Monday, October 31, 2011


Archie Comics Laugh monster

Greetings Scared Silly fans! Welcome to Halloween 2011 – and the second anniversary of this blog. Thank you for sticking with me for two years. I know I haven’t always been as prolific as we both would like (especially this year). As you know, I had a bit more activity in comic book land this year what with promoting my “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” book and other projects. Things should level out soon and I’m truly hoping that I can make more headway on “Scared Silly” in 2012.

I had hoped to post a review of a feature or short today but my schedule just didn’t permit it. Instead, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of some of the highest rated films in my “Scared Silly” project. Click on the titles below to read my four-star reviews of these classics:





Of course, as time goes on there are bound to be more four-star entries (“Arsenic & Old Lace,” anyone?). Keep checking back as I post new reviews as I am able.

Anyway, any of the above are worthy of your viewing this Halloween. In addition, I wanted to share some scenes from some of the more oddball horror-comedies of all time – namely “Sh! The Octopus!” with Allen Jenkins and Hugh Herbert, “Ghost Catchers” with Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson and “Zombies on Broadway” with the ersatz Abbott & Costello, Wally Brown and Alan Carney – they also make great Halloween viewing. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 27, 2011


Paul Castiglia Chris Allan

Just in time for Halloween weekend, I’m out and about again promoting the “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” paperback collection. This time, I’m appearing at two locations in Bloomfield, NJ. The signings are designed as a “cross-promotion” wherein each business benefits by being plugged by the other.

Here’s where I’ll be:

Friday, October 28th, 2011
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
28 Washington Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Saturday, October 29th, 2011
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
71 Washington Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003


So here’s how it works: If you come to my comic shop appearance at The Comic Book Market, you’ll get a free piece of cake from Anthony’s Cheesecake and info on Anthony’s place. If you visit me at Anthony’s Cheesecake Café, you’ll get a free Archie digest and info on the comic shop.

EXTRA BONUS: Appearing with me at The Comic Book Market is artist Glenn Whitmore of Superman, Shazam! And Life with Archie fame. I’ve known Glenn since we were kids and he’s a terrific guy in addition to being a great artist.

ANOTHER EXTRA BONUS: At the Anthony’s Cheesecake appearance I’ll also have the Midnight Marquee Vincent Price book with me. This fabulous book of essays on the films of the crown prince of horror includes one written by yours truly, as I cover Price’s horror-comedy films with Peter Lorre (naturally).

Midnight Marquee Actors Series Vincent Price

Now here’s a clip from the audio/video podcast, “Fever Keeps It Real” – the fine folks who run the show, Paul and Linda Wein dropped by the recent “Superheroes for Hospice” convention and interviewed me about Archie’s Weird Mysteries starting at 3:46 – enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Killer Shrews

...and not scary as intended.

Last year around this time I recommended a variety of films to check out for Halloween. It’s a new year, but those films are still fine, so feel free to click here and here to read all about them.

This year, I’m recommending two films that were allegedly horror movies, and may have even contained some intentional humor, but mostly just come off as unintentionally hysterical… for all the wrong reasons!

I’m speaking of the one-two socko punch that is “The Killer Shrews” and “The Giant Gila Monster.”

Sharing production crews and some cast members, the films are rife with absurd situations, broad/clichéd characters, cumbersome dialogue, schizophrenic performances and most of all, laughable special effects.

Specific highlights from “Shrews”: oddball scientist, strapping hero, beautiful heroine, jealous ex-boyfriends, at least one weasly guy, alcohol, livestock in danger, a close-quarters compound, mask-and-costume-wearing dogs and truly hilarious puppets.

Specific highlights from “Gila Monster”: small town sheriff, hormone-filled teens, hot rod driver/mechanic, a terrorized train, livestock in danger, rock ‘n roll sock hop, a real Mexican beaded lizard filmed in close-up against miniature models and a self-sacrificing hero with a facility for nitroglycerin.

Giant Gila Monster

These are in no way what one would call “good” films but to me they are better than their reputations and more importantly highly entertaining, especially if you’re in the right frame of mind. Even more especially if you have a group of friends with whom to share the viewing experience!

Here are some good links that do a good job covering these zero-budget favorites:

DVD Drive-In

Radiation Cinema (Shrews)

Radiation Cinema (Gila)

1,000 Misspent Hours (Shrews)

1,000 Misspent Hours (Gila)

Most fascinating of all perhaps is a fellow named Moore from “Radioactive Reviews” who actually set out to locate the original filming locations. Watch the results of his search when you click here.

James Best from “Killer Shrews” went on to television immorltality as Sherriff Roscoe B. Coltrane in “The Dukes of Hazzard.” He’s also appearing in a modern day sequel/reboot called “Return of the Killer Shrews,” co-starring his “Dukes” co-star John Schneider. Click here to read all about it courtesy of the Undead Backbrain website.

An additional recommendation if you want to make a whole four or five hour party out of it – pair “Shrews” and “Gila” with Larry Blamire’s retro spoofs, “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera” and “The Lost Skeleton Returns.”

So how to watch these crazy flicks? Well lucky for you they’re both in the public domain. That means you can find them on DVD from anywhere between fifty cents and six bucks. Better still, you can find it all over the internet – from Public Domain Hub to The Internet Archive to YouTube… trust me, just go to your favorite search engine and do a video search and you’re bound to find these.

Now here’s a two-for-one special: first, the legendary Joe Dante with his own views on “The Giant Gila Monster” film and its trailer, courtesy of Trailers From Hell, followed by the trailer from “The Killer Shrews” – enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


New York Comic Con 2011

This weekend, the annual New York Comic Con hits the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan and yours truly will be there to meet and greet fans. Stop on by and say hello. I’ll be at the Archie Comics booth (# 1630) Friday through Sunday as follows:

Friday from 11AM to 12PM

Saturday from 6PM to 7PM

Sunday from 11AM to 12AM


NOTE: Archie Comics will only have a limited number of copies of my “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” book on hand so if you want that autographed I encourage you to bring your own copy. If you don’t have one yet, be sure to visit your local comic shop (to find the comic shop nearest you just click here to use the Comic Shop Locator Service) to obtain a copy.

Archie will have copies of some of the other recent projects to which I contributed, including “The Best of Archie Comics” and “A Night at the Comic Shop.” You can read about those and other recent releases containing my work here and here and here.

Paul Castiglia Chris Allan

So please, be sure to pop over to the booth and greet me – would love to meet you!

Now here’s a clip from the audio/video podcast, “Fever Keeps It Real” – the fine folks who run the show, Paul and Linda Wein dropped by the recent “Superheroes for Hospice” convention and interviewed me about Archie’s Weird Mysteries starting at 3:46 – enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Harold Lloyd Haunted Spooks

A quick head's up for all "Scared Silly" fans in the Manhattan area: this Saturday, October 8th, 2011 the Silent Clown Film Series presents "Scary Shenanigans on the 2nd Reel."

The Silent Clown Film Series is renown for its screening of vintage silent comedies with live piano accompaniment from musician Ben Model.

This special presentation is held at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium. Showtime is 2:30 PM. Admission is free.

On the program: a 1928 Ko-Ko the Clown cartoon from the famed Max and Dave Fleischer animation studio titled "Ko-Ko's Earth Control," Harold Lloyd in "Haunted Spooks" (1920), Lupino Lane in Who's Afraid? (1927). Buster Keaton in "The Haunted House" (1921) and Our Gang in "Shootin' Injuns" (1925). You can read my reviews of the latter two films by clicking on their titles. Ultimately I will be reviewing the other live-action films on the program as well.

To whet your appetite here's a silent cartoon that isn't on the schedule this weekend, but is sure to scare you silly - Ko-Ko the Clown in 1928's "Ko-Ko's Haunted House" (note that this was duped from a print distributed to TV stations in the 1950s, hence the original movie studio logo being replaced):