HAIL TO THE DEADITES

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Featured Scary Movies and Series

One thing we love at Puzzle Box Horror is The Evil Dead franchise. From cosmic horror icons such as the Necronomicon to evil spirits and possessions it just butters our biscuits. It’s no mystery why this movie has created a cult-like following. We’re excited to share the news about this new documentary “Hail To The Deadites” and remember “Shop smart, shop s-mart.”

After 7 years of hard work, HAIL TO THE DEADITES will have its world premiere next month at the Fantasia International Film Festival.  

“Inspired by the 1981 classic’s cult following, HAIL TO THE DEADITES is a documentary about the fans of the EVIL DEAD franchise. Through interviews with the cast, crew, collectors, fans, freaks and geeks, HAIL TO THE DEADITES seeks to illuminate the darkest reaches of the EVIL DEAD franchise’s undying and still-growing popularity, a popularity that has spawned four films, a TV series, comic books, figurines and surpassed even its creator’s wildest dreams.

HAIL TO THE DEADITES puts the spotlight on the fans that cultivated and spread this groovy pop-culture infection! It celebrates those who’ve celebrated the films! ”Some people might find it weird to not see any footage of the franchise in the documentary but this is what I’ve been aiming for since day one. I’m really proud to say that everything you will see or hear in this documentary was created by the fans. So, rev your chainsaws and load your boomsticks, it’s time to give the DEADITES some sugar, baby!” – Steve Villeneuve

Bruce Campbell aka Ash Williams from the Evil Dead

Beside meeting with fans around the world, the 80 minutes documentary feature interviews with Evil Dead franchise cast members such as Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Tom Sullivan ,Dan Hicks ,Kassie Wesley DePaiva, Sarah Berry, Rick Domeier & Bill Moseley.

Given the continuing uncertainty related to physical cinema spaces and large gatherings which will likely continue through the remainder of the calendar year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Fantasia International Film Festival decided to mount their 2020 edition as a cutting-edge virtual festival in August. From what we heard so far, the movie should be available on the Fantasia online platform from August 20 to September 2nd. All film screenings will be geo-blocked to Canadian audiences and only accessible from within the country, vastly expanding the number of viewers we can engage with outside of Quebec.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

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Featured Scary Movies and Series

The Halloween Anomaly, Season of the Witch

Some pretty great minds went into creating Halloween’s third film, Halloween Part III: Season of the Witch (1982).  Tommy Lee Wallace wrote and directed the film with contributions from Debra Hill and John Carpenter himself!  While this film was supposed to be the start of what they all hoped would become a Halloween anthology series (that would never be), it is most certainly a hidden gem of a horror movie altogether! The movie took a lot of risks to create a masterpiece that has developed a definite cult following some 30-some years later!  And the worst part is the more time that goes by, the creepier the movie gets…almost in a predictive sort of way!

Behind the Scenes: Halloween Part III

The creators of the Season of the Witch found a hidden fear in the fabric of society. The movie successfully showcases horror by way of brainwashing and mind-control, conspiracy and full-on hopelessness. Here are some of the most interesting facts in the making of Halloween Part 3: Season of the Witch…

Cameo Pharmaceutical

In Halloween (1978), Dr Loomis suggests a drug called “Thorazine” to Nurse Chambers. Thorazine is supposed to suggested to suppress Michael Myers’ mental and psychiatric disorders. In Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), this same drug is prescribed by Dr Challis to Harry Grimbridge during his stint in the hospital!

Truly Hypnotizing

The creators were insistent upon the Silver Shamrock theme song and commercial playing as much as possible throughout the film.  Branding the film with the Silver Shamrock Novelties company logos, stickers, and themes was imperative in creating the fear that is experienced throughout the film. Ultimately, the Silver Shamrock theme song plays a total of 14 times throughout the movie!

Where Was Halloween Season of the Witch Filmed?

The film was produced in California.  The gas stations are located off the Sierra Highway, and also in Loleta (both are still there). The hospital was in Sylmar, however, no longer remains. And the Silver Shamrock commercials were filmed in Sierra Madre.  The movie also uses the Rose of Shannon Motel and a manufacturing factory in Loleta. Random scenes are shot all over L.A. As well.

Voicing Cameo

Halloween’s previous films starred Jamie Lee Curtis.  She is also the phone operator in the third installment, Season of the Witch. The role is uncredited, but she sounds absolutely convincing! She is also the voice reciting the curfew.

Coining Witchcraft in the Computer Age

halloween season of the witch silver shamrock commercial on a TV

Several people, including the film’s director (Tommy Lee Wallace), credit Debra hill with the concept of introducing witchcraft to the computer age.  Witchcraft had not previously been used to fuse with or take over technology in the way it is used throughout the Silver Shamrock story.

The Masks Were Real

The three Silver Shamrock masks present throughout the film were mass produced as a part of a merchandising campaign. Don Post was selected for the job, as he had previously done similar merchandising for E.T. (1982), Star Wars (1977), and Planet of the Apes (1968).  The producers felt that if the masks were released early enough, fans would purchase them prior to the film’s release and wear them to the actual movie theater.

A Masked Plot

Tommy Lee Wallace, writer and director of Season of the Witch, explained that he had an intricate plan for the three masked sold by the Silver Shamrock Novelties company.  Each mask was going to represent another film in the series…thus connecting Season of the Witch (loosely) with the other movies in the franchise.  Unfortunately, after this third movie in the franchise totally bombed at the box office, Halloween would have to return to their cash cow, famed slasher Michael Myers, instead of merely leaving behind his mask.

Mostly Acting Newbies

Almost all of the cast of the third Halloween film were total newbies…only having previous credits as extras or cameo types of appearances. There were a couple bigger names, but ultimately the film relied upon newer, green talent. Amazingly, the acting itself is pretty alright and the movie maintains a fairly strong level of suspense. 

Halloween Cameo Appearance

Halloween (1978) itself receives a cameo appearance roughly 1:17 to 1:19 minutes into the movie. The movie can be seen played on a small TV as a Silver Shamrock victim sits strapped to a chair and locked in a room with a mask over his head.

The Silver Shamrock Theme Song

The Silver Shamrock theme song is based on the popular “London Bridge” song.  London Bridge was in the public domain, so it became a clear choice as a catchy, modifiable tune that people would recognize, remember, and be able to follow along with.

Robot Guts

Robot guts was seemingly new territory as the staff ended up using orange juice.  The high-in-vitamin-c citrus drink can be seen pouring from the robots’ mouths throughout the films.

Got Milk?

black and white skeleton drawings

Although the crew used orange juice for robot blood, the Silver Shamrock factory was actually producing something much different before being cast in Season of the Witch.  A milk factory was used as the Silver Shamrock headquarters due to its availability, location ambiance and size.

Inspirations for Making the Film

There are obvious tips of the hat to both Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers general concept) and George A Romero (Season of the Witch film title). Halloween itself (the holiday, not the movie franchise), deserves an applause, for without Halloween, none of Season of the Witch would be possible! The movie focuses on the sale of Halloween masks to would-be trick-or-treaters, days before…you guessed it! Halloween!

An Under appreciated 80s Horror Movie

Season of the Witch is one of the most original horror movies to come out of the 80s, despite drawing a lot of inspiration from even very popular pieces such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Season of the Witch (1972). The acting is pretty decent, believable. The characters are drawn perfectly.  The film style and natural fear is excellent, in traditional Carpenter-Hill fashion. And Tommy Lee Wallace totally knocks the ball out of the park when it comes to directing the movie. Regardless of its amazing feats, the brilliant attempt at reinventing the Halloween franchise came a little too early; Thus, Season of the Witch joins the ranks of underappreciated 80s horror movies.

And if it were still possible to actually buy Silver Shamrock masks, every fan absolutely would!

Halloween Movie Cameos and Celebrity Appearances

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Scary Movies and Series

Were There Any Cameos in the Halloween Movies?

Halloween is a long running favorite slasher franchise and Michael Myers is a ruthless killer. While he may steal most of the limelight, there are many cameos present throughout the Halloween movies.  Some of the celebrity appearances and cameos are more obvious, while others are more subtle and can be almost impossible to detect without knowing to look for it.  A true Halloween fan will have a “palm face” kind of moment when confirming some of these cameos for themselves.

List of Celebrity Cameos in the Halloween Movies

It is always fun to see other celebrities and parts of the crew show face throughout the movies. Check out the full list of celebrity cameo appearances throughout the entire Halloween franchise.

John Carpenter

The creator of Michael Myers and Halloween himself, John Carpenter, both directed and wrote the original Halloween (1978). He also had a cameo in the masterpiece as the voice of Annie’s boyfriend (a character named Paul).

He declined a cameo offer for Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009) remake.

Dana Carvey

Dana was given a small cameo role in Halloween II (1981) and then went on to bigger roles, including starring in the “Wayne’s World” franchise with Mike Myers (no not the Halloween movies’ killer).

Nancy Kyes (aka Nancy Loomis)

Halloween I and III featured a cameo from an actress by the stage name “Nancy Loomis.” Loomis is also the last name of Dr Loomis in the actual movie itself (just a coincidence).  She plays one of Laurie Strodes friends, Annie Brackett, in the first film and second films.  She then plays Dr Challis’ ex-wife in the third Halloween movie.

Alan B. McElroy

Famous and talented writer, Alan B McElroy, can be seen playing a state trooper cameo role where the ambulance crashed early in the fourth film, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988).

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah michelle geller cameo in halloween on a TV screen

Sarah is seen for a brief second or two on TV as two girls enjoy Scream 2 (1997) in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998).

Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie lends the voice of the curfew announcer and phone operator in the 3rd movie, Halloween III: Season of the Witch  (1982).

She was also obligated via contract to cameo in Halloween Resurrection (2002), however, enjoyed the script and production so much she filmed a full 4 days and had a much larger part in the film.

Rick Rosenthal

Director of Halloween: Resurrection (2002) made a cameo appearance in the movie himself as a college professor. His cameo can be found rather early in the film, about 16 minutes in.

Last Words About Cameos Throughout Halloween

There are a lot of Halloween movies, and a lot of opportunities for a celebrity cameo appearance. Ironically, with how many opportunities the Halloween franchise has had for cameos, it has kept non-cast involvement rather light.  In fact, some movies do not appear to have a cameo at all! 

If you think you have found a new cameo that is not present on this list, please comment below so we can add it!

History and Making of the 1st Saw Movie

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Featured Scary Movies and Series

How Did the Saw Creators Feel About the Movie?

The original Saw movie is a horror genre masterpiece…a landmark film in all things horror.  In fact, Saw (2004) altered the course of horror movie history by using innovation to revamp the sub-genre of torture and traps.  Screenwriter and Leigh Whannell and director James Wan may have succeeded in turning a low budget film into a box office hit, but they started out as friends who met at film school. The two started out learning how to make films together and showcasing their small pieces in the same classrooms.  So what did James and Leigh think about how large and behemoth the Saw franchise has gotten? When they reflect, how do they feel about the terror they have spawned?

Horror Enthusiast has dug through a number of interviews to determine the original creators consensus on the Saw franchise.

The Inspiration for Working on a Project Together

After James showed a short film in a movie class, “Zombie Apocalypse,” Leigh approached him about his shared interest in horror movies, and they became friends.  Leigh took note that the rest of the school felt they were “above” or “better than” the horror genre, which probably strengthened their bond.  A few years down the road, post-film school graduation and living in poverty, they decided to build a movie for $5,000 that would be shot inside a single room with only 2 people.  James explained that it was difficult to work jobs they did not enjoy to get by, but that they waited for years before finally coming up with the right idea they could film in their own home or backyard. 

The movie Saw was more than 2 guys in a room trying to figure out how they got there and how to get out.  The movie was about following in the footsteps of self-made directors and success stories, people like ‘Kevin Smith  and Robert Rodriguez, two of their heroes.  James explained that they had several ideas over the years, both of them, but that they were very hard on one another and constantly rejected each idea. They even almost made a movie about nightmares, as well as about astral projection.

Paving the Path

Saw horror movie character drawing

After they finally came up with the idea, there was a lot to come up with to get their dream into motion.  They already determined the movie would focus around the story of two guys in a room with a dead body, a gun and a tape recorder; and they already determined the twist which is the end of the movie and the saw traps would be critical. The parts that were missing were the guts of the movie…the stuff that happened in between.  Leigh took over this part, and wrote a killer script.  James worried heavily about producers belief in him as a director, so he insisted they shoot a short scene on their own money, which James admits is mostly Leigh’s money at the time. And then the two of them wind up impressing everyone with their shoestring budget clip that is the birth of “Saw.”

What the Creators Wanted From Saw

The objective of Saw was not to create or otherwise contribute to a “torture porn” genre of horror. The goal when James and Leigh set out to write Saw, to get funded, and to direct and produce Saw, was not to create critics (although all movies do). The original creators of Saw wanted to prove themselves. They wanted to make a big movie, but realized after getting out of film school that money is required to make a big movie. So they found a way to prove themselves anyway.  To show that they could direct, that they could write, that they could even act if necessary, and that they could make a film that was great even with their own money. They wanted to make a big Hollywood movie.

The creators look back and consider Saw a “rough around the edges” project, something that was shot in too little time and without enough scenes. They look back and compare it to other horror movie franchises that are loved by fans around the world, franchises like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. They look back and realize how life changing it has been for them, but also how life changing it has been for others who enjoy the franchise.  The Saw franchise has an entire cult of fans who love every movie…and it all began with the first…two guys in a room. 

True Saw Fans

Saw (2004) is one of the most original and truly scary horror scenarios in any horror movie. In fact, it deserves an award for creating an original and terrifying situation and story line.  The directing is on point and the acting is awesome! Considering the budget these guys were working on and the fact the entire movie was shot in just 18 days, it is amazing that it was able to become a blockbuster hit and instant masterpiece!  This movie was a wildly successful film both at the box office and in generating a huge cult fan-base who have continued to enjoy the franchise for more than a decade!

History of Demons, Possessions, Exorcisms, and the Films They Inspire

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Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

History of Possession and the Church

On the topic of possessions, it is widely believed that a person’s mind and soul can be possessed by spirits, whether by man, demon, or god. Prior to the biblical explanation of possession, in ancient Greece, the pagans put an emphasis on the belief that the gods would interfere with their daily lives. Their idea of possession was when a God would cause them to act in a certain manner, or simply inhabit their body to achieve an end of their own. Buddhist and Hindu beliefs considered possessive interference by gods and demons to be everyday occurrences; African tribal religions and their respective offshoots consider possession the way that their gods and secondary deities show favor and proof of their power. Christianity over the centuries has been very vocal in regards to possession, declaring that true possession was only ever the work of, “unclean spirits,” either a minion of hell or the Devil himself. There are rare references to possessions by the divine spirit, just as Jesus Christ’s disciples were reportedly overcome with the Holy Spirit after his crucifixion. Alternative theories of this suggest, however, that possession by the divine spirit is actually just the Devil in disguise, in an attempt to fool the vulnerable. Early theologians denied there was ever an instance of possession being anything but the Devil’s handiwork.

St. Francis of Borgia Exorcising a Demon
St. Francis of Borgia – Exorcism by Goya

The Christian culture continues to dominate when it comes to popular theories of demons—any average person is going to associate demons with the Devil and his origin in Christianity—this can be troublesome to those deeply immersed in the religion, as it is still an incredibly popular topic in possession movies. Popular demon culture is the driving force for how we continue to see them in books and films and is what is most concerning to people with respect to horror culture. After all, there’s nothing more terrifying than the thought that a malicious spirit or demon has complete control of your body and mind—that you are what goes bump in the night—and showing signs of unusual behavior or expressing radically different ideals that what was common for the day would essentially damn an individual to being accused of possession. Luckily in the modern era, individuals are given more leeway to change up their perspectives, and essentially change the way their lives are going without being considered to be under demonic possession. Surprisingly, an aspect of possession theory that is not fully explored is exactly how the Devil or his minions claim their victims in the first place. There are two popular explanations within possession lore, that the spirit can pass directly into a person’s mind and soul or by using a witch to curse the victim. Of course, the Church’s position on the method of possession was that the Devil preferred to enlist the help of the evil individuals to do his dirty work—so witches would transmit the demons to the vulnerable through charm, potion, amulet, and most frequently food. The food of choice is the infamous apple—not just the symbol of the fall of man, when Eve took a bite of the apple of Eden, but also a popular symbol elsewhere in folklore, such as the original Germanic tale of Snow White. The only formal rite of exorcism is practiced by the Catholic church, which to this day recognizes clairvoyance, abnormal physical strength, blasphemy, and levitation as proof of demonic possession—the only salvation from possession is a formal exorcism.

The Spiritualist Movement

Many practices began gaining momentum with the spiritualist movements, including the act of psychic mediums inviting possession in order to speak to the dead—the belief is that the possession is temporary and controlled by the medium and their spirit guides. These possessions typically would take place within a séance, in conjunction with other practices such as the use of Ouija boards, or automatic writing.

The Exorcism of Roland Doe

Horror culture classic The Exorcist (1973) was actually inspired by a true story; a thirteen-year-old grief-stricken boy, under the pseudonym of Roland Doe, had recently lost his spiritualist Aunt Harriet a woman who had taught Roland how to use Ouija Boards, as well as many other taboo practices.  Directly following his Aunt’s death, in January of 1949, Roland began to experience troubling things—scratching and other inexplicable sounds echoed from the floors and walls of his room, and his bed would jerk around suddenly. Psychiatrists and their local church were of no help to Roland’s family, but they still sought the help of a local Catholic priest who received permission to perform an exorcism which ended in the priest being slashed by the boy. Roland was still in trouble, scratches appeared on his skin, at night after going to sleep for the night, the boy would scream out, trash about his bed wildly, and speak in tongues. After many failed exorcism attempts, he was finally moved to a hospital where the boy underwent one final attempt, during which he screamed that Satan was with him until the priests called upon St. Michael to rid the boy of his demons. From that day forward, Roland no longer experienced any strange happenings and went on to live a normal life.

Exorcism Movies and TV Shows that you need to see!

Do you have any movies or tv shows about demonic possession and exorcisms you’d like to see on our list? Let us know about them in the comments!