Showing posts from 2013

Christmastime in Hell: The Adventures of Dino Riki

The nightmare starts the same, every time. I'm out for a stroll in the jungle, and no matter how exhausted I may get, I can never stop walking. Wild animals, insects and weird fish attack me for reasons beyond my comprehension, and I ward them off by throwing that most primitive of weapons: the rock. Eventually, I happen upon a stone axe within some underbrush, and just as I'm starting to feel good about my chances of survival in this savage wilderness, the lily pads appear on the horizon, and my heart fills with despair...

     I was seven years old when this photo was taken on Christmas Eve:

     For most of my life, my family has been on the lower end of the disposable income spectrum. However, there was a time, so long ago in my youth, when my grandparents were doing pretty well financially. This meant that Christmas would entail a veritable bonanza of gifts from them, which in my case meant several Nintendo games. As you can see, I'm pretty pleased with my bounty of 8…

"The Harvest Feast," the Thanksgivingiest Book of Them All

Point 1: There was a section of the library at Lincoln Elementary School that seemed like it was just for me. Not a section proper, cordoned off with a "Joey Marsilio Only" sign (wonderful though that would have been), but rather a number of books that I am fairly certain no one ever checked out but me. There was a book about the history of the werewolf, for example, that I probably read half a dozen times, and of course it was always on the shelf if I got a hankering to check it out, because who else is going to read something like that? Some other weirdo, probably, but I never met him or her.
     Point 2: Largely due to my fascination with the supernatural that lead me to checking out the aforementioned werewolf book, I have always loved Halloween to an unreasonable degree. So much so, in fact, that anything even tangentially related to Halloween would grab my attention as a kid. Scarecrows? Pumpkins? Corn stalks? Sure, let's see what this is all about.


Carve-O-Lantern 2: The Expansioning

It's October again, the leaves are changing colors, and if the latest Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer is any indication, people are really into pumpkin. Seriously, like 80% of that thing is ads for pumpkin-flavored foods. Now, this is cool with me, since I'm quite the squashophile myself. You may recall an article I wrote last year, about the release of the O.G. game-changing jack-o'-lantern carving book, Carve-O-Lantern (if you need a refresher, here's the link). Seeing as how I just scratched the surface of the Carve-O-Lantern universe in that article, it's high time I wrote a follow-up where I can really give you the inside scoop on the product line. So, uh, here is that follow-up.
     Indulge me for a moment in an extended simile: Carve-O-Lantern is like the popular trading card game Magic: The Gathering. It's true! Both are products that arrived on the scene relatively unheralded, only to become massive successes. Both are icons in their respective …

In a Dark, Dark Room, or Scary Stories for Babies

As I continue my quest to present the world's most thorough and scholarly examination of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series of youth horror books (having already written Power Rankings articles for the first and second books as well as an opinion piece about the audio books), I would be remiss to ignore another book that is closely related to the series in spirit if not name. If I'm going to write this series of articles, after all, I must do it correctly. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and all that.
     So imagine: you're a folklorist that enjoys frightening children, and you're doing a pretty bang-up job of ensuring that the nation's youth can only slumber in nightmare-haunted fits and starts. But there's a problem: what about the particularly young children? The ones that can read but whose parents still shield them from imagery of blood-soaked corpses? What is to be done about them? The answer to these questions is fright this way.…

Mac and Me

I recently posted the following on Facebook. Don't worry, it's not family photos:

During war time, bombs get dropped; such is the nature of war. Tragically often, said bombs cause damage far beyond their intended targets. Such was the case one time, with a certain McDonald's, a bastion of unhealthy comfort food in a volatile area. Errant ordnance reduced this greasy palace to smoldering ruins, and it was small comfort that the debris-laden air smelled like french fries for hours afterwards. They say if you visit this site in the middle of the night, you will find a lone man there. He is a chubby fellow clad in black and white, an outfit that recalls old-timey prison garb. He sifts, heartbroken, through the charred remains. "Rubble, rubble," he sobs mournfully. "Rubble, rubble."

     On the surface, this seems to be merely a strange joke, perhaps a bit long-winded considering how slight the punchline is. Yet it is also indicative of a deepe…

Youtube Review: "Steel & Marsilio: The Drinking Game"

I came upon this appalling bit of "cinema"while scouring Youtube for concise, informative how-to videos about varnishing cabinetry:

     Needless to say, this crude claptrap contained few, if any, valuable varnishing hints. Quite the contrary! Instead, I was greeted with binge drinking, cartoon pornography and references to reptilian genitalia. I would call this video garbage, but I don't want to insult the pile of used syringes behind my apartment. But lest I come off as unfair, allow me to break down this buffoonish enterprise to fully enlighten you as to the depths of its inanity.
     We open with Garrett Steel making a laughable attempt to pretend to be waking up. I can pretend to wake up better than that in my sleep! But Steel's thespianism in on par with that of Jeremy Irons compared to his clownish compatriot, Joey Marsilio, who we are introduced to via uncomfortable closeup, his face practically glistening with Italian grease. Marsilio, who clearly was …

The "Official" More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Power Rankings

Well, it’s April, the month of my birth. What more appropriate time than this to discuss terror and dismemberment? That’s right; continuing what I started here, it’s time for the next installment of "Scary Stories Power Rankings," wherein we take a look at the second book in the vaunted trilogy: More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Perhaps it’s just me (it usually is), but it seems that of the three volumes, More Scary Stories gets the least love. While I do not necessarily agree with this, I think I understand it, because this book is weird. I mean, obviously any collection of tales of terror retold from folklore is going to have an air of the unusual about it, but even by those standards, there is some absolutely off-the-wall batsh*t insanity between these covers. For a tiny taste of how twisted things get here, check out the dedication page:

Yep, that’s a severed pig man’s head hanging on a clothesline. And he looks pretty god damned satisfied with himself. So…what?…