Walking Dead (Image Comics, 2004) or some other zombie apocalypse/vampire storyline, neither of which tickle my fancy. But today, I stumbled upon Church of Hell, and remembered what it felt like to read a REAL horror comic! This inspired me to write again, so let's get into it shall we?


With horror comics (and actually all comics in general), cover art is EVERYTHING. If the cover doesn't catch your eye, chances are it might not make it into your hands. Today I went looking for Creepy #3 (Dark Horse, 2010), which didn't hit the shelves yet. Instead I came across Church of Hell, in the "C" section of independent comics. The cover by Clint Langley & Rich Buckler blew me away: a bald, evil man with dark crimson eyes & jagged blood-stained teeth, centered within a circular back-drop of demons, soldiers of Satan engulfed in plenty of flames; with excellent use of reds & blacks throughout. It only took a quick skim through the pages for me to cough up $3.99 -- the artwork is amazing, with a heavy focus on realism and great use of colors & shadows that suck the reader in after only 3 pages. Cartoon-style simply would not work here.


Church of Hell
is very unique, unlike any horror comic I've seen, with each story told in "arc" format with between 4-6 parts. I hadn't read #1 or #2 so I picked up in the middle of the story. But the good news is that Berserker Comics (the masterminds behind Church) is offering a FREE PDF of issue #1 right here!

Back to Issue #3: it begins with our main character, Dominic Raggar, strolling through what appears to be a Church in the depths of Hell and conversing with a Priest, who sends him back to the "real world." Trouble & terror follow Dominic's every move: he is haunted by visions of demons and experiences hallucinations while attending the burial of his best friend David (who we find out Dom himself killed!). After disturbing David's grave, Dom escapes from the police on a motorcycle, collides head on with an 18-wheeler, smashes into a woman crossing the street with her baby in a stroller, and ignites the police car that was in hot pursuit. Abaddon, Hell's Dark Angel, descends onto the scene and Dominic walks away with nothing but a few scratches . . . he is a vehicle for the Devil, and cannot be harmed.


Grant touches on the concepts of sin, redemption, and the complexity of unique situations that individuals face on a daily basis. The battle between good & evil is ever-present, with evil of course taking center stage. Grant builds on the "snowball effect" of sin, showing how little white lies can accumulate into much larger, more significant evils. Our villains (in this case, the demons) are crafted with such detail and care; they literally come to life in the comic.

I highly recommend Church of Hell to any fan of horror movies or comic books - the storyline is truly one of a kind; the artwork is out of this world & violent in all the right ways . It's great to see people breaking away from the confines of the recent "zombie trend" and taking a different path to horror -- a Satanic, psychological journey through the depths of Hell . . .


Pick up your copy of Church of Hell at your local comic shop or visit Berserker online at:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Well it's been a few months since I wrote in this blog. To be honest, I've been super busy working on my other project The Cat is Dead, Put Her Out For Garbage and all the hard work has finally paid off. I was recently contacted by an agent who is going to help me turn this concept into a coffee table book (which has always been the goal). But anyway that's not why you're here . . . you want horror!

I've been watching lots of great movies since Halloween when I last wrote, but something else grabbed my attention last week and inspired me to write a new entry here at The Big Toe . . . this weekend I picked up a copy of Lunchmeat #4, a home-made zine that dives deep into the lost world of VHS cinema and all the horrors that came along with it. Truly an amazing publication with great reviews on some really obscure films. The design has a pulp feel, and the glossy heavyweight cover lets you know you're holidng something special! And best of all, the writers know their subject . . . I've seen alot of horror movies in my day, but these guys manage to find some real gems! Published out of PA by editors Josh Schafer and Ted Gilbert, Lunchmeat takes me back to my old days on the Long Island Hardcore scene, when self-published black & white zines floated around at shows, containing reviews of 7" records from bands on the local hardcore scene, grainy graffiti photos from Long Island, and interviews typed on a type-writer, accompanied by cut & paste images from comics and magazines. Simply put, reading Lunchmeat is a nostalgic experience, and I cannot put the thing down!

Thinking even further back, I remember when I was a little kid in the early 80's and my Mom would take me food shopping. At first I didn't like to go - it was boring and I would have rather been home watching cartoons. But as soon as I discovered the VHS movie aisle and the horror section, I suddenly couldn't wait to go! This was back in the day when Pathmark in my neighborhood used to rent out movies, long before Blockbuster & Netflix even existed (and long before DVD and Blu Ray). While my Mom was stocking up on food, I would pace up and down the movie aisle, absorbing the cover art on "big box" VHS titles, reading the plot summaries on the backs of the tapes, and memorizing the titles. I'll never forget the cover art for movies like Chopping Mall (body parts in a shopping bag being held by a robotic arm), Funhouse (killer clown holding a knife), Critters (little furry creature smiling back at me saying "rent me!"), C.H.U.D. (something coming out of a manhole . . .), Ghoulies (who could forget the ugly bald green guy coming out of the toilet?!), and so many more classics . . .

As a kid I remember telling my Mom how excited I was to one day "finally be old enough to rent them." My Mom laughed it off, but little did she know these VHS boxes were molding me into the horror-obsessed genre fanatic that I am today. Over 20 years later, I find myself cruising around Ebay trying to find those memorable VHS movies, and one peek at the box takes me right back to the movie aisle at Pathmark! So for someone like me, Lunchmeat is like a Bible. I sent in my check for $20 (for a 1-year subscription) and even wrote to the editors to pat them on the back for creating such an awesome piece of literature. I strongly suggest you hurry over to your local comic shop - the issues are super limited and #1 and #2 are already out of print . . .

Visit Lunchmeat online over at:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Movie Review #48: Trick R Treat


About 2 years ago I started hearing buzz about a little movie called Trick 'R Treat that was shelved with no definitive release date; rumors soon flew around the horror community when the film was pushed back in 2007. For the next 2 years the carrot dangled in front of us with trailers and sneak peeks at the main character Sam, who appeared to be a little trick-or-treater wearing a burlap pumpkin sack over his head. I caught a few minutes of the film at this year's Fangoria Weekend of Horrors and checked the internet every day following, hoping for word on a release date. Warner Bros & Legendary Pictures heard the call and finally released the film straight to DVD on October 6, 2009, just in time for Halloween, and horror fans across the country got their wish . . .

Let's start by saying that there has not been a horror movie made to truly capture the creepy feeling of Halloween since, well, John Carpenter's Halloween (1978). And even that film took place on this special day but hardly focused on the nature of the holiday itself. There is a certain connection to October 31 that we all share - the crisp breeze in the air, the leaves that begin to change color and fall from the trees, people's homes transformed into houses of horror, neighborhood kids dressed as ghouls, and of course, enough candy to send our family dentist to the Bahamas for a month-long vacation. For horror fanatics like myself, Halloween is more important than Christmas and we needed a film that encompassed all the elements of this time of year . . . in that respect Trick 'R Treat certainly delivers on all fronts.

Growing up I would ride my skateboard to the local comic shop to grab the latest EC reprint of Tales From The Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and the Haunt of Fear, which originally hit the stands in the 1950's. The presentation of these stories fascinated me, with creepy hosts like the Old Witch cackling one-liners and telling tales of murder & terror in friendly comic format. When HBO launched Tales From The Crypt as a TV Series in 1989, I abandoned my Nintendo and sat religiously in front of the tube for my weekly dose of horror. The voice of John Kassir as the Crypt Keeper and the brilliant intro music of Danny Elfman is forever stained in my brain. Trick 'R Treat plays out like an old Tales From The Crypt comic and is actually an anthology of four Halloween-related scary stories. We're even treated to some comic artwork in the film, and a comic book based on the film will be released this month, along with a slew of awesome movie merchandise. The marketing campaign behind this film is incredible. It is obvious that director Michael Dougherty was heavily influenced by these aforementioned EC classics and pays homage to them in his film, which is sure to please any life-long genre fan yearning for that "old school" horror feel that has been lost in a vicious cycle of big-budget Hollywood remakes and watered-down teeny bopper terror that emerged in the late 90's.

Back to Sam: Trick 'R Treat uses Sam as the bridge between the four intertwined stories, and his sole purpose in the film is to remind the characters the importance of honoring Halloween tradition. I don't want to spoil the film for anyone reading this, but the un-masking of Sam is probably one of the cutest yet most terrifying moments of the film. The stories within the story (The Principal, Surprise Party, The Halloween School Bus Massacre Revisited, and Meet Sam) are gory, campy, humorous, and fun. You have to watch the film more than once to catch all the tie-ins and plot overlaps - it is the kind of film that gets better every time you see it. The obvious strength of the movie is the setting and the plot / character development - the audience feels like they are trick or treating right there in the neighborhood. Capturing the feeling you get as Halloween nears could not have been an easy task, but Dougherty and his crew succeeded with flying orange and black colors.

If Halloween had an anthem, Trick 'R Treat would be the band that played it. The film was a cult classic before it even hit the shelves at Blockbuster, which is quite an achievement for any film in any genre. Horror fans are obsessive and dedicated, and I'm certain they will find satisfaction in this "little film that could." I hate to use the phrase "there's something for everyone" but in Trick 'R Treat this definitely rings true. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Halloween than watching this movie with a bowl of popcorn and a garbage bag full of candy . . . just make sure you check that Snickers bar for a razor blade first . . .

The Halloween School Bus Massacre Revisited

Sam the doll - not quite a Cabbage Patch Kid . . .

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Movie Review #47: Grace


There are very few horror films that accurately capture the love between a mother and her newborn child, let alone focus on that unconditional love as the main source of tension and terror. The role of women in our beloved genre is typically reserved for drawn out chase scenes between her & a killer, or making her the first of the body count after an onslaught of gratuitous nudity and teenage sex. As humans, we are predisposed to sympathize with a woman as the lead role in a film, and making the newborn baby the villain is something no director in Hollywood seems to want to touch. Films like Rosemary's Baby (1968), It's Alive (1974), and to some extent, Basket Case (1982) have toyed with the notion of the infant as the source of evil, but no such film has accomplished the sheer horror evoked by Paul Solet's debut film, Grace.

I sat down to watch the film with extremely high expectations, having heard the buzz from Sundance about two grown men fainting during the screening and being a huge fan of Adam Green (Hatchet, 2006), who produced the film under the umbrella of ArieScope pictures. I had also heard the stories about Paul Solet, who hit the streets and horror conventions to promote his film carrying a dead bloody baby on his chest. I have a great deal of respect for such a grassroots marketing strategy, coming from a music scene on Long Island where we promoted hardcore shows to round up a gang of kids into a VFW Hall somewhere out East where they could bash each other to shreds while listening to brutal anti-establishment music, and knowing this was Solet's approach just made me want to see the film even more. Not to mention the promo poster (above) which left a lot to our sick & twisted imaginations. I knew this would be a film unlike anything I have seen, but to say I was blown away would be an understatement . . .

Our main character, Madeline, played by Jordan Ladd, finally becomes pregnant after several unsuccessful attempts and although the baby dies toward the end of the 9 month period, she decides to carry the baby to term. This is actually a real scientific possibility and the premise on which Solet wrote the script. Her husband dies in a car crash and after a horrible birth scene that takes place in the home of a mid-wife, Madeline brings her dead child Grace into the world, giving her life by feeding her blood. The baby's appetite becomes insatiable and Madeline soon finds herself draining blood from animal meat for nutrition, eventually crossing the ultimate line and killing a doctor who pays her a house call, so she can fill Grace's bottle with fresh blood.

Early in the film, Madeline discovers the need to drain herself to satisfy Grace, and the feedings become increasingly violent. She becomes a shut-in, alienating herself from friends and family and fully dedicating herself to the care of the child. The presence of flies in Grace's bedroom hint at the "undead" nature of the baby and raise suspicion throughout the entire film. Madeline's over-bearing mother-in-law Vivian (played by Gabrielle Rose), whose mission is to repossess Grace for herself, creates further stress on the audience while offering a glimpse into the varying degrees of a mother's love for child, a theme that is constantly emphasized in Solet's script. The raw emotion on screen is very real, and the cast of characters are spot-on.

Most of the film takes place inside Madeline's home, with a similar feeling to one of my personal favorites, the French film Inside (2006), in which a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby. In Grace, Vivian is the threat, and Madline must do whatever it takes to protect her child. Solet offers more than just insight into a mother's undying love for her baby, something no man (or woman without children) can understand -- he asks the question "what happens when a woman goes past that point of love and into madness?" The result is a film so far from reality but yet somehow still very real. Quite a feat indeed . . .

There is no need for a masked killer here. The real terror lies in the viewer's uncertainty about Grace, the obsession of Madeline to keep her seeimgly innocent child alive, the persistence of Vivian to destroy Madeline, and of course the straight up disgusting concept of a baby who lives off human blood. Solet succeeds in making two very basic & essential pieces of human nature, childbirth and motherhood, downright terrifying. This is the strength of Grace, and what makes it, in my opinion, one of the best horror films of the last decade if not one of the best ever made.

Check out Grace over at:

Momma's gonna buy you a mockingbird. If that mockingbird don't sing, Momma's gonna kill someone and feed you their blood . . .

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Movie Review #46: Friday the 13th - Part III (1982)

Directed by Steve Miner

The recent re-make of Friday the 13th this year made me want to watch all the Friday films over again in order. It has been years since I saw them, and tonight I popped in Part 3. Most horror fans will agree that the first 4 films are the only ones worth watching, and I couldn't agree more. The first 2 films are horror classics, and few realize that it wasn't until Part 3 that Jason puts on his infamous hockey mask. So I decided to start with this film for the purposes of this blog . . .

Part 3 starts off with a re-cap of the second film, which left off inside Jason's shack in the woods, home to his candlelit shrine with the decapitated head of his mother Mrs. Voorhees. Cut to a country store, where we hear a TV news station report on the Crystal Lake murders. The film starts off slow, with an old couple who become Jason's first victims during 15 minutes of useless footage -- an anti-climactic body count of 2 before the intro credits even roll. The film finally kicks off with a group of teens preparing for a camping trip (big surprise!). The couple who wants to have lots of sex in the woods, the annoying roommate, and two stoners -- the usual recipe for disaster. And in typical horror genre fashion, the group has an encounter with a crazy old bum carrying a human eyeball, who warns the kids that they are in danger. How come no one ever listens to the crazy old bum holding a body part? I guess then we wouldn't have a horror movie, would we?

Anyway, one of the main characters, Shelly (played by Larry Zerner), is a prankster who has a run-in with a local motorcycle gang in front of the general store, knocking over their bikes. The gang follows Shelly back to the lake house seeking revenge, and soon meet face to face with Jason (or should i say face to bag face - Jason is still sporting the potato sack and hasn't put on his mask yet) in broad daylight. Three of them are killed in the barn -- one gets a pitchfork to the face and is hung up by the neck; the other gets a pitchfork to the chest, and the third gets a few whacks to the face with a meat cleaver. The "bad guys" don't last very long in this film . . .

After cleaning up the bad apples, Jason moves on to our main characters. Surprisingly, the couple having sex aren't the first to go. One of the girls is found sitting on the dock dipping her feet in the lake, and Shelly emerges from the water in a hockey mask holding a spear gun. Jason soon acquires the mask and spear gun, which he uses to murder her in one of the best kill scenes of the film, firing the spear from a distance right through her skull. However, we never actually see him take the mask -- one minute he just emerges from the shadows wearing it. It's strange that there is no emphasis on Jason putting on the mask, which has since become a historic symbol of horror that everyone recognizes, and it should have been a crucial moment in the film.

One by one Jason takes out our main characters, leaving behind one girl, Chris (played by Dana Kimmell) to fight him off in the end. She gets a few good stabs at Jason, and his painful grunts are rather comical. And what do you do when you're trying to get away from Jason in a van and he reaches into the driver side window? You roll up the window of course! That oughtta stop him! The interaction between Jason and Chris during the final moments of the film are your standard horror movie chase scenes, poorly acted, drawn out too long, and adhere to the same format as the first 2 films (and pretty much every other horror film to follow). Remember kids, the killer is never really dead in the end, no matter what you do to him, even if you leave him hanging by the neck from the barn. But Part 3 is a good watch, and a critical part of the series where Jason gets his mask, a must-see for all horror fans. Also keep an eye out for the brief moment when Jason lifts his mask to reveal his mutated face, something that was left to the imagination at the end of Part 2 when Ginny pulled back the potato sack.

Important to note here is the use of 3-D technology which, at the time, was still very new (Part 3 was made in 1982).
However, it still must have been a treat for movie-goers during those days. The director is obviously testing the new concept in this film, wasting it on useless shots like a baseball bat coming off the screen but making good use of it when Jason fires the spear gun right at the audience. And again in one of my favorite scenes when Jason squeezes Rick's head until his eyeball pops out in all its 3-D glory. Hollywood has come a long way with the use of 3-D, and judging by the 60+ films being released in 3-D this year, the gimmick is back in full force.

PS. what's up with the funk soundtrack that Harry Manfredini wrote for this film? It sounds like Goblin making a porno . . .

Check out Friday the 13th Part III on IMDB over at:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Movie Review #45: The Last House on the Left (2009)

Directed by Dennis Iliades / Produced by Wes Craven

The Big Toe Blog presents: the original vs. the remake

When I first saw the magazine ad in Fangoria for The Last House on the Left, I thought to myself "here we go again -- another remake of a genre classic that people will probably hate." Truth is, I never really liked the 1971 original in the first place. I popped it into my DVD player about 10 years ago with high hopes, as a Wes Craven fan well-aware of all the hype surrounding it.
I found myself wishing I was watching I Spit On Your Grave (1978) instead, one of the better rape & revenge films out there, that followed the Last House formula but carried out the same concept with flying blood-red colors. I found the soundtrack to the original to be distracting (i.e. during the rape scenes there is a ballad playing?!) and at times very out of place. Known for its stark contrast to the picture's action, the music is the main source of weakness in the film. Unfortunately, I easily dismissed the original Last House film, feeling rather indifferent towards it, so the unveiling of a remake was actually quite appealing to me because I always felt the story had great potential . . .

In a nutshell, the remake is exactly what the original
could have been, with a bigger budget of course, and had it been created after 30 years of learnings in the genre. At one point, Wes Craven himself (who also produced the remake) mentions in the special features that the remake is what the original film should have been. Rumor has it that the 1971 script was written to be a hardcore, violent horror film, but was scaled back when it went into production. First off, the 2009 version is MUCH gorier and makes full use of modern special effects make-up (obviously) -- after all, it seems you can't sell a movie these days without these 2 things. The power of the film is in the way the viewer actually feels the pain on screen, something that was so obviously missing from the original. The 1971 actors just seemed to be going through the motions, which bored me; within a simple forest backdrop, laced with irrelevant music throughout, much of the genuine emotion that makes a film memorable is completely lost. The intensity of emotion and terrifying possibility of reality is where the remake prevails.

There are a few scenes in the 2009 version where I found myself literally cringing and hanging off the edge of my seat, especially when Uncle Frank (played by Aaron Paul, also a convincing drug addict in
one of my favorite shows, Breaking Bad on AMC) takes a hammer to the head while his arm is being shredded in the kitchen sink's garbage disposal. It is such a brutal scene, during which the parents of the rape victim (young 17-year old Mari Collingwood, played by Sara Paxton) come to terms with their ability to be violent, setting off a night of carnage that blows the original out of the water. You feel the pain of the parents, you sympathize with Mari, you really want revenge for the family, more so than you ever did. It is a perfect revenge film, brilliantly executed with more tension than a 400-pound woman laying in a hammock. However, critic's reviews were less than favorable as usual. As long as you're not watching the film through a microscope and just experiencing it on the surface for what it is, I'm sure any horror fan will enjoy the gratuitous violence and non-stop brutality. And if you still don't want to take my word for it, just skip ahead to the final scene . . . TV dinner anyone?

Lastly (no pun intended), the only thing about the original that I'm still somewhat attached to is the promo poster (pictured below). The words "It rests on 13 acres of earth over the very center of hell . . ." are promising but imply a "haunted house" film of sorts, which is completely misleading. And the slogan "To avoid fainting, keep repeating: it's only a movie, it's only a movie . . . " is sheer movie marketing genius!
The Last House on the Left is a perfect example of why us horror fans should give remakes a chance -- and if you still like the original better, it will always be there for you. I think too many movie-goers (especially horror fanatics) feel like remakes take away from the luster of the original, which couldn't be further from the truth . . .

Original poster for the 1971 film

Would you let this gang of riff-raff into your house on a dark & stormy night?
The "bad guys" of the 2009 Last House remake in one of the most popular shots from the film.

Check out The Last House on the Left 2009 film at:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lake George is Haunted


Lake George, NY will forever hold a special place in the back of my mind as one of my favorite family vacation spots. As a kid, I would spend a week up there with my family camping, swimming in the lake, getting ice cream in town, and of course, visiting The House of Frankenstein Wax Museum. This summer I had the pleasure of returning to Lake George for the first time in over 10 years, and to my excitement, the museum still stands. They even added a haunted house up the block called Dr. Morbid's, and for a small fee of $14 you can visit both attractions year-round.

Outside Dr. Morbid's Haunted House

After spending some time lakeside eating homemade kettle corn, I forked over the $14 without hesitation. Our first visit was Dr. Morbid's. The inside of the lobby, although well-lit with sunshine pouring in through the front windows, is darkly decorated like an old library, with a dusty piano and a corpse propped up in an armchair. Her dead cat's skeleton is sprawled out on a chair nearby. Eerie portraits line the walls, and a chair made of skulls (similar to the furniture from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) takes the center of the room.

The lobby of Dr. Morbid's (above) is very well done . . .

Look at this sexy mama!

You are greeted by a live guide at the entrance of a long dark hallway. Upon entering the haunted house, you are instructed to line the wall with your backs against it, and the first room is pitch black. The guide begins with the story of Dr. Morbid and his mad house of wax. Guests are then greeted by a moving, talking skeleton inside of a booth that resembles the cover of the first Creepshow film. Unfortunately, flash photography was not permitted inside. Each room is designed with great detail, and I was very impressed with the layout. Coffins open and close, large barrels of wax bubble, corpses (and live people) jump out from every corner, all while being led through the dark halls by a creepy guide who cackles as she tells her story. At the end of the tour, you are left in Dr. Morbid's lab, where he dips his human subjects in wax to create his house of horror. An alarm sounds, and the guide screams for everyone to get out while they still can, and you are chased down the hallway by a ghoul with a chainsaw, back out into the sun drenched lobby. The entire experience lasted about 10 minutes and the guide moves very quickly, so I recommend hanging at the back of the group so you can really take in all the details of each room. Note the hardcover book on the table of Dr. Morbid's study, titled Satan is a Man . . .

Outside The House of Frankenstein Wax Museum

The next stop was The House of Frankenstein Wax Museum, a landmark on the main drag of Lake George. I'm not sure how long the museum has been there, but the exhibits show their age (I'll get to that part shortly). The lobby, however, is much more modern, with Frankenstein himself planted at the entrance, strapped inside some kind of mad science experiment, with Dr. Frankenstein himself controlling the panels nearby. A glass display case next to the ticket counter is filled with some really great sculptures and Frankenstein figures worth taking a good look at.

Frankie about to get the juice . . .

Dr. Frankenstein takes control of the situation . . .

The glass display case that I was very jealous of . . .

Upon entering the museum you climb a tall flight of stairs beneath a chandelier dangling from the ceiling, and enter a dark hallway with glass windows along one side, just like I remembered it as a kid. I was happy to hear that photography was permitted, but no flash (I have a great setting on my camera called "available light" that works great in such situations, and another setting called "behind glass"). The first window that you come to is a ghost with eyes that light up, and I was rather unimpressed - I wasn't even convinced that the display was made of wax . . . he just kind of hovers there, and after a minute it was time to move on.

A light-up ghost who didn't seem to be made of wax. Not a very good intro to the museum. The Creepshow skeleton at the entrance to Dr. Mobid's blew this guy out of the water!

As you make your way down the hall, behind each window is a horror scene that you can interact with by pushing a button on the window sill. Here are some of my favorites:

Dracula stands in the corner, and when you press the button he fades away and a vampire bat appears, using some sort of mirror trick.

A murder takes place in a bathtub, and when you press the button the killer slams an axe down into the victim (by far the goriest and best exhibit in the museum).

Witness a seance, with a very cheesy moving table effect . . .

The pendulum swings and dices a victim laid out on a table.

A huge room dedicated to Medieval Torture shows victims inside an Iron Maiden, strapped to a stretch rack, laid on a bed of nails, and of course the infamous guillotine device that actually works.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame claims a female victim.

A cheating husband is served the decapitated head of his lover while his maniac wife looks on with a smile.

The Phantom of the Opera plays a tune.

An amazing wax figure of Jason Voorhees pays homage to a modern horror icon.

A dark religious order of hooded Druids offer a sacrifice.

. . . and a prisoner is burnt to a crisp in a smoking electric chair.

The list goes on and on . . .

The House of Frankenstein is a journey through the history of horror, and without a guide you can spend as much time as you like viewing each exhibit. There is something for everyone here, and horror fans will be pleased with the amount of detail and care taken with each figure. My only gripe is that everything is behind glass, so you feel somewhat distanced from the experience. Some of the exhibits have not exactly aged gracefully, but the good news is you can skip over these and chances are the next one will be to your liking. All of the scenes are as I remember them, and I'm not sure much has been done to beef up the presentations over time. But that certainly does not take anything away from them -- they were just as awesome as they were 10 years ago!

Visit The House of Frankenstein online at:

Visit Dr. Morbid's Haunted House online at: