Friday, March 27, 2015

SPRINGING INTO ACTION... ON MY 2015 SPRING TOUR!!!

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It’s that time again… time for me to head out on the road for my annual spring personal appearance tour!

I’ll let the press release below do the heavy lifting of explaining it all, but I do want to start by mentioning that tomorrow, Saturday, March 28th kicks it all off with my appearance at Expo 9, which mixes comic books with live martial arts exhibitions AND zombies!

I’ll be signing my books but I’ll also be taking part in a unique presentation: help write scenarios for live actors dressed as zombies to reenact on the spot… while comic book artists sketch the action!

Oh, and speaking of zombies, that panel at the top is drawn by the great artist, Chris Allan from my story, Zoe's Zombies which you can read in Rise: Comics Against Bullying (more details below).

Without further ado, here’s the PR with all the details – hope to see you sometime during my tour!

NEW YORK CITY (March, 2015) – On March 28, comics writer-editor and historian Paul Castiglia begins what has become an annual “Spring NY/NJ” personal appearance tour.

The appearances accompany several new projects for Castiglia ranging from writing new comic book stories to writing non-fiction text pieces to co-producing documentaries. Of particular note, Castiglia will be selling and autographing copies of Rise: Comics Against Bullying at these events.

The comic, recently released by Northwest Press is an all-star anthology of mainstream and indie writers and artists who’ve contributed stories with an anti-bullying theme. Proceeds from the special edition will benefit organizations with anti-bullying initiatives. Castiglia reunited with popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles artist Chris Allan for his tale, which was edited by Erica Schultz, writer of the acclaimed M3 and Swords of Sorrow comic series.

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The story in Rise is one of three new stories from Castiglia, best-known as the writer of the popular Archie’s Weird Mysteries comic series and a contributing writer to such titles as Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, DC Showcase, Dark Horse’s Tex Avery’s Droopy and several others.

Castiglia’s experience with humorous heroes comes to the fore in his script for the upcoming War of the Independents #4 from Red Anvil Studios. Created by publisher Dave Ryan, the series is a satirical sendup of such mainstream comics’ crossover events as Marvel’s Secret Wars and DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. Issue #4 is the “humor issue,” featuring such iconic indie characters as The Tick, Felix the Cat, Flaming Carrot, Gumby & Pokey, Megaton Man, Milk & Cheese and Too Much Coffee Man, among many others.

Also coming soon from Castiglia is a backup story for the comic book, KING! from award-winning publishers, Blacklist Studios. Scheduled to be released both digitally and in print, KING! tells the story of a former professional wrestler with an Elvis motif – who just so happens to also be a monster hunter! In Castiglia’s tale, King finds himself face-to-face with a real, live goatsucker in a tale that could only be called, El Chupacabra – Ay, Carumba!

In addition to writing comics, Castiglia continues to be involved in projects that utilize his experience as a comics editor and comics and film historian.

Slated for a 2015 holiday season release from TwoMorrows is The MLJ Companion, a compendium of articles and interviews about Archie’s Mighty Crusaders heroes through the decades. Castiglia is co-editing with Rik Offenberger. Both will also contribute articles about the fabled titans, who are enjoying a new lease on life in Archie’s Dark Circle imprint.

Castiglia continues to work on his non-fiction book, Scared Silly: Classic Hollywood Horror-Comedies. The book explores films where classic comedians like Abbott & Costello, the Three Stooges and the Bowery Boys got mixed up in spooky situations with ghosts, monsters and aliens.

The Scared Silly project led to Castiglia’s involvement in a documentary on the famed movie team, The Bowery Boys. Castiglia is acting as a Co-Executive Producer, Creative Consultant, Co-Writer, Casting Producer and Music Supervisor for the upcoming film. He also came up with the name of the project, Bowery Rhapsody: the Rise and Redemption of Hollywood’s Original ‘Brat Pack.’ (www.imdb.com/title/tt3744254/).

Following are the details of Castiglia’s “Spring NY/NJ” tour. Unless otherwise stated, at each appearance Castiglia will sell and autograph copies of comics and book projects to which he’s contributed, including Rise: Comics Against Bullying, Archie’s Weird Mysteries, Archie’s Favorites, Archie Americana, Best of Archie Comics, Hey Kids Comics, Sonic the Hedgehog, With Great Power, Midnight Marquee Actor Series: Vincent Price and more:

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March 28
Expo 9 Martial Arts Comic Convention, Cherry Hill, NJ
Events Center Sports Venue & Stadium
9AM–4PM
www.ackungfu.com/ackungfuhome.html

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April 11-12
East Coast Comic Con, Secaucus, NJ
Meadowlands Exposition Center (Kids Comic Con table in the Kids Love Comics Pavilion)
10AM–6PM
www.eccomicon.com

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April 25
Kids Comic Con, Bronx, NY
Bronx Community College
Autograph signing schedule to be announced
www.kidscomiccon.com
www.facebook.com/KidscomicCon

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May 2
East Side Mags, Montclair, NJ
Free Comic Book Day
Autographing alongside Sanctuary writer-artist, Stephen Coughlin
12PM–4PM
www.eastsidemags.com

May 30
Superheroes For Hospice, West Orange, NJ
Comic Book Sale and Convention benefitting Barnabas Health Hospice and Palliative Care Center
10AM–5PM

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

THEY COME "RONDO" EVERY SPRING!

Rondo Hatton

Well, as Yogi Berra once said, "it's deja vu all over again!" Or... maybe he said it twice?!

Indeed, it seems the latest round of Rondo Award nominations (for achievements in horror during 2014) were announced. And yes, for at least the fourth time (!), this humble little blog about spooks and kooks, ghouls and fools, and creeps and clowns has been nominated for a Rondo award!

Like 2013, I don't necessarily think this blog is worthy of such an honor for my 2014 output (due to circumstances beyond my control it was limited to "encore posts" and vintage clips of trailers, cartoons and features at best, as opposed to new articles and reviews). However, I am honored to be nominated - it is both a vote of confidence and encouragement to me. I want to thank whoever recommended “Scared Silly” for the nomination – I truly appreciate it!

The Rondo Awards are named after Rondo Hatton (you can learn more about Rondo when you click here) and are awards given to those who in some way are keeping the love for and appreciation of classic horror alive. You can learn more details about the awards and view this year's ballot by clicking here.

"Scared Silly" has been nominated in the "best blog" category, and it is my hope that if you like this blog, you will vote for it.

There are TONS of friends of Scared Silly who have been nominated in various categories, and before the voting is through I hope I can post more about them and encourage you to check out all their great projects, and to vote for them if you're so inclined.

Until then, here's a nice montage of Rondo Hatton movie scenes incongruously set to a jaunty tune - ENJOY:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

LOVE MEANS... 2015 EDITION!

WE INTERRUPT OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PUBLIC DOMAIN CARTOON TO BRING YOU THIS SPECIAL ENCORE PRESENTATION OF MY VALENTINE'S DAY POST FROM 2010:

Vincent Price

One of my all time favorite films is the Vincent Price classic “The Abominable Dr. Phibes.” I won’t be reviewing it for the “Scared Silly” project because it really isn’t a horror-comedy – it’s more of a horror film with some comedic aspects - dark, black comedy (juxtaposed against some wonderfully colorful art direction). And even if it was a full-fledged horror-comedy it was made in 1971, a full five years after my cut-off date of 1966 (which I’ve designated as the year of the last traditional horror-comedy, Don Knotts’ “The Ghost & Mr. Chicken”). “Phibes” really is a one-of-a-kind not to be missed film, however – check out its trailer:



The reason I’m talking about “Dr. Phibes” on Valentine’s Day is because the “Phibes” movie poster based its wonderful “Love means never having to say you’re ugly” tagline on the tagline of one of the biggest hits of the prior year, “Love Story” starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw.

Ryan O'Neal Ali McGraw

That melodramatic weeper’s tagline “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” became a mantra for many men who were sorry they had to sit through the whole treacly affair, but too afraid to admit as much to their wives and girlfriends! Years later, a shopping mall offered free La-Z Boy recliners to any man who could actually sit through the whole “Love Story” - multiple times in a row - without falling asleep or bailing out completely, as detailed in this news report:



I’ve always found it hard to warm up to love stories about dullard and/or self-centered humans – and there seem to be so many. When love stories show up in comedies, action or horror films, they just seem more real to me (even if the trappings are pure fantasy) because the mettle required to truly sacrifice yourself for your loved one just seems more sincere when you have to face a horrible monster, dangerous villain or even a guy in a bad gorilla suit to do so.

Stan Laurel Oliver Hardy

Here’s one of the all-time great examples of unrequited love. It comes from a sublime classic among horror films, “The Bride of Frankenstein.” Again, this isn’t a horror-comedy, but it is a horror film with ample doses of comedy thrown in (along with fantasy, sci-fi, romance, tragedy and all sorts of underlying meanings and themes). And it is required viewing.



There’s an offshoot of the “horror-comedy” film genre that I like to call the “supernatural romantic comedy.” These are films involving one or more partners in a love story who are either ghosts, witches or some sort of supernatural creature. They aren’t always “horror-comedies” because they tend to be on the light breezy side without any of the requisite creepy trappings although sometimes they do have scenes where those supernatural powers are being used to frighten an antagonist deserving of come-uppance. Some examples of films in the “supernatural romantic comedy” genre include “I Married a Witch,” "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir," "Bell, Book & Candle" and the “Topper” movie series.



One of the all-time best “supernatural romantic comedies” also happens to be one of the best Abbott & Costello movies ever made as well. It’s a movie a lot of people remember - just check out the message boards at www.abbottandcostello.net – at least once a month a visitor stops by to ask “what was that film where Costello was a ghost trapped in a wishing well?” Gordon Lightfoot even referenced it in a song – at least I think he did, as he sings “just like an old time movie ‘bout a ghost from a wishing well,” and I still haven’t found another film that fits that description (believe me, I’ve tried).



So to all my “Scared Silly” readers, here’s wishing you a very happy Valentine’s Day. And if you want to watch a good supernatural love story, skip “Ghost” this year and watch Abbott & Costello’s “The Time of Their Lives” instead. Lou Costello actually makes a believable and quite likeable romantic hero, and both he and partner Bud Abbott deliver some top-notch dramatic performances (and of course comedic bits as well). My experience has been that it’s the one Abbott & Costello film that people who don’t usually like Abbott & Costello actually enjoy. So what are you waiting for? Go enjoy it already!



(P.S.: It's a good one for President's Day, too)!

Thursday, February 12, 2015