Saturday, October 31, 2009


Well, it's finally here, the day we've all been waiting for...HALLOWEEN! I am extremely excited, since this is my first Halloween in my new home, and with some recently acquired Halloween decorations, courtesy of Walgreens' clearance, I have made my house the spookiest on my block! I'm going to start the day with some traditional Halloween shows, It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, The Halloween Tree, and others, then patiently wait for the trick or treaters to arrive...then once the kiddies all go to bed, it'll be time to drag out the big scares, with Night Of The Living Dead, John Carpenter's Halloween, Trick 'R Treat, and as many as my tired old body will allow me to stay up to watch!
I hope you all have a wonderfullly spooktacular Halloween, be safe and don't eat too much candy...and don't forget to crank up my Monster Spookshow Radio Halloween Spooktular!!

Happy Haunting!
George Van Orsdel

Friday, October 30, 2009

Countdown, Day 30, 1 more day til Halloween: The Old dark House (1932)

The Old Dark House, starring the King of Monsters, Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Ernest Thesiger and Gloria Stuart, was released in 1932 by Universal Studios, shortly after the release of the classic Frankenstein. James Whale once again shows his talent for mixing the spooky with the laughs as he did so brilliantly in The Bride of Frankenstein. The Old Dark House centers around a group of travelers, while seeking shelter from a storm, are admitted to a gloomy, foreboding mansion belonging to the extremely strange Femm family. Trying to make the best of it, the guests must deal with their sepulchral host, Horace Femm (wonderfully played by Ernest Thesiger), who claims to be on the run from the police, and his religious, obsessive, malevolent sister, Rebecca (Eva Moore). Things get worse as the brutish mute butler, Morgan (played by Boris Karloff, in a role similar to the Frankenstein monster), gets drunk, runs amok, threatens Margaret Waverton (The Imvisible Man's Gloria Stuart) and releases the long pent-up brother, Saul, a psychotic fantasist and pyromaniac who gleefully tries to destroy the residence by setting it on fire.
This movie set the standard for the "old dark house" type of films, such as William Castle's House On Haunted Hill. Below I am posting a link to The Old Dark House on YouTube (embedding is disabled unfortunately), but you can see all 10 parts on YouTube. Watch it, it's definitely an underrated classic! just click the image below and enjoy some spooky fun!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Countdown, Day 29, 2 more days til Halloween: Idle Hands (1999)

Idle Hands, starring Devon Sawa, Jessica Alba and Seth Green, centers around the main character, Seventeen year old slacker Anton Tobias, who wakes up one Halloween morning to discover that both of his parents have been turned into two headless Halloween decorations. After speaking to his equally irresponsible friends, Mick and Pnub, he discovers that his right hand has a blood-thirsty mind of its own and is hell-bent on wreaking havoc whether he likes it or not. Anton's "hand" goes on a murder spree that climaxes at his high school's Halloween dance. Idle Hands is a great horror/comedy, featuring some great kills, some decent laughs and some cool music. If you haven't seen it, check it out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Countdown, Day 28, 3 days left til Halloween: Night Of The Demons (1988)

"Angela is having a party, Jason and Freddy are too scared to come. But You'll have a hell of a time." This little gem was made in 1988, and starred scream queen Linnea Quigley and Amelia Kinkade as Angela. Spooky Angela decides to host a Halloween party at an old funeral parlor. Things quickly start getting dull after the power goes out so Angela suggests séance, which unwittingly unleashes a demon and all hell breaks loose! This 80s cheesefest is actually a fun film to watch, and of course takes place in Halloween night! Night Of The Demons actually spawned 2 sequels and recent remake. Be careful when you conduct your séances on Halloween night, you might get what you wish for!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Countdown, Day 27, 4 more days til Halloween: The Misfits - Halloween 7"

The Misfits released Halloween in 1981 on the band's own Plan 9 Records, but little did they know the song would go on to be a Halloween punk rock classic. Here is a cool little fan-made video for The Misfits' song Halloween. I thought it was pretty cool, so I decided to share,...enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Countdown, Day 26: More Vintage Halloween Pin-ups

Here are some more vintage Halloween pin-ups for you!






Sunday, October 25, 2009

Countdown, day 25: The Vault Of Horror (1973)

The Vault Of Horror was the follow-up film to Amicus Films' Tales From The Crypt, and again, Amicus found source material from EC Comics' The Vault Of Horror comic books. The success of the Tales From The Crypt film motivated Amicus to quickly release this follow-up film. And again, the stories were taken directly from the comic books themselves. The Vault Of Horror wasn't as great as Tales From The Crypt, but it was still a very good film, great talents involved and the always wonderful Amicus feel. Watch it for yourself and tell me what you think!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Countdown, Day 24: Tales From The Crypt (1972)

Since we're on the topic of anthology films, here is another classic, Tales From The Crypt, released in 1972, this film is based on the classic EC comics, featuring stories ripped straight from the pages of the Tales From The Crypt comic books themselves. Starring one of my favorite horror actors Peter Cushing and Ralph Richardson, Tales From The Crypt was one of many "anthology" films released by British film company Amicus Films. If you haven't treated yourself to this film, or any of the Amicus films for that matter, then you are doing yourself a great disservice.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Countdown, Day 23: Creepshow

From the twisted minds of George Romero and Stephen King comes Creepshow, a tribute to the old EC comics Tales From The Crypt comic books. Here we have a classic example of an anthology film: 5 different stories, with a wrap-around story to tie them all in. This is one of my favorite Halloween time films to watch, it's got horror, humor and the feel of a good old fashioned horror comic book! Creepshow is a fun film to watch, with a decent cast and great stories!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Countdown, Day 22: SPOOKS and WOT A NIGHT cartoons

Here we have 2 different spooky cartoons, both made during the 1930's. The first cartoon, Spooks, features Flip the Frog, a character drawn and created by Ub Iwerks, who worked on the Disney classic "Skeleton Dance" as well as "Skeleton Frolic" (both featured in my Halloween countdown). In Spooks, Flip finds himself caught in a storm and decides to seek shelter in a creepy old house. There he comes across a seemingly friendly skeleton host who invites him to dinner, unaware that his host has more sinister plans for poor 'ol Flip.

Next we have Wot A Night, filmed in 1931, featuring Tom and Jerry (not the cat and mouse, but 2 characters created by the Van Beuren Studios, many years before MGM did their cat and mouse cartoons). Tom and Jerry are 2 taxi drivers who pick up a couple of odd, bearded men and give them a ride to a creepy old castle. There, our heroes find themselves surrounded by spooks and musical skeletons.

These cartoons are both great finds and perfect examples of how spooky themes were so prevalent even back in the 1930s. You have to remember some of the greatest classic monster films came from the 1930s, Dracula, Frankenstein, King Kong as well as many others. I hope you enjoy the cartoons!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Countdown, Day 21: Night Of The Living Dead

The movie that started it all...flesh-eating zombies! Yes, zombies have been featured in motion pictures for many years, going back to the 1930s with films such as "White Zombie", but George Romero's classic Night Of The Living Dead started a genre that to this day is continuously imitated and duplicated. And although this film may have been inspired by other films, there had been no other film like it. It definitely broke ground for decades of zombies films to come, it also launched a very successful franchise for George Romero, which include the films Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead and Land Of The Dead. I had the pleasure of interviewing some of the folks involved in the film 2 weeks ago at Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend. I Spoke with Bill Hinzman (cemetery zombie), Russell Streiner (Johnny), George Kasana (the sheriff) and John Russo (screenplay writer), and it was great hearing some of the behind-the-scenes stories they had to share. Night Of The Living Dead is definitely a film you should watch late at night, with a big bowl of popcorn and the lights turned off....if you're brave enough!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


There have been many actors who have taken on the role of Count Dracula, but there will always be one name synonymous with the infamous Count, and that is Bela Lugosi.
Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó was born October 20th, 1882, in Lugos, just outside the western border or Transylvania (how appropriate!), in what is now Romania. Bela started acting at a young age, in theater, playing many types of diverse roles, from Shakespeare to playing Jesus Christ.
Bela eventually made the transition to film, where he acted in many films, building up a massive resume' before eventually landing the role of Dracula. Bela went on to become one of the most famous names in horror. Read all about Bela's fascinating life on his Wikipedia page. Happy birthday to the original Prince of Darkness!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Countdown, Day 19: Fat Albert's Halloween special

When I was a kid, way back before the days of DVDs or even VHS tapes, we'd have to wait for certain times of the year to catch our favorite movies and shows. We'd have to wait for Christmas to watch the Grinch, and we'd have to wait for Halloween to watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", among many other Halloween favorites. One of my favorites was the Fat Albert Halloween Special. I grew up watching the Fat Albert cartoon series, and when they made a Halloween special, well, I was incredibly excited. I dunno, I just really liked it. It was definitely a silly cartoon, with some spooky moments, and as usual, a moral to the story in true Fat Albert fashion. If you've never watched it, give it a view and tell me what you think!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Many of you knew him as Ray's cantankerous father on Everybody loves Raymond, but most of us know him as the classic "Fronkensteen" monster in Mel Brook's hilarious Young Frankenstein. Peter Lawrence Boyle, Jr. was born on October 18, 1935, and despite being mostly known as the monster in Young Frankenstein and Ray's father on Everybody Loves Raymond, Peter Boyle had a very long and successful career in film and television. Read all about Peter Boyle's life and career on his Wikipedia page. Happy Birthday Peter!

Countdown, Day 18: The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

One of my favorite films to watch around Halloween time is The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Ever since I was a kid I've always loved Don Knotts, and this film is my favorite of his. The story centers around Luther Heggs, a jerky, quirky typesetter for the town paper who aspires to move up from his basement office to be a full-fledged reporter. The story follows the Old Simmons House, which is known as a "murder house" around town due to the murder/suicide of Mr. and Mrs. Simmons 20 years earlier. Rumor has it that you can hear the ghost of Mr. Simmons playing the organ at midnight. To boost newspaper sales, Luther is assigned to spend the night in the house on the night of the 20th anniversary of the murders. All is well until midnight, when Luther sees the old organ begin to play by itself and hilarity ensues. His story makes him the town hero until Nicholas Simmons, nephew of the deceased couple, sues Luther for libel. In the courtroom, Luther is made to look the fool, but the judge orders the courtroom to the Simmons House at midnight to allow Luther to prove his story. Nothing happens, of course, but after everyone except Luther leaves, the old organ begins to play again....what happens next will solve the mystery of the old Simmons house! The Ghost and Mr. Chicken definitely a fun movie to watch.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Countdown, Day 17: Halloween III: Season Of The Witch

2 weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting some of the Q&A panels at Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend convention in Orlando, Florida. Among the people I interviewed were the cast members of Halloween II. My wife had never really seen the Halloween series, so the interview inspired her to watch them over the past several days. Which brings to mind Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. Now, this of course is the only entry in the Halloween series that does not feature Michael Myers. Instead the film focuses on a large Halloween mask-making company, Silver Shamrock, that has plans to kill millions of American children with deadly masks. An apparent murder-suicide in a hospital emergency room leads to an investigation by the on-call doctor, which reveals a plot by an insane toymaker to kill as many people as possible during Halloween through an ancient Celtic ritual involving a stolen boulder from Stonehenge and Halloween masks.This film is definitely a weird one, but that doesn't mean it's all that bad. In fact, as a stand-alone film, separate from the rest of the series, it's actually not too bad of a film. I definitely enjoy Halloween III: Season Of The Witch , with it's theme of Halloween, the masks, the Silver Shamrock commercials..."15 days til Halloween, Silver Shamrock!"

Friday, October 16, 2009

Don't forget Monster Spookshow Radio!

With the countdown to Halloween, and all the recent posts I've been making, I don't want anyone to forget the reason my blog exists...Monster Spookshow Radio! And don't forget, the Halloween Spooktacular edition is available, so make sure you don't miss it! It'll make a great soundtrack for your Halloween festivities!

Countdown, Day 16: Lady In White (1988)

"The year is 1962. The place is Willowpoint Falls. Nobody talks about what happened in the school cloakroom 10 years ago. Now, in the dead of night, Frankie Scarlatti is going to find out why." Locked in a school closet during Halloween 1962, young Frankie witnesses the ghost of a young girl and the man who murdered her years ago. Shortly afterward he finds himself stalked by the killer and is soon drawn to an old house where a mysterious Lady In White lives. As he discovers the secret of the woman he soon finds that the killer may be someone close to him. Lady In White is a nice little ghost story, which takes place on Halloween, that features Lukas Haas as Frankie, and Mona herself, Katherine Helmond, as the Lady in White. It's not the scariest of ghost stories, but it does bring back a sense of the innocence Halloween used to have. I make it a point to watch Lady In White every October, you should as well!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Countdown, Day 15: Vintage Halloween Pin-Ups

Here are some great vintage Halloween Pin-Ups from days gone by! Enjoy!





Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Countdown, Day 14: The Ghouligans Super Show!

I met these guys 2 years ago at Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend, and boy am I glad I did! The Ghouligans Super Show is a throwback to the silly live action shows of yesteryear, like the old Sid & Marty Krofft shows, with some Groovie Goolies mixed in, and a dash of crude humor. They have a website,, as well as a MySpace page. Plus they have several videos on youtube, but you really should get the DVD from their website. If you're a fan of the classic monsters, and have a silly sense of humor, these guys really know how to tickle your funnybone!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Countdown, Day 13: Skeleton Frolic

The 1937 cartoon short, Skeleton Frolic, directer by Ub Iwerks and released by Colombia pictures, can be considered by most as a follow-up to Disney's famous Black and White cartoon short "The Skeleton Dance". As much as I love the original Disney cartoon, I have to admit I prefer Skeleton Frolic more, for several reasons. The obvious being the color. Secondly, the animation seems to be a bit better, the background images are wonderful, and it's just a better made cartoon all around, of course, in my opinion. Although both are incredibly similar in theme, and both featured the work of Ub Iwerks, Skeleton Frolic seems to have the upper hand.
Check out Skeleton Frolic, then compare it to Disney's Skeleton Dance (which I posted earlier this month) and tell me which one you prefer!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Countdown, Day 12: The Birds

Yesterday I had the special honor of interviewing Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds", at Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend horror convention in Orlando, Florida. She was a very charming woman, and it was definitely a pleasure speaking with her.

Although Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" isn't exactly considered a horror film, it does provide some very frightening moments. Hitchcock was considered the master of suspense, and rightly so, if you watch films like "The Birds" and "Psycho", you will understand how he earned that very appropriate title. If you haven't seen "The Birds", see it at once!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Countdown, Day 11: Halloween II

Today I had the privilege of conducting an interview panel with some of the original cast members of Halloween II, the follow-up to John Carpenter's Halloween. Interviewing Lance Guest, Leo Rossi, Ty Mitchell and "The Shape" himself, Dick Warlock, was definitely an honor for me, being such a huge fan of this film. Below is a picture from the interview, L-R: Ty Mitchell, Lance Guest, me, Dick Warlock and Leo Rossi.

I do have to say, in my personal opinion, that Halloween II is by far the best of the Halloween sequels and remakes, only because it follows the original movie very closely. everything from the cinematography, the writing, the mood of the film and acting, was matched, almost identically, to the original. In fact, if you watch Halloween and Halloween II back to back, they could easily pass as one continuous film. I suggest you watch both films back to back, it really would make for a great double feature!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Countdown, Day 10: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ED WOOD, JR.!

Today we celebrate the birthday of Mr. Ed Wood, Jr., the man who brought us such terribly wonderful movies such as Plan 9 From Outer Space, Bride of the Monster and Night of The Ghouls, as well as many others. Ed was a strangely fascinating man, whether it was his desire for dressing in women's clothing, or his poorly written and filmed movies, Ed Wood, Jr. is still one of horror's most infamous and celebrated directors. Read more about Edward D. Wood, Jr. on his Wikipedia page, and if you haven't seen his films, do so, even if for laughs!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Countdown, Day 9: John Carpenter's Halloween

It wouldn't be a Halloween countdown without the listing of the one and only John Carpenter's Halloween. The film that started it all, and although there have been many sequels and even a remake, none will ever compare to the original. I am sure I don't have to tell all you fans of the Halloween season about this movie, and I am assuming you have all seen it....if not, shame on you!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Countdown, Day 8: Vincent Price - The Tell-Tale Heart

This year, on January 19th, we celebrated the 200th birthday of one of horror's most distinguished and acclaimed authors, and one of my personal favorites, Edgar Allan Poe. Yesterday, October 7th, marked the anniversary of his death, 160 years ago. Despite the amazing works of literature he wrote, Edgar died practically a pauper. You can read all about it on his Wikipedia page.
To celebrate the anniversary of his death as well as his 200th birthday, I am posting these clips from the TV special "An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe", a one-man performance of Edgar Allan Poe stories marvelously performed by the one and only Vincent Price. Here, submitted for your approval, is parts 1 and 2 of Vincent performing one of my personal favorites, The Tell-Tale Heart. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Countdown, Day 7: Lonesome Ghosts

When I was a kid, I used to have this neat little toy called the Fisher-Price Movie Viewer. It was this cool little toy that included cartridges you would insert, and when you turned the handle it would play clips from movies, cartoons, etc.

I also had the cartridge for the 1937 Disney Cartoon Lonesome Ghosts. Of course the clips were short and didn't have any sound, so you would have to use your imagination. I would play the clips over and over to the point where it finally just broke.

Many years later I finally got the see the full length cartoon, including sound, and it was so wonderful to see it in all it's glory. Disney always had a knack for capturing the essence of all things spooky and Halloween-y. Whether is was Lonesome Ghosts, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or Skeleton Dance cartoons, all the way up to The Haunted Mansion ride at the theme parks, Disney never disappointed when it came to providing the spookiness! Here is the complete version of Lonesome Ghosts...enjoy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Countdown, Day 6: The Thing From Another World

Who hasn't watched John Carpenter's Halloween and not immediately followed it by watching Howard Hawk's The Thing From Another World? I mean, every time I watch Halloween, and the babysitting scene comes on, while Tommy Doyle is watching TV and opening credits to "The Thing" appear on his TV...I mean really, it is such a great movie! I can't resist watching it. The Thing From Another World is one of those classic movies you HAVE to watch, whether it's Halloween, Christmas or St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Countdown, Day 5: Trick 'R Treat

This highly anticipated and mysteriously unreleased film Trick 'R Treat is finally getting it's official release, albeit straight to DVD, tomorrow! Like many of you, I've been eagerly awaiting the release of Trick 'R Treat, and the buzz seems to be very positive. I know I will be one of the many making their way first thing tomorrow morning to buy my copy of the DVD. Here's the trailer....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Countdown, Day 4: The Ghost Breakers

I first saw this film when I was young, and I absolutely loved it. I was always a fan of Bob Hope (my godfather was the spitting image of Bob Hope, it was too weird!). I was so thrilled when they finally released it on DVD a few years back, I got tired of watching my worn VHS copy of it.This movie has some great laughs as well as some great chills, and is always one of my favorites to watch during the Halloween season, do yourself a favor if you like Bob Hope and ghosts and watch it!
Also, check out Scared Stiff starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. It was made a few years after The Ghost Breakers and it's a remake of The Ghost Breakers, almost line for line, but it still plays great with the comedy duo team of Martin and Lewis.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Countdown, day 3: Frankenstein (1931)

When I was a little boy living in New Jersey, my parents were up late one night and were watching TV so i joined them. Little did I know the movie they were watching would have a strong impact on me and mold me into the person and monster lover I am today...that film was Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff. Now I'm sure any horror fan worth his weight in fake blood has seen this film, and if they haven't, they aren't fit to carry the title of horror movie fan. This is a classic and should be required viewing for anyone who loves monster and horror movies! And of course, if you plan on watching this film, you certainly cannot watch it without following it with The Bride of Frankenstein! If you've never seen these films, by all means treat yourself, and if you have seen them, then treat yourself to them again!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Countdown, Day 2: The Skeleton Dance!

I love this cartoon, because it totally captures the essence of what Halloween is to me. I think Disney did a great job on this and for those who haven't seen it before (I'm assuming many of you have) I hope you enjoy it as much as I do every time I watch it! Carl Stalling's wonderfully spooky music is perfect. It brings back memories of my Halloween nights as a little boy...seems like nowadays Halloween doesn't have that innocent feel to it that it had when I was growing up. Here's a chance to re-live the innocence again!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Hell-o Boils and Ghouls!!

Welcome to the latest installment of


October is finally here and the countdown to Halloween officially begins! That also means the 2009 Halloween Spooktacular edition of Monster Spookshow Radio is now available! This month's installment is sure to give you a fright that is out of sight!

"Witches flying past on broomsticks,
Black cats leaping here and there,
White-robed spooks on every corner,
Mournful moaning in the air,

Goblins peering out of windows,
Spirit-things that rap and run-
But don't be scared-it's just October,
Having one last hour of fun!"

This month's tricks and treats are:

HELL ON HALLOWEEN - The Vincent Razorbacks
HALLOWEEN - Wade Denning & Kay Lande
NO COSTUME, NO CANDY - The Swingin' Neckbreakers
TRICK OR TREAT - The 4 Flops
HALLOWEEN - Stephen Lynch
SPOOKY CITY U.S.A. - The Misfits
HEADLESS HORSEMAN - Kay Kyser & his Orchestra, feat. Freddy Froghammer
HALLOWEEN - The Young Werewolves
HELLO-O-WEEN - The Swing Rays
HALLOWEEN - The Coffinshakers


And as always, please feel free to leave comments!!

Enjoy......and Happy Haunting!

George Van Orsdel

Countdown, Day 1: Tis' the Reason for the Season!

It's finally October, and we all know what that means...Halloween is right around the corner! My most favorite time of the year is rapidly approaching, so I figured I'd celebrate October and Halloween this year by posting several blogs featuring some of my favorite Halloween themed films and cartoons. But since today is the first day of the month, I figured I'd kick it off by posting this short video featured on the History Channel explaining the origins of Halloween. And don't worry, I will be posting my latest Monster Spookshow Radio as well! Enjoy!