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 October 1, 2009 by Jason Thorson
This is an APB to horror movie buffs within range of Madison, WI. The Madison Horror Film Fest invades Market Square Cinema at 6604 Odana Rd in Madison WI this weekend and yours truly will be there.
The fest kicks off at noon on Saturday, Oct. 3rd and goes through Sunday night. You can expect an onslaught of indie horror shorts, features, vendors and guests including Debbie Rochon, and Bill Rebane. Highlights will include a screening of Re-Animator followed by a Q&A with director Stuart Gordon and a “Women in Horror” presentation hosted by Elske McCain and Scarlet Salem. Check back next week for my full recap of Saturday’s events and if you see me at the fest feel free to say hi.
In the meantime, check out this short Q&A with Fest director Rich Peterson:
Posted on August 31, 2009 by Jason Thorson
My experience watching Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 was similar to how I imagine it must have been when George Foreman discovered he was as adept at selling grills as he was putting people to sleep with his fists. In other words, it was not what I expected. In fact I expected to hate it. I was so disgusted with Zombie’s unfortunate stab at remaking, re-imagining, and regurgitating John Carpenter’s 1978 seminal slasher that for a while I became the elderly curmudgeon of horror movie journalism. I may have even yelled at some kids to stay the hell off my lawn.
However, this time it wasn’t long before I came to the slightly confusing realization that I wasn’t hating this dreaded sequel, an emotion I felt specifically entitled to given the majority of films I’ve suffered through lately, but rather I was riveted by Rob Zombie’s brutal, gritty, and most importantly, original chapter in one of horror’s most important and longest running series.
Posted on July 27, 2009 by Jason Thorson
Life-hating Goth girl Lara Baxter just turned 16. Her birthday party mojo never materializes after her more popular sister, Helen, steals her thunder. Shunned by her secret crush and neglected by her own mother, Lara retreats to the sanctuary of her altar to Ann Rice where she casts a spell on Helen. The next day Helen wakes up bleeding profusely from her nose and dies a short time later.
Just as the family begins to mourn, Helen comes back from the morgue delirious and with an insatiable thirst for blood. Older brother Raymond, a cross between Re-Animator’s Dr. Herbert West and Milwaukee’s own Jeff Dahmer, performs some tests on Helen’s blood in his bedroom/laboratory and determines that she’s a vampire.
Posted on July 20, 2009 by Jason Thorson
In recent years America’s horror cinema has been much like its cuisine: bland interpretations of foreign delights and mass produced fast food, serving the same burger over and over again. The watered down and over-produced plethora of Americanized Japanese ghost movies has actually managed to render the originals as unwatchable clichés, while last year’s Quarantine was an inferior redo of the Spanish chiller, [REC]. And to add insult to injury these movies were essentially released simultaneously (thankfully, [REC] is now available on DVD).
Posted on June 9, 2009 by Jason Thorson
Cheerbleeders is a short horror film by Peter Podgursky, the proud owner of a MFA in Film Production from USC. In fact, these eleven minutes of cinematic fun comprised his thesis project and it has since made the rounds at several horror film fests winning best short at the Phoenix Fear Film festival 2008.
Here’s the dirt: Best friends, Penny and Devon (Laurel Vail and Wyatt Fenner), are high school misfits in Blackfoot, Idaho – a tiny and isolated burg. When Penny brings an ancient urn to class, it accidentally spills its black slimy contents on Devon. This black sludge is essentially a gnarly love potion, turning him into…gasp…the most popular kid at school! Drunk with power, Devon holds sway over everyone, including the cheerleading squad, which he commands to massacre the football team, midgame. Can Penny stop the insidious evil known as unrestrained adolescent popularity?
Posted on June 5, 2009 by Jason Thorson
Not too long ago I would’ve decorated my kitchen with Evil Dead wallpaper had such a product been available. I was fully prepared to name my first born child Ash and the thought of having a chainsaw-enhanced appendage didn’t seem all that bad to me.
Then Sam Raimi made three underwhelming Spiderman movies and I managed to get married. These events ushered in a new, more restrained era in my life and I agreed to relinquish both the home decorating and child naming duties. I also grew bored with Sam Raimi as a filmmaker. I got through it mainly by buying approximately 17 versions of each Evil Dead movie on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray. It’s obvious that those in the Home Video racket understand there are suckers out there like me, so why not release these movies incessantly and with slightly different packaging? I’ll buy them. But I digress.
Posted on March 27, 2009 by Jason Thorson
The third issue of Robert M. Heske’s Cold Blooded Chillers: Tales of Suburban Murder and Malice is a collection of three short graphic stories, all written by Heske and drawn by artists Adam Swiecki, Reno Maniquis, and Dirk Shearer. Cold Blooded Chillers is an homage to the horror serials and anthologies of yesteryear including E.C. Comics horror titles such as Tales from the Crypt, as well as television classics like The Twilight Zone. The difference is that the aforementioned examples occasionally had a tongue firmly planted in a cheek whereas this collection plays in the dark exclusively.
The book opens with a story called Shadow which is immediately engaging by way of its sophisticated and disturbing tone.
Review by Jason Thorson
Posted on March 11, 2009 by Jason Thorson
In 1986-87 Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created a twelve part comic book series called Watchmen that was released by DC Comics. The series garnered immediate critical praise and sales success. These twelve issues were quickly reprinted together and released as the first graphic novel. Much like the super heroes by which it was inspired, Watchmen slammed through the boundaries of what comic books were thought to be, redefining the form and permanently changing the ambitions of the comic book industry.
After years of starts and stops Watchmen has finally found its way to the big screen. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead remake) and starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, and Patrick Wilson, the film version adheres to the book much more closely than I thought possible. And as crazy as this may sound, I’m not convinced that’s an entirely good thing.
Review by Jason Thorson
Posted on March 2, 2009 by Jason Thorson
George Romero’s Diary of the Dead (2007) is a lot like Jell-o to my cinematic palette; that’s to say there’s always room for more zombie flicks from the man who invented them.
Diary tells the tale of a group of film students and their professor from the University of Pittsburg as they shoot a “mummy” movie in rural Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, a zombie plague breaks out, quickly spreading around the world. The cadre of survivors packs up their film equipment and hits the road in search of sanctuary from the pending apocalypse. They soon turn their equipment toward the unfolding catastrophe, documenting it on the fly and posting it online.
Review by Jason Thorson
Posted on February 16, 2009 by Jason Thorson
Friday the 13th opens with a flashback to Crystal Lake in 1980 as Alice beheads Pamela Voorhees with a machete. Then we’re introduced to a cadre of modern day horn dogs as they trek through the deep woods somewhere near the now abandoned Camp Crystal Lake. The coordinates of their marijuana crop have been programmed into their GPS unit, but they can’t seem to find anything. Sensing they’re close they decide to make camp and resume searching come morning. Hot casual sex ensues as well as some pot smoking followed by a cavalcade of brutal butchering courtesy of Jason Voorhees. And that’s just the prologue, ladies and gentlemen.
Review by Jason Thorson
Posted on February 11, 2009 by Jason Thorson
Hurts so Good: A Friday the 13th Retrospective Part 1 wrapped up with Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Be sure to check out Retrospective Part 1 before continuing here.
There are so many Friday the 13th movies, even this retrospective gets a sequel. So let’s continue with our bloody stalk down memory lane as we try to answer the question: Despite these movies being so bad, why do I and millions of others love them?
Posted on February 8, 2009 by Jason Thorson
On February 13th, 2009 a new installment of horror cinema’s most prolific series opens, unlocking Camp Crystal Lake and unleashing Jason Voorhees on yet another generation of horror fans. By way of Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes, Marcus Nispel’s (Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake 2003) Friday the 13th re-imagining/remake will mark the twelfth time in the last 29 years that we’ve been given the opportunity to spend an hour and a half at Camp blood.
The Friday the 13th films are guilty pleasures one and all. They’ve contributed as much to the global pop cultural make up as any other film or film series made. The iconography in these movies is among the most recognizable, comparable to The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars. The hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding maniac is now considered cliché. Harry Manfredini’s musical score has been imitated arguably more than any other. And we all know what happens to those morally bankrupt youngsters who have sex, do drugs, and decide the investigate strange noises – rules that have become permanent fixtures in the horror genre.
Posted on December 29, 2008 by Jason Thorson
Tales of the Seven Dogs Society is a collection of three novellas by authors, Matt McElroy, Jim Johnson, and Monica Valentinelli, based on the Aletheia role playing game from Abstract Nova Entertainment.
The basic premise of this book as well as the game is that the Seven Dogs Society is a group of investigators comprised of seven people who possess psychic or paranormal abilities. Based in Seven Dogs, Alaska at a refurbished Victorian mansion with powers of its own, the Society investigates cases involving things such as alien abduction, crop circles, spontaneous combustion, and all other manner of other worldly and supernatural phenomena.
Review by Jason Thorson
Posted on October 14, 2008 by Jason Thorson
It’s Halloween season and until this weekend the movie theatres had offered horror fans zero tricks or treats. On October 10th director John Erick Dowdle’s Quarantine became this season’s first theatrically released genre movie and by default it vaulted to the top of my must-see list.
Quarantine, the American remake of last year’s well-received Spanish genre offering, [REC], opens with TV reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) filming an episode of their soft news program in which they profile the firemen at a Los Angeles fire station.
Review by Jason Thorson