TV Review: The Strain Season One (2014)

The Strain pic 3With the second season having started this summer, here are a few words about a show that I noticed a lot of people are missing out on.  The Strain is a horror drama TV series based on the book series of the same name written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.  This particular review covers the entire first series as a whole.

Though I’d heard of the TV series as well as the books, I’d never actually dove into either until Hulu had the complete first season available.  I saw a few mentions of it via Facebook friends, and when I noticed el Toro’s name attached to it I decided to give it the ole’ three-episode trial run–something my wife and I came up with.  Giving a series a three-episode chance should develop the characters enough for you to be emotionally invested in the show and be enjoying the experience.  And if it doesn’t, well then it’s probably not worth your time or anybody else’s and it’s time to move on.  After watching the pilot, there was no need for the three-episode trial.  I would be completing the season.

TV and video streaming series have become addictive, dark soap operas.  The writing and character development in many of these shows in the last decade have been quite impressive.  People are revolving their social and recreational activities around episodes of American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Hannibal, and others like it, more than ever.  Though The Strain may not be reeling in the masses like a few of the aforementioned, in my opinion it rates up there with one of the best made-for–TV horror series to ever grace a living room screen.

The Strain pic 1The show contains all the gore we’ve been accustomed to in today’s modern TV that The Walking Dead brought with it.  The story brings your traditional Nosferatu type and fuses it with a modern-world apocalypse via viral infection–a strain that turns you into a blood sucking nightwalker with a tongue that truly shames Gene Simmons’ own appendage in comparison.

The Strain beings with a mysterious event involving an idle commercial plane that has safely landed but with no signs of life on the inside.  Enter the Center for Disease Control, and the main characters it brings, with an attempt to make sense of it all.  Things slowly unfold, and in the meantime New York City is being taken over by the spread of the evil-born strain.

The series bounces around various characters and their subplots.  And while some shows bore their audience with at least one subplot that feels more like filler than a functional building block, The Strain manages to keep us interested in each person’s life.  The characters in The Strain feel nearly equally exciting as we explore their background, their flaws, and their struggles with each playing an important role in the unfolding of the story.  However, I do have one problem with the show:  The computer hacking mastermind.  This is where using a stereotype would have helped the believability.  I’m more apt to think someone who can take down the internet on a global scale is most likely filled with abhorrently awkward social skills and is probably not all that familiar with makeovers, exercise, or even the sun.  But we’re presented with a toned sex symbol with long, flowing locks and a great complexion.  It’s bothersome, but not enough to change the channel.

The Strain pic 2I’m one of these people who read and watch with pessimistic eyes.  I look for the bad in everything.  I’m just searching for an excuse not to like something.  It’s my own personal test I put things through.  I have high standards.  I’m drawn to loop holes and weak characters and stereotypes that don’t work; the whole time longing for originality, particularly anything that takes me for an unsuspecting ride.  The Strain provides a very enjoyable ride.

The show’s overall concept isn’t exactly innovative.  It takes our fascination with a zombie apocalypse and gives it to the vampires in the form of a visible contagion that at one point gave me an actual nightmare with the strain’s infectious worms burrowing in my own flesh.  The cursed worms…quite possibly the most disturbing element of the show.  For fans who have taken to The Walking Dead and are looking for another horror series, this show does not hold the same dark tone, and perhaps it’s even a bit more unbelievable.  But I think you’ll find that by even attempting to apply that three-episode trial run you’ll want to ride it all the way to the end.

Television Review: The Walking Dead Season 5 (2014)

norman-reedus-steven-yeun-the-walking-dead-season-5-01-2000x1000The fifth season of The Walking Dead picks up quickly from where the previous finale left off with our survivors discovering the terrible truth behind Terminus and quickly marches ahead almost like an odyssey through the zombie infested wasteland as characters meet tragic fates and an almost too good to be true opportunity tests their resolves as they struggle with the reconciliation with what life has made each of them over the last two years do to survive and whether they could ever reintegrate within civil society again. The zombie threat continues to be great as some characters are graphically eaten alive with shockingly greater amounts of gore than has been previously exhibited before. Perhaps it not really more gory, but it is the close ups in particular with one character that is simply disturbing because the actor playing the victim was the star of a popular sitcom on American broadcast television for several years.

The performances and casting are all up to the same quality we have come to expect from the previous seasons and one is left with great wonder for the sixth season to come which will debut in the States on AMC this October of 2015. All sixteen episodes are spread out across four Blu-Ray Discs with the majority of the extra value features found on the fifth disc. Each episode is presented in a gorgeous (1.78:1) broadcasts aspect ratio in full 1080p24fps, (where available), high definition resolution and English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Surround Sound as well as a French Language Dubbed Dolby Surround Soundtrack with English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and Spanish Language Subtitles encoded as options too.

The audio commentaries are informative and in some cases were recorded during the production of the sixth season with speakers sounding like they are in the same room despite very often the participants may be talking with one or more in Los Angeles and the rest on location in Georgia where the series is shot. The fifth season premiere features two episode length audio commentaries. One with Executive Producer Scott M. Completely and Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd while Makeup Effects Master and Series Director Gregory Nicotero does the other track with Actress Melissa McBride. On disc two, Steven Yeun, Michael Cudlitz, Christian Serratos, Lauren Cohan, Josh McDermitt, and Allanna Masterson participate in the commentary for the episode, “Self Help.”

wd5Chad Coleman and Gregory Nicotero deliver a screen specific audio commentary on disc three for the episode “What Happened and What’s Going On” while Norman Reedus, Sonequa Martin-Green participate with series Director Julius Ramsay participate in an episode commentary track and a third audio commentary with Greg Nicotero Tom Luse and Danai Gurrira making it a total of three episode length audio commentaries on disc three. The season finale episode features optional audio commentary with Gregory Nicotero and Scott M. Gimple on disc four.

A reel of deleted scenes (16:01), sixteen making of spots as well as sixteen inside featurettes are also included along with featurettes covering the making of Alexandria (9:45), the character arcs of Beth (4:20), Bob (4:54), Noah (4:28) and Tyreese (6:33), featurettes of a day on the set for Actors Michael Cudlitz (7:58) and Josh McDermitt (7:56) and the liquified walkers sequence (4:35) encompass what is on the fifth disc. A few short AMC TV spots for the upcoming season premieres of Comic Book Men and The Walking Dead and series premieres of Fear The Walking Dead and Into The Badlands are on the first disc too. The interactive menus are all well rendered and easy to navigate. An insert containing a limited time only redemption code for an Ultraviolet Digital Copy of Season Five of The Walking Dead and a twenty page booklet of tie-in merchandise are included within the blue BD case too.

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season is available now at retailers on and offline either on Blu-Ray Disc or DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.


Investigators of paranormal activity believe hauntings occur when a place has experienced violence, trauma, or intense emotion. In residual hauntings, fragments of an event are imprinted on the psychic space of a place. Other hauntings come from restless spirits who remain trapped near the place where they died. Most hauntings involve noises (footsteps, thumps, whisperings, animal sounds), smells, cold breezes, feelings of being touched, or articles being moved. In some cases, witnesses observe ghostly re-enactments of past events.

The site of a bloody Civil War battle during which 50,000 soldiers died in three days in July, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania has certainly experienced violence and intense emotion. Visitors report hearing gunfire, cannons, screams, drums, music, and horses. Some smell peppermint (used by women of the day to combat the odor of rotting corpses). Others see apparitions of wounded soldiers. One group of foreign tourists witnessed what they thought was the re-enactment of a battle at the summit of Little Round Top, only to learn that no such activity had taken place that day. Haunted Gettysburg buildings include Rose Farm, Pennsylvania Hall, and Hummelbaugh House – where, it is said, Brigadier General William Barksdale of the Confederate army and his loyal hunting dog died.

Queen-Mary-HotelThe Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach, California, is a reconditioned ocean liner that served as a troop ship during World War II. Sitting in dry dock since 1967, it is considered by some to be the most haunted hotel in America. Visitors report sensing or seeing the ghost of a young crewman named John Pedder, who was crushed to death by watertight door number 13 in 1966. Other apparitions include a woman in a white evening gown, a gentleman in a 1930’s suit, and two women in 1930’s swimsuits who supposedly drowned in the now-drained first class swimming pool. A little girl named Jackie, who may have drowned in the second class swimming pool, was recorded on electronic voice phenomena (EVP) by paranormal investigators.

stanley hotelAuthor Stephen King was inspired to write his novel The Shining during his stay at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, in 1974. The luxurious hotel opened in 1909 and had developed a reputation for being haunted by the 1970’s. Lord Dunraven, the Irish earl who had sold the land on which the hotel was built, is said to haunt room 407. Lights go on and off, and visitors report seeing the man’s ghost. Ghosts of children run and play in the fourth floor hallway. The man who built the hotel, one F. O. Stanley, has appeared to guests in the lobby, bar, and billiard room. A manor house, carriage house, and concert hall on the property have also experienced paranormal activity.

waverly-hills-sanatorium-506685d91d45e04837000145The Waverly Hills Sanatorium opened in 1926 in Louisville, Kentucky, to treat victims of tuberculosis. Tens of thousands of patients died there before the sanatorium closed in 1961. The building sat abandoned for years, until new owners renovated it and opened it to the public. Visitors have reported food smells coming from the kitchen, slamming doors, screams, shapes passing in and out of doorways, the ghosts of children, a man in a white coat, and an old woman with her wrists in chains screaming, “Help me, somebody save me!” Investigators including Troy Taylor of the American Ghost Society have recorded sudden changes of temperature, unusual fluctuations in EMF meter readings, and other paranormal activity.

These and many other haunted places offer visits or tours, so you can go ahead and experience them for yourself – if you dare!

Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft

One of the twentieth century’s most influential horror HP Lovecraftwriters, H.P. Lovecraft, would have celebrated his 125th birthday today, if he hadn’t taken Death’s hand to start a new adventure on the Ides of March, 1937. (Howard Phillips Lovecraft was almost 47 years old when he died.)

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Lovecraft began writing horror stories at the age of eight.  It wasn’t until he turned 31 that he published in a professional magazine. Three years later, he became a regular contributor to “Weird Tales” magazine. Unfortunately, this ingenious author of “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Shadow Out of Time,” and “At the Mountains of Madness” found supporting himself with the written word illusive.

As a child, Lovecraft experienced hardships. When Lovecraft was three years old, his father Winfield Scott Lovecraft succumbed to psychosis and was institutionalized. Winfield remained in the Butler Hospital until his death in 1898. Young Lovecraft recited poetry by the age of three and wrote complete poems by six. His grandfather Whipple Van Buren Phillips encouraged Lovecraft to read such classics as “The Arabian Nights” and “Bulfinch’s Age of Fable,” and he retold gothic tales of terror to his grandson. Lovecraft suffered Night Terrors.

Lovecraft started school late, and he missed a lot of school due to illness. He left school in 1908 without graduating after having a nervous breakdown caused in part by his aversion to mathematics. After ending his academic pursuits, he lived for five years isolated with his mother. He wrote poetry and in 1913, a pulp magazine published a critique of Fred Jackson’s love stories. The ensuing debate garnered the attention of the United Amateur Press Association, and he joined the UAPA in 1914. He published a story, “The Alchemist” in “The United Amateur” in 1916. He mentored and corresponded with many contemporary writers, including Robert Bloch (Psycho).

His Mother died in Butler Hospital in May, 1921. For two years, he married Sonia Greene and moved to New York. After, he returned to Providence. There, he lived in a Victorian house on Barnes Street. (He used the address in “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.”) He fostered a friendship with Harry Houdini.

He died impoverished of cancer. In 1977, his fans bought a tombstone of his own in Swan Point Cemetery. Inscribed thereon is the quote, “I am Providence.”

H.P. Lovecraft’s writing continues to influence writers, including Stephen King. He is called upon by modern writers to serve as a character of cunning, occult knowledge, and guile.


Thriller2 December, 1983. American Teens curled on their couches, nestled beneath soft blankets, filled with anticipation the night MTV aired American recording artist Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Clocking in at 13:42 minutes, the mini-movie told a story wrapped around the song whose original title was “Starlight.”

The music video for the song from the album of the same name began with a disclaimer, lest its viewers think Mr. Jackson an occultist. “Any similarities between people living, dead, or undead are purely coincidental.” (Despite this warning, religious types criticized the performance for violence and occult influences.)

John Landis (Of “An American Werewolf in London” fame) directed. Rick Baker provided EFX, Elmer Bernstein the ‘scary music,’ and Rod Temperton wrote the story.

Ola Ray portrays Jackson’s love interest, first as a character in a 50’s style horror flick. “I’m not like other boys,” Jackson explained after she agreed to be his girl in the flick. The moon transformed him. Ola left the theater, disgusted. “It’s just a movie,” he teases with the song as they walk past a graveyard. Vincent Price “raps.” The dead arise, reminiscent of such horror classics as “Night of the Living Dead.”
Michael Jackson collaborated with Michael Peters to choreograph the distinctive, jerking dance numbers culminating with a group of zombies. MTV nominated “Thriller” for 6 MTV Video Awards. It won 3. In 2009, The Library of Congress chose “Thriller” as the first music video to add to National Film Registry.

Filmed in New York and Los Angeles, the video cost $500,000 to make, according the documentary “The Making of Thriller.” Vincent Price filmed his contribution in two takes. It earned a position on the Billboard hot 100 at its release, and “Thriller” with its disco-funk pop fusion of baseline, synthesizer, and sound effects remains one of the top 10 “Best Halloween Songs” according to Billboard and AOL Radio Blog. In 1999, it was appointed to the MTV 100 Greatest Videos.

[Verse 1:]
It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes,
You’re paralyzed

‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night
And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to strike
You know it’s thriller, thriller night
You’re fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight

[Verse 2:]
You hear the door slam and realize there’s nowhere left to run
You feel the cold hand and wonder if you’ll ever see the sun
You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination
But all the while you hear the creature creepin’up behind
You’re out of time

‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night
There ain’t no second chance against the thing with forty eyes
You know it’s thriller, thriller night
You’re fighting to survive inside a killer, thriller tonight

Night creatures call
And the dead start to walk in their masquerade
There’s no escapin’ the jaws of the alien this time (they’re open wide)
This is the end of your life

[Verse 3:]
They’re out to get you, there’s demons closing in on every side
They will possess you unless you change the number on your dial
Now is the time for you and I to cuddle close together
All thru the night I’ll save you from the terrors on the screen,
I’ll make you see

That it’s a thriller, thriller night
‘Cause I can thrill you more than any ghost would dare to try
Girl, this is thriller, thriller night
So let me hold you tight and share a killer, Diller, chiller
Thriller here tonight

[Rap – by the incomparable Vincent Price:]
Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize your neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell.
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller.

[Into maniacal laugh, in deep echo]

Check out the THRILLER video:

Movie Review: Final Girl (2015)

Final GirlAbigail Breslin portrays a young would be assassin trained from childhood by her mentor (Wes Bentley), who is assigned the task of killing a bunch of tuxedo wearing high school sadists who every night hunt young blond women for sport. This is her first assignment where she will be flying solo as they say and she must use were wits to lure in and single handedly defeat each boy. Final Girl was directed by renowned celebrity photographer Tyler Shields, who wanted to make a thriller without any CGI and instead uses evocative lighting and atmosphere to bring the surreal world to life. Visually the forest scenes look great and there are some bizarre instances where characters imagine things they think are in the forest to torment that lend gravitas to the film. The problem here is while Shields creates a surreal world of barren training grounds, nostalgic diners, and spooky moonlit woods, the story suffers from a lack of meaningful momentum. We know very little to practically nothing about Breslin’s or Bentley’s characters and we know even less about the boys other than they pick up and target young blonds out of what appears to be the same diner over and over again while wearing tuxedos and then take them into a clearing where they give the girl a head start while the boys, who one must keep in mind are still wearing immaculate tuxedos follow each with their weapon of choice.

One boys uses a bat, another carries an axe, one carries a gun while the other seems to prefer using his bear hands to strangle the women. How no one would have caught these for teenage murderers by now is never explained. They certainly stick out like soar thumbs. Instead they are basically singled out to be hunted by Beslin’s character as her graduation assignment. Thus there is really not much to like or care about here because the film’s title says it all. Last Girl. Life she fails then she will be another victim. However since we know little about her and her trainer, we can root for her to beat the boys, but the film puts the odds in her favor early on so the killers really never have a chance and the viewer always know the girl will be triumphant. What would have been more interesting is to have her capture the boys and bring them to justice instead of just killing them one by one with the help of psychedelics the killers have no idea they have ingested.

So the boys hallucinate and Breslin’s character takes them out one by one and that is basically it. No revelation or payoff. Just a straight flat line with a slither of a story and flat characters. Final Girl is nothing but style over substance with the exception of Abigail Breslin’s performance. She can look scared and make it believable without coming off like a scream queen. Bentley just sleep walks his way through the film and his talent seems wasted.

Final Girl opened both theatrically and on Video On Demand on August 14, 2015.

Check out the Final Girl trailer:

Movie Review: Hocus Pocus (1993)

hocus-pocusDisney Studios released its family-friendly film “Hocus Pocus” on 16 July, 1993 to lack-luster reviews. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy portrayed the Sanderson Sisters, witches who brewed potions to suck the youth from the children of Salem, Massachusetts. The town folk discovered their nefarious plans and hanged them, but not before the sisters killed one girl, Emily Binx, transformed her brother Thackery Binx into an immortal black cat, and unleashed a curse on the people of the town.

Their vow to return after 300 years required a virgin lighting a black flame candle on the night of All Hallow’s Eve. Enter Max Dennison (Omri Katz), unhappy transplant from Los Angeles. He and his sister, Dani (Thora Birch) embark on a Halloween adventure with Max lighting the candle to frighten and impress Alysson (Vinessa Shaw) The witches returned with a desire to punish Salem by stealing their children’s life essences, starting with Dani Dennison.

Joining in the fun, Gary and Penny Marshall entertain the witches as they learn to adapt to the changes of the twentieth century. Thieving trick or Treaters confuse Mary Sanderson’s caninie-like ability to sniff out children. A bus driver cavorts with the “lovely ladies,” promising them children, but maybe not on the first attempt. The eldest and smartest Sanderson sister, Winnie, raises her ex-lover Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) from hallowed ground to aid their pursuit of the kids.

hocus-pocus-1993-01-gThe inspiration for the movie arose when producer David Kirscner told the story to his children. Encouraged by the kids’enthusiasm,, he published the tale in “Muppets Magazine” before transforming it into a film. Kenny Ortega directed the campy fun. Mark Shaiman arranged Bette Midler’s “I Put a Spell on You” which set the village adults to dancing. James Horner’s “Sarah’s Theme” (also known as “Come Little Children”) finds a haunting lyricism when sung by Sarah Jessica Parker. John Debney produced the film score.

The movie is set in beautiful Salem, Massachusetts and filmed there, in California, and in Marblehead, Massachusetts. To create the talking black cat Thackery Binx, film makers used dozens of real cats and audio animatronics. September, 1994 saw initial VHS USA release Since then, the film has DVD and Blue Ray versions available. The film hit foreign markets in October, 1994 under the name “Abracadabra.”

Despite negative reviews from critics, this 96 minute family-friendly movie was nominated for several Saturn awards in 1994, including best effects, best film-fantasy, best actress (Bette Midler), best supporting actress (Kathy Najiminy), and winning Best Costumes. At the Young Artist Awards, Thora Birch won best youth actress, with the rest of the young cast garnering nominations. With rebroadcasting by Disney and ABC, particularly their “Days of Halloween” specials, the film has obtained a cult status. In July, 2014, rumors circulated of a sequel.

Cthulhu, Zombie & Mummy, Oh My! Our Second Wave of Horror Wax Warmers!

We are very pleased to announce our terrifying second wave of wax warmers! The Scent of Cthulhu, Zombie Apocalypse and Mummy Dearest are currently being produced! They will be available in November, but you can pre-order them now! Just add scented wax and, hey, we have that now, too!

cthulhu (1)The Scent of Cthulhu:  This wax warmer was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. Warm your favorite wax scent on top of this slumbering behemoth of doom. But be careful not to awaken him. For if you call, he will come!

Zombie Apocalypse:zombie (1) Waiting on that Zombie Apocalypse that we all know is coming? Tide yourself over with this great zombie wax warmer. Want to know why our zombie is the perfect warmer? He always has wax on his brain! 



mummyMummy Dearest: Mummy lovers will come completely unraveled with this mummy design wax warmer! Melt your favorite wax in your own petrified pharaoh without the hassle of an Egyptian curse! 



monster melts 1-1Monster Melts Series 1: The Graveyard Gang: Haunt your favorite wax warmer with these monstrous melts. Create a spine chilling aura of pleasing fragrance at the witch’s hour or any time of day. Store in a cool place. Halloween Forevermore recommends storing the pack in the refrigerator about 30 min to 1 hour prior to use. Under these conditions, wax shapes will firm so that breakage and disfigurement will be avoided when they are popped out of the pack for use.

Movie Review: Harbinger Down (2015)

harbinger-down-posterNearly thirty years ago a ship crashed somewhere in the arctic. Now the crew of the a crab fishing ship Harbinger has discovered the remains without realizing the deadly organism that is aboard. Harbinger Down is a science fiction horror film directed by Alec Gillis as an homage to classics of the cinematic sub genre such as Alien and John Carpenter’s The Thing. The film also calls to mind some lesser films in the sub genre like Leviathan and Virus. In 2012 Oscar winning Character FX studio Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc., posted a video of their animatronic effects that were cut from the film The Thing 2011. Their incredible work had been replaced with CGI. ADI co-owner and writer/director of Harbinger Down took note of the fan outrage. Through Kickstarter the film became the highest publicly funded science fiction and horror picture in the history of Kickstarter. The film as cast well with Lance Henriksen, leading the ensemble, which also includes Camille Balasamo, Matt Winston, Reid Collums, Milla Bjorn, Winston James Francis, Mike Esteem, Giovannie Samuels and Edwin H. Bravo. Tom Woodruff Jr. serves as a Producer.

While the cast tries their best to engage the viewer, the majority are little more than flat “Red Shirts” and the monster is a disappointment because in trying to make a film that celebrates practical effects, what they deliver is a largely generic looking mess and forget that monsters don’t have to be beautiful, but in addition to being scary, they should look cool and spark the audience’s imagination such as the Yautja in Predator, the Xenkmorph in the Alien franchise and chameleon monstrosity of John Carpenter’s The Thing. The creature isn’t really scary and since the characters are flat, one doesn’t feel heavily invested in them aside from the faces one recognizes, but when one thinks back to the characters in the films this motion picture pays homage too, we only saw glimpses of the monster and each glimpse made the audience want to see more until the final terrifying reveal. The characters in the films even if they were not always three dimensional, they had a distinct quality to them and each character had a certain look that added personality and thus even if we don’t know who it is that is being devoured, we at least can remember who they were by face and it did not matter if the cast had one or two recognizable stars and the rest were largely unknowns.

HD2The monster should have been interesting. The characters should have been more distinctive and the story should have been scary. Considering Amalgamated Dynamics is one of the best practical effects producers in the world, I expect a lot better than what was presented here. Writing a story and developing distinctive characters does not cost anything except time. So despite the best intentions, I am afraid what should have been a showcase for practical effects relevancy in modern cinema ends up being a squandered opportunity that should have been thought out more.

Harbinger Down opens in theaters and VOD on Friday, August 7, 2015 and will be followed with a DVD release on September 1, 2015.

Check out the trailer!

Article: Wearing the Dead

wtd2Death. When the Reaper performs his duty, many survivors seek to fill a gulf in their lives. They immortalize their loved ones, hold on to memories. Some even fashion the loved ones’ remains into art.

This infatuation with preserving memories is embedded within our cultures. Cemeteries and eulogies serve as testimonies. The Victorians famously kept hair and crafted intricate works of art including everything from braided watch bands to broaches. They posed the deceased for post-mortem photographs and wore the images in over-sized lockets.

These days, the ashes of a loved one can be compressed into gemstones and diamonds to create jewelry. Such transformations cost between $3,000 to over $30,000 dollars. Watches specially designed around such a diamond mark time for the grieving. Custom-made broaches or pendants can hold ashes, some crafted into intricate shapes. Children can find comfort carrying bits of their departed loved ones housed within stuffed animals. Fingerprints can be retrieved from a body and crafted into dog tags, keychains, and more. Companies include human remains in the crafting of beads for bracelets and necklaces, colors customized to suit the personalities of the departed or the taste of the bereaved.
Instead of remaining in the cemetery, the dearly departed have left visible marks on their loved ones. Many people use their bodies to convey loving remembrances of their departed, transforming their bodies into memorials with tattoos. From initials and names to miniature footprints and portraits, people carry their grief in this personal way.

wtd1Many immortalize their deceased loved ones with tattoos. College student Dylan Black’s ankle bears her mother’s initials surrounded by angel wings. At least once a week, Chris Blick at American Tattoos in Verona, Pennsylvania captures likenesses in portraiture on clients’ skin. Talented tattoo artist Rich Ware at Altered Images Tattoo in Maine tells of one client who carried his father’s ashes with him everywhere. Ware incorporated some of the ashes into the black ink, and now the client carries his father within his own skin. The tattoo depicts a four-armed alien hanging from a cross before Stonehenge. Said Ware, “The alien is a nod to Frank Frazetta.”

In these ways, people cleverly preserve special memories of important people and carry them tangibly, all in an attempt to thereby deal with mortality and loss.