Pictures from Super Megafest 2014

By Jason Harris

 

Super Megafest has come to New England once again. It’s a show that draws hundreds of people every year. If you couldn’t make it this year, you will have two chances next year. There will be two Super Megafests next year. A Spring Edition in April to be held at the Marlborough Trade Center in Marlborough, MA. This convention will be held over three days, April 17 through 19. The Fall Edition will once again be held at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel in Framingham, MA. November 21 and 22.

Dwight Schultz (The A-Team, Star Trek: The Next Generation).

Dwight Schultz (The A-Team, Star Trek: The Next Generation).

Denise Crosby (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Walking Dead).

Denise Crosby (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Walking Dead).

Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation).

Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation).

Lee Arenberg (Pirates of the Caribbean series).

Lee Arenberg (Pirates of the Caribbean series).

Paul Amos (Lost Girl).

Paul Amos (Lost Girl).

Me and Kris Holden-Reid (Lost Girl).

Me and Kris Holden-Reid (Lost Girl).

Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, Daredevil).

Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, Daredevil).

Jamie Kennedy (Scream, Scream 2).

Jamie Kennedy (Scream, Scream 2).

Ian Ziering (90210, Sharknado).

Ian Ziering (90210, Sharknado).

Wrestler Scott Hall.

Wrestler Scott Hall.

Wrestler Kevin Nash (Magic Mike, Rock of Ages).

Wrestler Kevin Nash (Magic Mike, Rock of Ages).

Kiss Demon.

Kiss Demon.

Vincent Pastore (The Celebrity Apprentice, The Sopranos).

Vincent Pastore (The Celebrity Apprentice, The Sopranos).

Aileen Quinn (Annie).

Aileen Quinn (Annie).

Debbie Gibson (Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark, Rock of Ages).

Debbie Gibson (Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark, Rock of Ages).

Author Stacey Longo and musician Gary DeCarlo.

Author Stacey Longo and musician Gary DeCarlo.

Musician Micky Dolenz signing an autograph for a fan.

Musician Micky Dolenz signing an autograph for a fan.

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Authors Della Rita Rossetti and Lory La Selva Paduano.

Authors Della Rita Rossetti and Lory La Selva Paduano.

Spawn.

Spawn.

A Dalek from Dr. Who.

A Dalek from Dr. Who.

Santa Darth Vader.

Santa Darth Vader.

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A Starfleet officer.

A Starfleet officer.

BB hanging with the Ghostbusters.

BB hanging with the Ghostbusters.

Spawn.

Spawn.

BB hanging with some superheroes.

BB hanging with some superheroes.

Movie Review: ‘Throg’

By Stacey Longo

Throg

I can promise you you’ve never seen anything quite like Throg (2004), a medieval dark comedy about an idiot who is destined to travel through time for the mere entertainment of a bunch of bored gods on Mount Olympus. Our hero, Throg himself, is a numbskull, yet he still seems to come out on top, despite the havoc that his bumbling ways wreaks.

We first meet Throg (Dana K. Lee) in a mental hospital, where he’s being tortured by Dr. Braun (Stephanie Hughes) and her demented henchman, Billy (Wayne Woodbury). Hughes showcases her stupendous overacting abilities in this role, causing one person who was watching the screening with me to whisper, “I don’t understand. Why didn’t Divine get top billing?” She’s a delight as the twisted tormenter, and makes Nurse Ratched look like a pussycat in comparison. Throg’s treatment at the mental hospital leads to a series of flashbacks, over which the major plot points of this fine film unfold.

We see Throg as a young man, at the moment when his adoptive parents abandon him. Before leaving Throg, his father (Throg the Elder, played by Dale T. Phillips) experiences a moment of tenderness. “Take this,” he says, handing his son a large stone. “It’s the rock we found you under.” This rock becomes a running gag and plot device throughout the movie.

The audience is then treated to a scene atop Mount Olympus, in which the gods decide, for fun, to each choose an avatar on Earth to represent them, and fight to the death. (Which, I’m sure, you and your friends do for giggles all the time.) There’s also a fool hanging out on Mount Olympus (missing from my Greek mythology studies, but hey, I’ll go with it in the interest of fine cinema), and he decides to insert himself into the game for his own amusement. The last avatar left alive wins (or, more accurately, the god that picked him wins). The avatars die horrific deaths one by one, until all that remain are Ares’ choice, Urshag the Destroyer, and the Fool’s avatar. That’s right: it’s poor, hapless Throg.

Over the course of the flashbacks, the audience watches Urshag pursue Throg through centuries of time, where it’s determined that Throg is neither a hero nor passably competent, but remarkably lucky. But his luck can’t hold out forever, and the Fool appears on Earth to help Throg hone his battle skills. What follows is a sidesplitting dance/music montage that makes every minute of this movie that you sat through up until this point completely worth it. Matt Power’s (who also directed, as Matthew T. Power?)  performance as the Fool is fabulously campy, and this sequence ranks up there with some of the finest Monty Python skits in its goofiness.

In the meantime, Urshag has a series of entertaining near misses in his quest to kill Throg. The flashbacks end as we see Throg’s admittance into the asylum. It turns out that when he’s confined to the mental hospital, Urshag can’t find him. This creates a bit of a quandary for the great destroyer, who finds that he’s losing his evil powers because he can’t find Throg. What’s a bad guy to do? He winds up responding to an infomercial for a complete makeover, and recreates himself as a hideous demonic clown.

While Urshag is discovering his inner John Wayne Gacy, Throg manages to escape the mental hospital, and after a “groundbreaking” (that’s the same as “bizarre,” right?) animation sequence, finds himself in modern times, working at White Meat Castle. That’s where Urshag finds him for their ultimate showdown. Action, gore, and hilarity abound as Throg and Urshag duel in a final light saber fight, which (spoiler alert!) one of them wins, quite by accident.

The movie pays homage to a wide range of cultural icons. In addition to Monty Python, you’ll spot nods to Xena: Warrior Princess, Highlander, Excalibur, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, among many, many others. (You’ll find yourself shouting out movie references frequently throughout the film. “Better Off Dead! “Empire Strikes Back!” I’m sure there’s a drinking game to be found in there somewhere.) In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I’m acquainted with Phillips, so I might be biased, but honestly, his performance as Throg the Elder is one of the best in the film. He channels his inner Shatner, delivering witty lines with such gusto that you’ll laugh out loud.

Throg actually won Best Cinematography at the 2004 Boston International Film Festival, so obviously, I’m not the only person who loved this thing. Absurd, hilarious, and silly, I can’t recommend Throg enough. It’s available now to rent or buy on Amazon. This low-budget horror/comedy/fantasy flick is absolutely worth an hour and a half of your life.


 Editor’s Note:

An interview with Throg director Matthew T. Power is here.

 

Pictures from Rhode Island Comic Con 2014

 

By Jason Harris

 

Actor Walter Koenig (Star Trek: The Original Series).

Actor Walter Koenig (Star Trek: The Original Series).

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Captain America and Casey Jones.

Captain America and Casey Jones.

Actor John Wesley Shipp. (Flash, Dawson's Creek, The Flash).

Actor John Wesley Shipp (Dawson’s Creek, The Flash (1990 and 2014).

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An Andorian Starfleet officer holding a tridimensional chessboard.

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Actor James Hampton (Teen Wolf).

Actor James Hampton (Teen Wolf).

Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins.

WWE star and author Mick Foley.

WWE star and author Mick Foley.

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Actress Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek: The Original Series).

Actress Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek: The Original Series).

Cobra Commander.

Cobra Commander.

Groot and Rocket.

Groot and Rocket.

Actor Seth Gilliam (The Walking Dead).

Actor Seth Gilliam (The Walking Dead).

Quint being eaten by Jaws.

Quint being eaten by Jaws.

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Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi and Dr. Strange.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi and Dr. Strange.

Captain America.

Captain America.

Actor Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Leverage).

Actor Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Leverage).

Frozen's Elsa.

Frozen’s Elsa.

Actor J. August Richards (Marvel's Agents of Shield, Angel).

Actor J. August Richards (Marvel’s Agents of Shield, Angel).

Actor Vic Mignogna (Star Trek Continues).

Actor Vic Mignogna (Star Trek Continues).

Mirror Universe Spock.

Mirror Universe Spock.

Actress Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Starman).

Actress Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Starman). Photo by Stacey Longo.

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Actor William Forsythe (The Devil's Rejects, Dick Tracy).

Actor William Forsythe (The Devil’s Rejects, Dick Tracy).

Dick Tracy.

Dick Tracy.

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Actor Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13, True Romance).

Actor Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13, True Romance).

Kevin Smith.

Kevin Smith.

The Blues Brothers.

The Blues Brothers.

Actor Anthony Michael Hall (Weird Science, televison's The Dead Zone).

Actor Anthony Michael Hall (Weird Science, televison’s The Dead Zone). Photo by Stacey Longo.

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Steven Williams (Supernatural, The X-Files, Jason Goes to Hell).

Steven Williams (Supernatural, The X-Files, Jason Goes to Hell).

Actor Bobby Clark (Star Trek: The Original Series).

Actor Bobby Clark (Star Trek: The Original Series).

Batman.

Batman.

Actor John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and author Stacey Longo.

Actor John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and author Stacey Longo.

Spider-woman and Captain America.

Spider-woman and Captain America.

2014-11-02 10.19.34

The Dome of the Sci-fi Saturday Night podcast.

The Dome of the Sci-fi Saturday Night podcast.

2014-11-02 13.05.14

Princess Leia (Cosplayer Sarah Ann McGinnis)

Princess Leia (Cosplayer Sarah Ann McGinnis)

The alien marching band.

The alien marching band.

J. August Richards dancing with the alien band.

J. August Richards dancing with the alien band.

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Actor George Takei  (Star Trek: The Original Series).

Actor George Takei (Star Trek: The Original Series).

An Interview with ‘Throg’ Director Matthew T. Power

 

By Stacey Longo

 

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the release of the dark comedy, Throg, Stacey Longo caught up with director Matthew T. Power to discuss the ins and outs of what is arguably his masterpiece.Throg

SL: Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I think the first thing our Throg fans will want to know is, how did Throg come to be?

MTP: At a local indie film screening we actually showed a three-minute pilot scene of Throg walking into the Sword in the Stone scene in the woods, pulling the sword out and the stone, tossing the sword away and walking off with the stone. The audience went NUTS. So we (perhaps crazily) said  . . . Throg needs to be a movie!

By the way, here’s a link to an article on Throg special effects I wrote for Moviemaker magazine: http://www.moviemaker.com/archives/moviemaking/directing/articles-directing/chromakeying-can-change-your-life-2935/

SL: Had you directed or acted in anything prior to Throg?

MTP: Well, I had directed a few plays in college, and done a lot of acting. I trained at National Shakespeare Conservatory and the University of Maine, got my degree in theater . . . and my dad is a theater professor/director who was actually pals with Kurt Vonnegut. Tony Shalhoub was one of his acting students, too. I still do acting now and then—usually Shakespeare—I played Caliban in The Tempest at the Freeport Shakespeare Festival a couple of years ago, then Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night a year later. Recently I played the lead in an Irish stage drama called Someone to Watch Over Me.

SL: Well, that explains the Shakespearean undertones in Throg! You were able to get some fabulous actors for this film—Dana Lee, Stephanie Hughes, Dale Phillips, and your own performance as the Fool were among my favorites. Where did you find your cast?

MTP: Some were just old friends like Dana and Dale, who had done medieval reenactment with me for years … others were people I met in theater school, and others were anyone we could get to wear a pig suit! My friend Dennis Green — Urshag the Destroyer, the big villain — passed away this year. He was a gentle giant and we really miss him … so gentle that we sometimes had a hard time getting him to be “scary” in the part.

SL: That’s terrible news, and I’m sorry to hear it. Urshag was certainly a memorable part! Watching the movie, one gets the sense that you were all having a lot of fun filming Throg. What was shooting like?

MTP: Well, it took us four years to shoot it, mostly on weekends, and it was often fun and we laughed a lot, though it was also very exhausting. We had no crew really, so a handful of us: Melissa Ross, Lori Power, Wayne Woodbury and myself, had to lug lights, gear, costumes and so on everywhere we went and that started to wear after about the third year. For the last shoot, we rented an airplane to shoot Throg on that island getting hit by bird crap and we “missed” when we tossed the bird crap, and had to crawl on hands & knees scraping it out. That was the last straw for some of our poor crew—we needed it to end!

SL: What was the budget for this fine movie?

MTP: We paid the whole thing out of pocket, probably a total of about $35k over the whole period, which I attribute to my being in film school. We spread out the pain, in other words.

SL: Tell us about the Boston International Film award you won for Throg.

MTP: The award we won was for Best Cinematography, and I think it was in 2004. The movie also showed at the Magic Film Festival in Maine and the Rome International Film Festival in Georgia. We sort of annoyed all the “serious” filmmakers at that last one, because Throg got a huge front page write-up in the local paper, and I kind of agree with [the other filmmakers] that the films they had there were probably more important socially and, well, just better. But I did get a laugh out of some of the curves that Throg’s very short-lived popularity threw at us. I always looked at the movie as an in-house experiment, not something I’d want to show off to the world . . . I don’t take criticism or praise too seriously; that’s a good way to lose your creative drive.

SL: I think Throg fans everywhere are dying to know: are there any plans for a sequel?

MTP: Not to the film, but I’m really interested in making an interactive graphic comic that could include clips from the movie as a special bonus . . . and I think the Throg character could continue to have many adventures and maybe eventually his own web video series of shorts.

SL: Where can people go to learn more about you/your company/the movie?

MTP: Well, right now I don’t have a Throg website or anything up that tells much about the film. I have done a lot of other short videos since then, including a comedy that won Best Comedy at the Phoenix Film Festival, if people want to see other stuff I’ve done post-Throg.

The Sheriff’s Tale

Chelmsford School for Butlers

The Lost Mimes of Borneo

SL: Well, Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. We look forward to seeing your next endeavors, especially if they’re as enjoyable as Throg!

MTP: Thanks, Stacey.

Pictures from Vermont Comic Con, Part II

 

By Jason Harris

 

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Harley Quinn.

Writer/artist Bob Layton

Writer/artist Bob Layton.

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The Flash and Mr. Fantastic.

The Flash and Mr. Fantastic.

Writer/artist Matt Bessette.

Writer/artist Matt Bessette.

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Jareth the Goblin King and Sarah.

Jareth the Goblin King and Sarah.

Deadpool and Spider-man.

Deadpool and Spider-man.

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The Penguin.

The Penguin.

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Rick Grimes and a zombie.

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Authors Matt Spencer and Kristine Croto.

Authors Matt Spencer and Kristine Croto.

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Actress Melissa Cowan (The Walking Dead).

Actress Melissa Cowan (The Walking Dead).

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The Mighty Snorter table.

The Mighty Snorter table.

Pictures from Vermont Comic Con Part I

 

By Jason Harris

2014-10-27 18.46.10

 

Vermont Comic Con, the first ever comic con in Vermont, took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington over the weekend. The two-day convention was a huge success and will happen again next year, but on Labor Day weekend.

Comic book writer Brandon Barrows.

Comic book writer Brandon Barrows.

Arrow.

Green Arrow.

Freddy and Jason.

Freddy and Jason.

The Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Guardians of the Galaxy.

David Newall a.k.a. Mr. McFeely of Mister Roger's Neighborhood.

David Newall a.k.a. Mr. McFeely of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood talking to a young convention-goer.

Deathstroke and Deadpool.

Deathstroke and Deadpool.

The Gotham gang.

The Gotham gang.

Writer Jeremy Holt.

Writer Jeremy Holt.

The gaming room at Vermont Comic Con.

The gaming room at Vermont Comic Con.

The cosplayers of Hero Army Cosplay, out of Connecticut.

The cosplayers of Hero Army Cosplay, out of Connecticut.

Authors T.T. Zuma and Stacey Longo.

Authors T.T. Zuma and Stacey Longo.

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Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing

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Spider-woman and Black Widow.

Spider-woman and Black Widow.

Pictures from Rock and Shock 2014

 

By Jason Harris

 

The 11th Annual Rock & Shock has come to an end. It was another great year with celebrities, authors, books, and fans.

Actor Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

Actor Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

Author Stacey Longo and publisher Jim Dyer at the Books & Boos/Fenham Publishing table.

Author Stacey Longo and publisher Jim Dyer at the Books & Boos/Fenham Publishing table.

Jake Busey (Starship Troopers, The Frighteners)

Jake Busey (Starship Troopers, The Frighteners)

Actor/Director Tom Savini.

Actor/Director Tom Savini (From Dusk Till Dawn, Night of the Living Dead).

Author Mike Aloisi.

Author Mike Aloisi.

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Actress Lynn Lowry ( The Crazies, Cat People)

Actress Lynn Lowry (The Crazies, Cat People).

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Derek Mears (Friday the 13th and Halloween remakes)

Derek Mears (Friday the 13th remake)

2014-10-19 14.09.33

Artist/Publisher Derek Rook of Rough House Publishing and model/actress Sarah Michelle.

Artist/Publisher Derek Rook of Rough House Publishing and model/actress Sarah Michelle.

2014-10-19 11.44.02

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Author Dan Graffeo with his book, Halloween Night Fever.

Author Dan Graffeo with his book, Halloween Night Fever.

Actor John Ratzenberger (Cheers).

Actor John Ratzenberger (Cheers).

2014-10-17 20.41.19

Actor Brad Dourif (Child's Play).

Actor Brad Dourif (Child’s Play).

Author Stacey Longo and actress Fiona Dourif (Curse of Chucky)

Author Stacey Longo and actress Fiona Dourif (Curse of Chucky).

2014-10-19 12.31.08

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Juno of Juno's Place.

Juno of Juno’s Place.

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WWE wrestler/actor Roddy Piper (They Live).

WWE wrestler/actor Roddy Piper (They Live).

2014-10-19 13.58.04

Actor Alex Vincent (Child's Play, Child's Play 2).

Actor Alex Vincent (Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2).

2014-10-19 12.31.21

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William L. Bozarth and Laura D. James, authors of Spooky Skwerl Stories.

William L. Bozarth and Laura D. James, authors of Spooky Skwerl Stories.

2014-10-19 11.45.13

Books and Boos Attends Rock and Shock for the First Time

Rock abd Shock 11

Books & Boos will be sharing space with Fenham Publishing this weekend at Rock & Shock, which runs from Oct. 17 through 19. Publisher Jim Dyer will be representing Fenham Publishing and author Stacey Longo will be on-hand to sign her books (Secret Things, Insanity Tales) at the Books & Boos table. Longo is also a movie reviewer and writer for Jason Harris Promotions. She will be on the Writing panel with Joe Knetter at 12 p.m. on Saturday.2014-10-03 12.13.50

‘O Little Town of Deathlehem’ is Horror for the Holiday Season

 

By Stacey Longo

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If you’re wondering what to get the horror fan in your family this holiday season, look no further than Grinning Skull Press’s O Little Town of Deathlehem, a robust collection of holiday horror stories. Edited by Michael J. Evans and Harrison Graves, this anthology, is sure to please the most twisted of souls.

Starting off strong, the anthology opens with “One of His Own” by Catherine Grant, a Krampus tale that offers an almost tender-hearted look at the Christmas demon. Almost. It’s followed by “Christmas Wine” by Matt Cowan, a fun little story about having to make a terrible choice around the holidays. As you turn the page to the next story, and the next, you’ll be happy to realize that each tale is a delightful holiday present of its own.

Other personal favorites in this collection include “All I Want For Christmas” by Raymond Gates, about a writer struggling to finish his novel who unwittingly accepts help without considering the source. John Boden’s “The Antiphon” was a fabulous, lighthearted look at what can happen if you make a spelling mistake when addressing a letter to the big guy at the North Pole. And “Special Delivery” by Simon Bradley reveals a different, more human, and not always jolly side to dear old Saint Nick that you won’t soon forget.

Overall, O Little Town of Deathlehem is an enjoyable read of high-quality stories that is sure to please the hardest people to buy for on your Christmas list this year.