Jason Thorson is a horror fan, through and through, adorning his walls with horror movie posters, lining his shelves with macabre books and collectibles, and boasting an irrational monthly comic book bill. Honestly, the fact that he’s managed to find a wife is worthy of mention on Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
Jason is the editor-in-chief of RavenousMonster.com and he's a regular contributor to FlamesRising.com, WormwoodChronicles.com, and DriveThruComics.com. Having studied film and fiction in college and sporting a writing degree with an emphasis on screenwriting, Jason’s first love is the almighty horror flick. He’s also served on the editorial board of the Beloit Fiction Journal which publishes work by emerging writers from around the world and he was an A&E writer for Core Weekly, Madison Wisconsin’s alt rag aimed at the 30-and-under set.
When Jason’s not watching movies or writing about them you can find him playing drums for the death metal band, Fogcrawler.
Posted on June 24, 2011 by Jason Thorson
John Morrone, veteran writer for the horror webzine Bloody-Disgusting.com, is unleashing his musical talents on the world in the form of Zombies Unlimited. According to the official website, Zombies Unlimited is dedicated to creating low-cost, original music for independent horror and sci-fi movie soundtracks. This music comes to us in the form of techno, a genre I associate with cheerleading, raves, and clubs I wouldn’t patronize. But make no mistake, Zombies Unlimited is creating some of the most unique techno and electronica possible and as a longtime professional musician of the old school variety, I certainly appreciate ZU’s musical aesthetic despite my unfamiliarity with the tropes of these genres.
Posted on March 24, 2011 by Jason Thorson
It’s lonely being someone who takes horror so seriously, it borders on being a clinically definable malady. It’s rare to come across another human being whose affliction rivals my own. But alas, I have found him and his name is Steven P. Unger, author of the book “In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide (Second Edition)”. In fact, he and I could rightfully start a club for people like us, only I fear we’d spend our days arguing over who gets to be vice president, because being the president of such a club would be more than a bit embarrassing.
But I digress.
Unger’s book is a thorough analysis of the people and places that comprise Bram Stoker’s Dracula, both within the text and without.
Posted on January 4, 2011 by Jason Thorson
Another year’s in the books, one spent on the permanent and exhausting search through the horror movie scrap heap looking for the elusive hidden treasures. Unfortunately, this past year was a weak one. There wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about. Despite all the bad flicks, a few managed to rise above the fray, giving me hope for 2011.
As is usually the case, there were several remakes to take with a grain of salt. Some of them furthered the atrophying of the horror genre as it relates to studio backed filmmaking, others were much more horrible than horrifying, and all of them were unnecessary.
Posted on December 11, 2010 by Jason Thorson
We have a new essay for Zombie Week here at Flames Rising. Reviewer Jason Thorson tells us a little bit about indie films and the zombie/survival horror genre.
Horror and low budget filmmaking have always had a symbiotic relationship. But when it comes to really low budget filmmaking, the type that employs guerrilla tactics, stars your friends and acquaintances, and is shot in your mom’s backyard, well that’s zombie territory. Micro budgeted indie horror and the walking dead go together like guitar lessons and Smoke on the Water – the ends require modest means.
The reasons for this cozy relationship of convenience are pretty obvious, mostly involving the “bang for your buck” ratio. With no resources, including money, equipment, and experience, what would the scope of your story be if you decided to shoot a western, for example? What would your costumes look like? Locations? Guns? Horses?
Posted on October 28, 2010 by Jason Thorson
I’m a fan of most Halloween activities, but there’s one that I hold a little nearer and dearer than the rest. I love visiting haunted attractions! When done well they’re fully immersive, interactive, and live action horror stories – the ultimate sensory stimulation and overall inspiration for horror fans and horror artists alike. My enthusiasm for the haunt manifested at an early age. I grew up in Beloit, Wisconsin – the quintessential post-industrial Midwestern city. Not a lot to do, but when October shambled around every year my fellow citizens got outright giddy about celebrating the time of year when everything dies, and frankly, resembled more closely our lovely little city.
Posted on September 15, 2010 by Jason Thorson
Eyes Beyond is an independent short film starring, written and directed by Canadian filmmaker, Daniel Reininghaus. Many movies that share its level of independence have glaring problems; however, Eyes Beyond emerges as a surprisingly superior romp through depravity.
The film’s premise, without giving too much away, is as follows: Brothers, Adam (Evan Eisnstadt) and Gabriel Morales (Daniel Reininghaus) invite their neighbors over for dinner. As members of the Rogers family, Henry (Robert Nolan), Abigaile (Danielle Barker), and Vivian (Kelly-Marie Murtha), make themselves comfortable and conversation ensues, things quickly spin out of control – way out of control. But things are rarely as they seem.
Eyes Beyond does a lot of things very well. First and foremost, it looks and sounds fantastic. The film’s technical attributes are very polished. Cinematographer, Michael Jari Davidson capably captures dynamic shots – warm and primary colors against white backgrounds, lush green-lined yards with depth, dim natural light, bright artificial light, etc – with the same consistency and quality one expects in projects boasting much higher budgets.
Posted on August 21, 2010 by Jason Thorson
Next up for Cthulhu Week we asked reviewer Jason Thorson to tell us about his favorite Lovecraft-inspired movies. Not an easy task to say the least, but we were certainly willing to risk his sanity for this investigation.
Read on to learn of the challenges he faced…
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to give you some background on what you’re currently reading – what’s now become a ranting blog on H.P. Lovecraft film adaptations. My initial intention was to write a feature about the nature of Lovecraftian flicks and then list the five best examples. However, I immediately anticipated some difficulty. My original thesis was that most of these films don’t work, but surely there have been so many attempts to adapt Lovecraft’s work that I’d certainly be able to find five movies worthy of recommendation. Right?
Posted on June 27, 2010 by Jason Thorson
There have been several hundred vampire movies made over the last 90 years. The vast majority of these are uninspired clones of the archetypal blood sucker portrayed by Bela Lugosi in 1931. However, there’s a small minority of vampire flicks that are ambitious in their recipes of blood-fiend lore. Some of these movies are great, others are merely good, but all of them are unique, entertaining, and deserving recognition based on their own merits.
Here are some recommendations:
Posted on June 22, 2010 by Jason Thorson
To attain Scream Queen status, one must be beautiful. Of course, talent helps too. Now, combine those two attributes with brains and incredible tenacity and you have Brooke Lewis – one of horror film’s fastest rising starlets. I was fortunate enough to interview Brooke recently to discuss her recent successes including her dual Golden Cob nominations, her latest projects such as the sick new flick, Slime City Massacre, and some of the exciting new projects (some of which are actually old favorites – here’s lookin’ at you, Ms. Vampy!) that Brooke will tackle next. Please read on, fellow horror fans:
Posted on June 9, 2010 by Jason Thorson
In horror circles, one of the things the last decade will be remembered for is a zombie renaissance. The walking dead have been everywhere, from the big screen to books and from comics to games. The dead literally have been taking over the world. Well, insofar as cheap entertainment is concerned. As is always the case when a niche becomes a commodity, the genre becomes oversaturated.
Posted on May 3, 2010 by Jason Thorson
Director Samuel Bayer’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, the “re-imagining” of Wes Craven’s groundbreaking 1984 slasher opus, is an unfortunate inevitability. During the last several years horror fans have had little original material to enjoy within the sanctity of sticky floors, air thick with the scent of butter flavoring, and arm rests that feature cup-holders. Virtually all the major horror flicks of yesteryear and even some of the minor ones have been re-hashed over the last decade, helmed by inexperienced and thus inexpensive filmmakers, and resulting in little more than tarnished legacies. I’ve made no secret about the fact that I detest this current get-rich-quick scheme by the powers that be. Despite having well-reasoned low expectations, I was still taken aback by the level of ineptitude displayed in Platinum Dunes’ latest strip mining of pop culture’s rich dark history. If nothing else, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a worst case scenario.
Posted on April 27, 2010 by Jason Thorson
Twenty-six years ago horror fans were introduced to arguably the most complex and unique addition to the pantheon of slasher-era icons – Freddy Krueger. He was no stiff mute in a mask, maliciously misusing garden tools as a violent catharsis to purge his mommy-issues. No, Freddy had panache.
First and foremost, Freddy could talk – a simple differentiation that opened up vast new areas to cover that were not navigable to his peers. And Freddy inhabited dreams, another seemingly small difference that yielded an incredibly creative set of rules with which to play for Freddy and his victims alike. Most importantly, there’s the bladed glove – his handcrafted implement of death designed to both terrify and eviscerate sleepy Springwood teenagers. Anybody can pick up a machete or a large kitchen knife and perhaps clear some brush or prepare dinner, but Freddy’s glove had a singular horrible purpose and it, along with his dusty fedora and dirty red and green sweater, is now iconic on a global level.
Posted on February 10, 2010 by Jason Thorson
Writer Jason Becker and artist Jon Rea are back with the second twisted issue of their series Killing Pickman. Slower paced and more convoluted than issue 1, this issue dives deeper into the origins of Dick Pickman’s monstrous deeds.
As Detective Zhu makes his way to Herbert West Memorial Hospital to finish the job he started in issue one, the act of killing Pickman, Mr. Pickman waxes insane to a hospital psychologist about his transformation into a malicious child killer. When Zhu arrives outside the door to Pickman’s room, gun in hand, he’s confronted by Detective Raimi. Flash forward two months and we find out that this case hasn’t been very kind to those involved with investigating and cleaning out the Pickman house. Detective Zhu is the only one who understands the literally monstrous nature of the case and he has a plan, but can he pull it off while also looking out for the best interests of his wife and their child?
Posted on January 25, 2010 by Jason Thorson
In an era when comic books have the same relationship with zombies as ESPN has with football, it’s difficult to find something fresh about the living dead, no pun intended. However, Grim Crew’s Dead Future Issue 1 is an anthology comprised of three zombie apocalypse stories all of which offer an element of originality in this otherwise predictable comic book niche.
The first story, Real Monsters, written by Martin Brandt II and Illustrated by Paul Petyo is a tale of day-to-day urban survival in a world overrun by zombies. This segment has all the trappings of the archetypal zombie paradigm as well as a few unique wrinkles. One of these is that the living can go about their business among the living dead provided they don’t upset the zombies’ routines and that these excursions take place during the day time.
Posted on January 6, 2010 by Jason Thorson
Author Jason Becker and artist Jon Rea have collaborated to create Killing Pickman, a modern noire tale wrapped around serial child murder and Satanism. And honestly, it warms my heart, but please keep that between you and me.
Issue 1 starts with Detective Bill Zsu canvassing the neighborhood in which multiple children have disappeared. When he knocks on Dick Pickman’s door the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. After calling for back up a showdown ensues the results of which are six new holes in Pickman, the discovery of satanic hobbies undertaken by the aforementioned Mr. Pickman, and a tunnel in which more child victims are discovered alive. Pickman goes to the hospital and Detective Zsu goes a little crazy working the psychopath beat. Little does he know that he’s only scratched the surface of the depravity he’s just uncovered.
Posted on December 21, 2009 by Jason Thorson
Writer/director/producer Christian Petersen’s Midnight Chronicles is an indie film based on the fantasy role playing game Midnight from Fantasy Flight Games. Evil rules in Midnight’s world of Aryth after Izrador, the dark god defeated the free races in a war 100 years prior. Men are now enslaved while Elves and Dwarves have disappeared into the forests and mountains. Hope resides in only the few brave enough to pursue it. As Mag Kiln travels to Blackweir to investigate the disappearance of a fellow priest, others also descend on the small town where a complex web of good versus evil develops that has implications on the future of the dark forces that rule the land.
Posted on November 27, 2009 by Jason Thorson
Well, the Holidays are encroaching on us again. Every now and then that obese old prowler who breaks into your home in the middle of the night every December 24th actually manages to leave you with something worth your while.
However, there’s nothing wrong with forcing his jolly hand, so here you go: 5 horror movies that are both relatively new and good, two qualities that when combined are like gold! Here’s hoping you have a pitch black Friday….
Posted on November 23, 2009 by Jason Thorson
Thankskilling can’t be dubbed “critic proof” because its success is yet to be determined. A more accurate term to describe Kevin Stewart and Jordan Downey’s movie about a murderous turkey would be “anti-critic.” This opinion is not lost on these two upstart filmmakers. In fact, the following is an excerpt from the home page of Thankskillingmovie.com:
“ThanksKilling promises nothing but a cheesy good time. It’s the perfect cult film to watch with drinks around Halloween or especially during Thanksgiving! Laugh at it because it’s funny. Laugh at it because it’s bad. It’s meant to be taken with a grain of salt.”
Posted on October 12, 2009 by Jason Thorson
This year’s Madison Horror Film Fest at Market Square Cinema in Madison, WI didn’t go off without a hitch, but it was so much fun it didn’t matter. In only its second year, the festival featured high profile genre greats, up and comers, a variety of horror flicks, and enough vendors to lighten your wallet. The future looks bright for this upstart horror gathering produced by festival director Rich Peterson and Icon Entertainment. Things kicked off on Friday night, October 2nd with the world premiere of the feature film Incest Death Squad followed by two full days of films and guests that covered Saturday and Sunday.
I took part in Saturday’s depravity and my day went as follows:
Entering the fest was hassle free. I walked in and immediately spotted a sign directing me to a booth where I could check my name off the media list and get my tickets. Honestly, the sign was unnecessary as several vendors’ booths were set up in a cluster and surrounded by people who were unmistakably there to revel in terror.
Posted on October 5, 2009 by Jason Thorson
Director Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland is not a horror movie. It’s not even a horror-comedy. It’s really a fairly straight forward comedy-comedy, the back drop of which involves zombies. And as such it works pretty well, just not as well as its components suggest it should.
The world has been overrun by zombies and a most unlikely survivor nicknamed Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is heading east across the country toward home hoping to find others, his family in particular. As fate would have it, he crosses paths with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), another survivor heading east and Columbus’ polar opposite in just about every way. Soon the two of them run into a bad girl nicknamed Wichita (Emma Stone) and her twelve year old sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). These girls were conning men out of their money before zombies became an issue and have since parlayed their game into a post apocalyptic art of survival as they head west.