Tomorrow I will be diving into the first of a month-long look at thirty-one of Universal’s classic horror films. Things will begin with a Universal film that I’ve never actually viewed before, 1933’s The Invisible Man, starring Claude Rains and loosely based on the popular H.G. Wells novel of the same name.
I’ll try to keep all of my reviews uniform over the course of the month. I’ll give a synopsis of each film and talk about certain aspects that really appealed to me whether they be a certain actor’s performance, the film score, special effects, or something else. Then I’ll tease the next film that I’ll be reviewing.
I will try my best to have each review written and posted by 3PM the following day. I’ll also be sharing the links to each review on my Facebook page. I’ll be watching The Invisible Man tonight so that my reviews will begin on the first of October and so that I’ll have the entire night of Halloween free to do whatever I want!
There will be spoilers in all of these reviews. The latest film in this batch was released in 1956 and the oldest film was released in 1925. For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that means that you’ve had sixty-three years to watch the newest film in this review series and ninety-four years to watch the oldest! If you don’t want anything to be spoiled about any of these films, skip their specific review!
I really hope that all of you enjoy reading my reviews over the next month. If this series proves to be a success with my readers, I might do a series of reviews for Christmas films in December!
Also be on the lookout for posts in October that are related to Universal Monsters beyond the screen. I’ll be reviewing Ravensburger’s Horrified, an official Universal Monsters board game, Funko’s Mystery Minis Universal Monsters series of collectible figures, and a documentary or two about Universal’s monsters. I might toss in a few other surprises as well.
Thanks for reading my post. I’ll have a few non-Universal posts this month as well, but things will be pretty spooky all month long in Ken’s Alternate Universe!
My regular readers know how much I love Bigfoot, Yeti, and all of the other cryptids out there. They might even know that I’ve visited Fouke, AR, in the past and blogged about it here. While own my recent trip to northwestern Louisiana to see KISS with my son, we decided to take a sidequest north to Fouke, Arkansas, home of the Fouke Monster and the film, The Legend of Boggy Creek.
Sporting my Ghoultown shirt (I’ll get to their connection to Fouke in a bit), my son and I drove into Fouke on Saturday morning. The drive up there was beautiful but we didn’t get to see the Fouke Monster. We stopped at the Monster Mart in town and were blown away by how much the store has changed and yet remained the same since our last visit in 2014.
The convenience store itself had changed very little. It’s a standard convenience store with soft drinks, snacks, and a few roadside necessities for purchase. On the museum side, however, things had been expanded upon greatly. A large display that included a Fouke Monster and one of its children had been added to the museum, as well as two display cases full of photos, albums, footprint casts, and more items related to the Fouke Monster and the history of the small town. There were also newspaper articles lining the walls and a gift shop that featured books, t-shirts, caps, postcards, magnets, mugs, and much, much more.
I talked with the lady behind the counter for quite awhile. She told me a little bit about the upgrades on the store and I also learned that Fouke won their high school football game on the prior evening.
I ended up purchasing a magnet and Lyle Blackburn’s Beyond Boggy Creek book at the Monster Mart. You can read my review of one of Blackburn’s other books, The Legend of Boggy Creek, here. Yes, I could have purchased the book on Amazon or even directly from Lyle’s website, but that would have meant that I couldn’t have purchased the book with the Monster Mart stamp on the inside. I plan to get Mr. Blackburn to sign the book if I ever get the chance to meet him.
Oh, and for anyone still not sure about the connection between Fouke and my Ghoultown band t-shirt, Blackburn is the frontman from the Texas-based gothabilly band. I’ve become quite a fan in recent months. Check out their website here.
After making my purchase, my son and I drove around Fouke for a few minutes before heading on to Texarkana, TX. We had no real destination in mind when we arrived there, we just wanted to kill a little more time before heading to Bossier City, LA to see KISS on Saturday evening.
If you have any interest in cryptozoology and want to visit a key location in Bigfoot history, make a trip to Fouke, AR. You’ll learn about the beast, the movie that made it famous, and the wonderful little town that became the focal point of one of cryptozoology most famous cult films.
Thanks for reading. Check out the links and keep an eye out for my next post.
In my last post I talked about attending the KISS: End of the Roadtour with my son in Bossier City, LA. Anybody familiar with the area knows that right across the Red River is the city of Shreveport. It’s the third largest city in Louisiana and the center of a region known as the Ark-La-Tex.
Located downtown along the Red River and nestled between casinos and the Sci-Port Discovery Center is the Shreveport Aquarium. I decided that a visit to the aquarium would be the perfect way to end me and my son’s little vacation to northwest Louisiana.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting very much from this aquarium. I read through a few online reviews and visited the aquarium’s website and came to the conclusion that this would be a fun place, but probably nothing too amazing.
Thankfully the aquarium far exceeded my expectations. Yes, it isn’t a very large aquarium, but it makes up for its lack of size with beautiful exhibits, tons of opportunities to interact with sea life, and a staff that was both friendly and knowledgeable about the animals and plant life in the aquarium.
We were greeted with a smile at the admissions desk and offered the chance to purchase a feeding token to feed stingrays. My son didn’t want to feed the rays but I went ahead and purchased a token for a small fee. We then entered the first wing of the aquarium. It featured tanks full of brightly colored fish and other animals. Lionfish, clownfish, pufferfish, and other sea life darted in and out of reefs and hid behind rocks. Throughout the exhibit, seafaring items such as anchors and cannons dotted the walkway.
As we left the first portion of the aquarium, we entered a large solarium that featured wood ducks, turtles, fish, and vegetation native to Louisiana. The area also had a small play area for younger children. Despite it being in the 90’s outside, the solarium had cooling units in place that kept the temperature reasonable. It wasn’t hot, but it was warm enough for the reptiles in the exhibit to remain comfortable.
We left the solarium and headed into the portion of the aquarium that featured starfish, clams, and jellyfish that you could touch in the water. It was fun getting to touch and feel these creatures in the water. There are obviously strict rules in place about touching the animals, so please respect these rules so that others can enjoy this experience. Also in the area, seahorses and baby sharks are in tanks for observation.
The next area that we entered was the massive aquarium featuring all sorts of fish including a number of sharks. Two “portholes” were available that allowed people to experience being at the bottom of the ocean with tons of sea creatures swimming around you. This is a perfect place for a photo op.
The final exhibit area was my favorite. I cashed in my token to feed fish to stingrays and touch them as they swam by in their pool. The rays were extremely friendly and didn’t seem to mind all of the people touching them. Feeding them is definitely a memorable experience and I recommend it if you ever visit the Shreveport Aquarium.
The final area in the aquarium was the SALT Cafe and a small gift shop. My son and I didn’t eat in the cafe, but it had a nice view overlooking the Red River. There was also a massive foot made out of plastic bottles that reminded visitors of the impact that plastic can make on our oceans.
This aquarium turned out to be a nice surprise and an excellent way to cap off our trip to the Ark-La-Tex. I have plans on bringing the rest of my family here in the future. Visit the aquarium’s website for more information on the exhibits and experiences that happen throughout the week including meet and greets with pirates and mermaids!
Thanks for reading this post. I have one more upcoming post about another experience that my son and I had while visiting the Ark-La-Tex, and you don’t want to miss it!
I’ve been a KISS fan for a very long time. I’ve been ridiculed, laughed at, and even accused of worshiping Satan because of my love for the band. Despite this fact, though, I’ve only recently been able to see them perform live. In total I have seen KISS perform live on three occasions. The first two times were in Houston and the most recent show was in Bossier City, LA. This show was a little bit more special than the other shows, though, as this show would be my young son’s first concert.
KISS didn’t disappoint.
The opening act for KISS was a performance painter named David Garibaldi. I, along with most of the folks in line around me prior to the show, had serious doubts about a painter being the warm-up for the band. I, and everyone else that doubted him, was wrong about David Garibaldi. The guy painted three pictures within thirty minutes and had the crowd cheering the entire time. He did brilliant paintings of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elvis, and KISS. To top it all off, the KISS painting was raffled off for charity. I’ve followed Garibaldi’s Facebook page ever since and he comes across as a genuinely nice guy. Check out his Facebook page for links to his website and other social media.
When it was time for KISS, they opened the show as they always open the show, “You wanted the best! You got the best! The hottest band in the world…..KISSSSSSSS!” This was followed by the dropping of the black KISS curtain and the band exploding onto the stage via lifts, all the while belting out the opening to Detroit Rock City. They went on to play a total of twenty tunes including an amazing drum solo by Eric Singer (it was a highlight of the show for me) and a solid guitar solo by Tommy Thayer.
Gene spit blood and fire and tore through tracks like Calling Dr. Love and War Machine. Paul flew out into the crowd for two of his signature tracks, Love Gun and I Was Made For Lovin’ You. Eric Singer gave us his rendition of two of original drummer Peter Criss’ signature tunes, Black Diamond and Beth.
The stage lighting and pyrotechnics were the best that I’ve ever seen at any live show. They were also the best of all of the KISS shows that I’ve either attended or watched online. HD screens, laser lighting, flamethrowers, KISS beach balls, and the signature confetti were all used during the show. Sure, some of Paul’s lines were the same ones that he’s used for decades and his voice isn’t as good as it used to be, but you could tell that he and the rest of the band put their entire hearts into the show. Gene sounded great vocally and on bass. Eric’s drums and vocals were as solid as they’ve ever been as well. The real star of the show, though, was Tommy Thayer. Perpetually viewed in the shadow of Ace Frehley by far too many fans, Thayer fleshed out the solos and made them his own this time around. Tommy is proving to the world that he truly is one of the best guitar players to ever grace the stage with KISS.
When KISS played Rock N’ Roll All Nite to close out the show, everybody was on their feet. Knowing that it will most likely be the last time that we get to see these four guys on the stage together in full makeup and with tons of pyro behind them in Bossier City, it was a tad bittersweet. I’m going to miss these guys.
With that being said, however, something wonderful happened that evening. Throughout the show I would glance over at my son. He never looked back at me, though. He was too entranced with the wall of sound, flames, and lights that he was experiencing. He loved every single minute of the concert. As the final piece of confetti hit the ground and the crowd exited the arena as the house lights came up with God Gave Rock N Roll To You II blaring over the CenturyLink Center speakers, I looked at my son. He was smiling from ear to ear. He was completely amazed by what he had just seen.
Prior to KISS’ encore, he had been wearing ear plugs for the entire show. He was worried about damaging his ears. When Eric Singer returned to the stage to perform Beth, however, he took his plugs out, nudged me, and said that he wanted to hear all of the encore. I was fine with his actions and my heart tugged just a little bit as well. I gave him the okay and he smiled.
After the show, I picked up a t-shirt and bandanna from the merch table. My son didn’t want anything. As we walked to our car he repeatedly talked about what happened during the show and how cool he thought that it all was. Once we got to our vehicle, we decided to wait out the crowd a bit before leaving. We talked even more about the show and it was so refreshing to hear my son’s point of view. His favorite performer of the night was Tommy Thayer. Unlike many KISS fans these days, my son only knows Ace Frehley’s work with the band from what I’ve told him and played for him. His Spaceman is, was, and always will be Tommy Thayer. It was so refreshing to hear someone not complain about Tommy but instead, praise his work.
This show will always be my greatest memory of KISS. It was my last show, my son’s first show, and something that we will talk about until I’m gone. Hopefully my son will share this memory with his own son or daughter some day and he’ll get the chance to share some other band’s concert with them.
Thanks for the memories, KISS. This might be the end of the road, but you’ll be playing in hearts, minds, and plenty of stereos for many years to come.
Here’s the setlist from the show:
Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
I Love It Loud
Heaven’s On Fire
War Machine (Gene Breathes Fire)
Lick It Up
Calling Dr. Love
100,000 Years (Eric Drum Solo)
Cold Gin (Tommy Thayer Solo)
God Of Thunder (Gene Simmons Bass Solo/Spits Blood)
I spent my childhood growing up under the influence of pop culture icons like Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox, Family Ties), ALF, and Macho Man Randy Savage. I listened to bands like Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, and KISS. I watched iconic films like The Empire Strikes Back and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and a few cult hits like Critters and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I am a child of the 1980’s and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Last Saturday, the Brimstone Museum and the Henning Cultural Center in Sulphur, LA capped off their recent Chaos Theory Art Show with the Brimstone’s Totally Rad 80’s Party, a celebration of all things 80’s. I attended the event and have to admit that I really enjoyed myself.
The party featured the Louisiana Ghostbusters, a public service fan group and fundraising group for charities. They were raising money for the American Cancer society. Attendees were given the chance to take photos with Ecteaux-1, the group’s version of Ecto-1 from the film, and also to take photos in full Ghostbuster gear. The original Ghostbusters film was also shown on a large outdoor screen at the event.
Local artists were also on hand to sell their wares. Original artwork, prints, magnets, books, crafts, and other items were made available by these artists. There was also a facepainting booth and Boombox Frozen Pops and Ice Cream was on hand to serve up some frozen goodies. I tried their “Pop You Like A Hurricane” pop and it was delicious.
The event also had a scavenger hunt that included everything from getting a high five from a Ghostbuster to busting a move on the dancefloor. I actually completed most of the items on the list but didn’t turn in my card for the prizes which included the legendary Maplewood sandal (only locals will get that reference). Other prizes included goods from Paper Heroes and dance lessons!
Zoltar was on hand to tell you your fortune as well. He gave me some sound advice about a film that I am going to see.
I left the event about thirty minutes before it ended. There was a costume contest well underway as I made my way back to my vehicle. I want to thank Thom Trahan and Kat Godsey of the Brimstone Historical Society and all of the volunteers and vendors for putting on such a great event! The bar has been set high for next year’s show!