Archive for scary

Terror Toys

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2011 by Nicholas Gentry

Slither into my lair, dear horror fanatics! After a weekend of stuffing yourself with turkey I hope you still have room for one more terror treat. While holiday celebrations come and go, horror lasts forever! This week your Gorgon of gore has decided to honor some of the creepiest toys around. Some of these villains are so terrifying you’ll pray they never show up under your tree. Whether you’re naughty or nice these blood-thirsty, pint-sized terror toys will give you plenty to scream about.

From the 1975 horror film, Trilogy of Terror, the Zuni doll is pure evil. With his sharp teeth and beady eyes, this little guy will haunt your dreams for years to come. When the chain around his body is removed, the vicious spirit that inhabits the doll is set free, allowing the doll to walk, stalk…and kill. The Zuni doll is armed with a deadly spear (and he knows how to use it), but his bite is much, much worse! How’d you like to feel those jagged fangs bury themselves in your flesh?

While many of you are saying “I’d just kick the damn thing and throw it in the fireplace,” it’s not that simple. What makes the doll so dangerous is his ability to run at lightning speed. Go ahead, try to kick him. You’ll be dead in an instant. If someone ever gives you a Zuni doll, make sure to keep the receipt…you’ll need it. Oh, and no matter what you do, make sure the chain stays on the doll at all times!

If you think one deadly toy is scary, try fighting off four of them! From 1992, Demonic Toys features a potty-mouthed doll, a deadly robot, one nasty teddy bear and a terrifying jack-in-the-box, all possessed by an ancient demon. The demon uses the toys as its minions in an attempt to take the soul of a woman’s unborn baby. Okay, so the storyline is a little silly. However, these plastic nightmares are full of sick humor and murderous mayhem. While Demonic Toys isn’t necessarily “scary” it is fun to watch on dark, stormy nights. Watch out for a particularly nasty death scene in which one of the toys brutally stabs a woman in the eye.

These toys aren’t playing around. Do yourself a favor and remove the batteries from these hellish horrors…before it’s too late!

From 1992, Dolly Dearest delivered blood, gore and terror at the hands of a murderous female doll. When an American family travels to Mexico in order to take over a toy factory, they soon discover a malevolent spirit has inhabited the dolls. Soon bodies are piling up as the doll reveals her dark nature, murdering and dismembering all in her path. Dolly Dearest is a fun little horror flick that doesn’t hold back the scares.

Chucky better watch his back. This femme fatale is armed and ready to play…with you! At first Dolly Dearest appears to be a rip-off of Child’s Play, due to the similar storyline. At the time of the film’s release Child’s Play was still widely popular (because the franchise was still considered scary). This comparison helped Dolly Dearest find success on videocassette. Now after twenty years, the film is still considered a cult classic by many horror fans. A sequel was planned but never went into production. If you’re lucky enough to find a copy of Dolly Dearest check it out. You’ll avoid the toy department like the plague.

She’s pretty. She’s deadly. She wants your soul.

From 1988’s Child’s Play, meet the ultimate killer doll, Chucky! When a dying serial killer uses voodoo to transfer his soul to a plastic doll, it creates of string of nightmares and terror. A young boy receives the doll as a birthday present from his mother. Before long Chucky is roaming around on his own, pushing the boy’s babysitter out a window to her death and setting his sights on his new “playmate’s” soul. With the help of his mother and a handsome police officer, the boy must destroy Chucky or lose his soul forever. Featuring Brad Dourif (Urban Legend) as the voice of Chucky, this is one horror film you don’t want to miss. Child’s Play became a box office hit. Child’s Play 2 was released in 1990; Child’s Play 3 was released in 1991.

In 1998, ten years after the first film shocked audiences, Bride of Chucky made its theatrical debut. This time around Chucky is reconstructed by his ex-girlfriend, Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly). After killing Tiffany, her soul is passed into a female doll and the two hit the road with an unsuspecting couple. While the film contained some horrific moments, horror fans were disappointed with the high levels of humor and lack of terror.

Chucky will make a return in 2013 with the remake of Child’s Play. Returning to the horror roots of the original, the film promises to be scarier and more violent than before, hopefully toning down the humor quite a bit.

A film that struggled to find a release, Puppet Master was finally released to videocassette in 1989. Featuring a string of murderous toys, each with their own unique talents. Leech Woman vomits up real leeches that suck her victims dry; Blade comes complete with a nasty set of sharp weapons; and Tunneler has an actual drill on his head, perfect for making his victims beg for mercy. While the film is low-budget it found much success with genre fans. The film spawned several sequels over the years, yet none of them were as entertaining as the original. Based on a story by Charles Band (The Gingerdead Man), Puppet Master is about a man who, along with his psychic friends, discovers a collection of strange toys are not only alive, but very deadly.

It’s horrific fun as one by one, the devilish dolls claim another victim in silly, grotesque ways. This R-rated film earns its rating after the first twenty minutes, wearing it with pride as unbelievable horrors are unleashed.

Check out this horror classic today!

 Released in 1987, Stuart Gordon’s horror film, Dolls combined horror with macabre fantasy. The story follows a group of strangers who take shelter from a storm at the mansion of two elderly toy makers. Each guest soon discovers the toys have minds of their own, taking bloody revenge on those who get on their bad side. Director Stuart Gordon balances humor with grisly horror and suspense in this violent, creepy thriller. Dolls underwent massive editing and re-shoots, adding in more blood and gore to certain scenes. Horror fans rejoiced when the film made its debut, delivering eerie pint-sized villains that weren’t afraid to go for the throat. One character meets her nasty demise with jaw-dropping effects.

After the film’s release a sequel was planned. However, it never happened due to high costs and lack of interest from studios. One year later another movie came out that featured a killer doll as the villain as well as a higher budget. That film was Child’s Play.

Still, Dolls remains a favorite with genre fans. It has plenty of laughs, scares, and incredible effects.

Step into my lair next Tuesday for The Most Popular Urban Legends.
Sweet nightmares!


Baba Yaga: Folklore’s Leading Lady

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2011 by Nicholas Gentry

Welcome back, horror fiends! This week your favorite Gorgon of gore has a very special treat for you. In fact, I'm so excited about this week's topic that my tail won't stop rattling. As many of you horror fanatics know there's nothing scarier than an evil, villainous witch. Even Freddy Krueger would think twice before coming face-to-face with this particular creature you're about to meet. She's a nasty, flesh-eating monster. And no, it's not Kim Kardashian! Step into my lair, get comfortable, and try not to scream…too much. It's time to meet Baba Yaga, the witch of your nightmares!

For many, many years parents have told their children to stay out of the street, never talk to strangers, and stay close to home. These are valuable life lessons that children won't appreciate until they're much older…or until it's too late. In Russia there is a certain piece of folklore that has become a tool for mothers and fathers in order to prevent their children from wandering far away, or talking to strangers. The legend of Baba Yaga, or "the bony-legged one" represents all of the reasons why children should listen to their parents, no matter what. Baba Yaga is a disgusting, flesh-eating witch who lives deep in the darkest part of the woods. She lives in a hut that stands on chicken feet, and preys upon lost travelers or small children. According to many variations of the legend, Baba Yaga has sharp, jagged teeth; some variations claim the teeth are made of iron or metal. Would you wander far from home if your parents told you about this vile witch? Although Baba Yaga is nothing more than a story, there are many who believe she was real. Maybe it's their fear getting the best of them. Or, maybe they wandered too far from home one evening. Scared and alone they felt their blood run cold as they spotted something way off in the distance. Was it? No, it's not possible. A tiny hut that stands on chicken feet. From the window, they saw Baba Yaga, staring right at them…licking her lips.
There have been many different illustrations of Baba Yaga. From oil paintings to charcoal illustrations, artists have used this terrifying legend to create something beautiful, yet utterly creepy. Writers have used Baba Yaga as inspiration for their work, too. Children's author, Joanna Cole, wrote a book called Bony-Legs. The book was released in 1983 and told the story of a young girl who goes deep into the woods and is captured by an old witch who plans to eat her for dinner. While the subject matter hardly seems appropriate for young children, the story never crosses the line. It remains fun and exciting, with a hint of terror. The Brothers Grimm were notorious for creating tales that contained graphic violence, hideous villains and morbid situations. Bony-Legs was illustrated by Dirk Zimmer, who went on to illustrate the book, In A Dark, Dark Room by Alvin Schwartz. Almost thirty years later, Bony-Legs is still well-known by many. Joanna Cole took the legend of Baba Yaga and introduced her to young readers. While the motive was still the same, the actions were much tamer. This allowed children to enjoy the story (and the illustrations), without the possibility of nightmares or psychological damage.

Aside from the villainous side of Baba Yaga, there have been a few stories that portray the character as a kind-hearted old woman. Babushka Baba Yaga by Leah Polacco is one story that depicts the character in a loving, nurturing way. There are no elements of fear in the story. Baba Yaga befriends a young boy named Victor. When terrible lies about Baba Yaga begin to travel through the village, she returns to the woods, certain that her new friend will believe them. In the story Baba Yaga does live by herself, staring out the window of her small hut. This time, however, she's not looking for fresh victims. She's watching over the villagers with love and kindness. Written and illustrated by Leah Polacco, Babushka Baba Yaga is a safe, family-friendly variation of a terrifying tale. It describes the character as lonely, full of love and desperate to fit in. For readers too young to comprehend (or stomach) the true horrific tales, this is definitely an appropriate alternative that still manages to introduce its reader to Baba Yaga.

One book, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, goes back to Baba Yaga's horrible nature as the hungry, flesh-eating witch. It tells the story of a young girl named Vasilisa, whose mean-spirited stepmother sends her deep into the woods on a useless errand, knowing very well the witch, Baba Yaga will eat her alive. When the poor girl meets the evil witch she is held captive and abused, forced to become Baba Yaga's servant. After a few days the hag sends the girl home with a special light that destroys her jealous stepmother. What makes the book so incredible is the way Baba Yaga is still a horrific character, yet not the main villain. Vasilisa's jealous stepmother is the true villain here. The artwork is spectacular, shedding new light on Baba Yaga and her ghastly appearance. Everything is painted with such detail you feel as though you are in the story, suffering right along with Vasilisa.
   There are many different variations of Baba Yaga's terrifying legend. In some, Baba Yaga uses every part of the victim, including the bones. She is known to run fast, taking her victims by surprise. While vampires can be fought off with garlic, or stakes through the heart, Baba Yaga is much scarier because there are no special precautions one can take to ensure their safety. If you want to avoid being her next meal, do yourself a favor and stay out of the woods.

Once Baba Yaga spots you…there is no escape!

Slither back into my lair next Tuesday for Terror Toys.