Author Archives: Josh Upson

Halloween Comic Fest 2018 Is Here and So Are Matt’s Top Recommendations!

Happy Halloween Comic Fest 2018 Everyone! We look forward to seeing you all come in for free comics and of course to show off your cool costumes!

It is time for my top recommendations for the year…so let’s get into it!

My top book recommendation is Frankenstein by writer/artist Junji Ito.

Horror master Junji Ito blends his signature brand of terror with the classic Mary Shelley tale in this collection.  Also included in this collection are six tales of a boy named Oshikiri and the transdimensional haunted house he resides within. So, whether you are looking to revisit a classic or try something new, this volume has it all!

I can’t possibly recommend Ito’s works enough. We carry quite a bit of Ito’s work regularly, so if you are looking for some of the best horror stories to appear in the comics medium, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Fans of anime may also want to check out the Junji Ito Collection which is streaming free over at Crunchy Roll right now!

My final film recommendation for this year’s countdown is The Devil’s Candy written and directed by Sean Byrne.

Despite this film being available on physical media and Netflix for over a year, it has still flown under many people’s radars. That is a shame since this movie is an absolute modern classic.

The Devils’s Candy a young painter and his family move into a Texas home. However, this is a home with a history. A tragic murder happened years ago within the home and the house itself speaks to chosen inhabitants. Shortly after moving in, the artist finds himself blacking out only to awaken hours later to large demonic paintings he has no recollection of creating. Disturbing as that may be, the situation gets even worse as a deeply disturbed man with a connection to the house decides it is time to come home.

This movie features some of the best acting I have seen in a horror movie in quite some time. If you can handle a film that envelopes you in a deeply disturbing atmosphere and attempts to crush you with layer upon layer of dread then this one is for you.

Thanks for joining me again this year for the countdown everyone! I hope you all enjoy this Halloween season and hope to see you at Halloween Comic Fest!

 

Matt’s Countdown to Halloween Comic Fest: Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Halloween Comic Fest 2018 is tomorrow (Saturday. October 27th)!  Here are Matt’s recommendations for the day!

Today’s book recommendation is the breakout hit Ice Cream Man written by W. Maxwell Prince with art by Martin Morazzo.

Everyone loves the ice cream man right? Well…maybe not so much after you check out this horror anthology series. Each story within Ice Cream Man is a one-shot tale, connected only by the appearance of a mysterious ice cream man. Horrible things befall the recipients of his treats, but we’re not just talking about gastrointestinal distress. We’re talking about strange happenings that involve sorrow, horror, and sometimes redemption. Oh…and at least one with a weird spider.

Something this fun and creepy doesn’t come along often, so be sure to check this one out. The first volume is available now in our graphic novel section. If you dig it, then you will also want to keep your eyes and ears open for a possible television show in the future, as the book was optioned only a few issues into its run!

 

Today’s movie recommendation is Noroi The Curse directed by Kôji Shiraishi.

This is a Japanese film I came across about a decade ago and it has stayed with me ever since. This film follows a group of people documenting real life haunting who unfortunately found more than they bargained for. This film bleeds atmosphere and is hands down the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. If you can track this one down I highly recommend it.

MATT’S COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN COMIC FEST: 3 DAYS LEFT!

Halloween Comic Fest is 3 days away! Here are Matt’s recomendations of the day to get you in the Halloween spirit!

Today’s book recomendation is Infidel written by Pornsak Pichetshote with art by Aaron Campbell & colors by José Villarrubia.

This chilling story centers around an American Muslim woman and her family living in a haunted apartment building. The twist here is that the entities that haunt the building feed from xenophobia. The book blends an examination of bigotry with the classic haunted house story. I don’t want to give too much away about this one, but in my opinion this is one of the best books of the year.

The art is especially noteworthy with haunting imagery that will make your spine tingle. It reminded my of Jock’s work in the book Wytches, but it amplifies the creepiness found there by 10 fold. The whole story is now available in a single volume available in our graphic novel section. Be sure to check it out if you like thoughtful and terrifying horror.

Today’s movie recommendation is Dagon directed by  Stuart Gordon.

Stuart Gordon is no stranger to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. He has directed numerous Lovecraft adaptations such as Reanimator, From Beyond, and Dreams in the Witch House. With Dagon, Stuart Gordon takes on adapting one of Lovecraft’s most well-known works The Shadows Over Innsmouth.

If you’re a fan of Lovecraft, you know the story: a group of friends that have been sailing wash ashore in a fishing town after something attacked their ship. They soon find out something is very “fishy” about the townsfolk and start to unravel the mystery of the cult of Dagon.

In my opinion this is the best movie adaption of an H.P. Lovecraft story that I have seen. You need to check it out.

And…while it is more of a wish than a recommendation, let’s all keep our fingers crossed that someday we will get to see a Guillermo del Toro adaptation of  Mountains of Madness!

Matt’s Countdown to Halloween Comic Fest: 4 Days Left!

Only 4 days to go until Halloween Comic Fest 2018! Here’s Matt with today’s recommendations. [Editor’s note: Due to some technical issues this post went up a day late. My apologies.]

Today we have 2 book recommendations! The first one up is Redlands written by Jordie Bellaire with art by Vanesa R. Del Rey .

Redlands tells the story of a power struggle happening in the small town of Redlands, Florida. The police are losing control of their town and rather than your typical criminal enterprise attempting to fill that vacuum, a coven of witches are the ones who look to take everything for themselves. This book weaves a tale that mixes elements of modern politics with the style of a southern gothic horror story. The writing mixed with Vanesa R. Del Rey’s stunning surreal art makes this book an experience you don’t want to miss. You can catch up on the series with Volume 1 which is available in our graphic novel section and check out new issues as they hit our shelves!

My second book reccomendation is Aliens: Dead Orbit which features the writing and art of James Stokoe.

There have been Aliens comics for almost as long as I can remember. Now, all of them haven’t been so great, but once in a while a special one comes along that transports you into that world and Dead Orbit is one of those books. The book captures the dread and claustrophobia of the first film and makes this an absolute must for fans of space horror or the Aliens films. 

Today’s movie recommendations is Tales of Halloween which features the talents of numerous directors.

This movie features a fun modern collection of stories in the classic horror anthology vein of Trick R Treat. The movie features ten stories packed with laughs, shocks and buckets of blood. This is a fun flick I recommend seeing right away to put you in the Mood for Halloween. If you want to check this one out you can find it on Blu-ray, DVD, or streaming on Netflix.

 

Matt’s Countdown to Halloween Comic Fest 2018: 5 Days To Go!

Only 5 days to go until Halloween Comic Fest 2018! With so little time left, we better get right to the recommendations!

Today’s comic recommendation is Winnebago Graveyard by Steve Niles and Alison Sampson.

Master horror writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) brings us this short, but chilling story.

Winnebago Graveyard brings us the story of a family on a cross country vacation in their RV. During a pit stop to a small town to pick up necessities they quickly find out that they should have stopped ANYWHERE else! Their detour sets off a downward spiral of mystery and horror that, while it may make for a memorable vacation, isn’t the sort of trip anyone is looking to have.

Steve Niles is such a fun writer when he is doing horror and Alison Sampson’s art pops right off the page. This is one comic you don’t want to overlook this year, so be sure to check it out next time you stop in the store! 

Today’s film recommendation is the 2018 modern classic Hereditary by writer/director Ari Aster.

Now what kind of a list would this be if I didn’t talk about 2018’s biggest horror film?

This movie is absolutely fantastic. The visual direction is stunning and surprisingly so when you take into account that this is Ari Aster’s directorial debut for a full length film.

The story of Hereditary revolves the loss of a family’s matriarch. Upon her passing, strange things start happening to the family, particularly the grandchildren. The story itself is a well researched and unsettling tale of a family tormented by an unknown presence (ala the Babadook) while at the same time playing out as a family drama centered on exploring feelings of loss and grief. Toni Collette delivers an amazing performance with an emotional weight that draws you in and the supernatural elements of the film will keep you on the edge of your seat.

While the film isn’t perfect, it does deliver an incredibly creepy experience with amazing directing. It is currently available on DVD and Blu-ray. Also, sneaking in an extra recommendation here, if you like Heriditary you may want to check out Pyewacket on Hulu. 

Matt’s Countdown to Halloween Comic Fest 2018: 6 Days Left

It’s Fanfare’s own connoisseur of all things creepy Matt here! We only have 6 days until Halloween Comic Fest is here and I am counting down with comic and movie recommendations to keep the season spooky. 

Today’s movie recommendation is the 2017 Paco Plaza vilm Verónica.

Verónica is a teen living with her mother and two younger siblings in Madrid. Veronica awakens a presence one day when she hosts a seance while attending her Catholic school. What follows is a tale of possession and demonic force which, on paper, looks like it treads on familiar grounds. However, the execution of the movie is so well done it overcomes the common genre tropes and gives the movie an original feel. This movie establishes an atmosphere of dread heightened by amazing visuals that you don’t want to overlook. A subtitled version of the film is currently available for you to check out on Netflix.

Matt’s Countdown to HCF 2018: 7 Days to Go!

There’s a chill in the air. Leaves are blowing on the howling wind. Something…is coming. That something is Halloween Comic Fest 2018! On Saturday, October 27th we will be giving away tons of free Halloween comics and if you stop by in costume, we will feature you on our social media pages! 

The thing is…we can’t wait until then for the fun to start. So Matt, Fanfare’s own connoisseur of all things creepy, is counting down to HCF with daily horror comic and movie recommendations! Let’s kick off the 2018 countdown! 

 
Oh, you’re still here? I haven’t scared you away quite yet? Well then I guess I owe you a movie recommendation. 
 
My first movie recommendation is the Netflix Original Movie: The Ritual.

Six months after the death of their friend, a group of college classmates reunite to honor his passing with a memorial hike along the Kungleden in northern Sweden. During the hike, an injury occurs that causes the group to take an ill-fated shortcut. What follows is atmospheric horror filled with occult rituals and a stalking creature that will haunt your dreams. Check out the secrets of The Ritual…if you dare!
 
Well, that’s it for the first day of the countdown. Be sure to check in tomorrow to see what other fiendish delights we have in store!

Panini NBA Player of the Day 2018

The Panini NBA Player of the Day Promotion runs Monday, March 5th  through April 3rd!

The prizes this year are amazing. Winners have chances at:

  • Special Player of the Day Promotional Card Packs [Click here for a preview of this year’s set]
  • A Signed Henry Ellenson (Detroit Pistons) Photo 
  • Store grand prize: A numbered Andre Drummond autograph card plus entry into Panini’s national sweepstakes where you could win a day with an NBA player and a $250.00 shopping spree at Fanfare

How to Play

Step 1 – You can enter by purchasing a pack of 2017-18 Panini brand NBA Cards. This includes popular brands such as Donruss, Hoops, Revolution and others. There is a no-purchase-necessary option as well (ask us to see the official rules for details).

Step 2 – To win, you must open a pack of cards you have purchased in front of a store employee. If you “pull” the highlighted Panini NBA Player of the Day or any of the Wild Cards (Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant) you are a daily winner and will receive two special promotional packs on the spot.

You can also become an automatic daily winner by purchasing a box of any eligible product. 

Each time you are a daily winner you earn one raffle entry towards being that week’s “weekly winner”.

You may only be a daily winner once a day and up to seven days a week. 

Step 3 – Four times during the promotion we will randomly select one of the daily winners as a weekly prize winner and award a prize package from a kit provided by Panini. Weekly winners will then be put into a raffle to win the store’s grand prize, an autographed Andre Drummond card.

Step 4 – At the conclusion of the 30-day promotion, we will randomly select one of the four weekly winners as the store grand prize winner. The winner will be awarded the grand prize, an autographed Andre Drummond card, and entered into the Panini national sweepstakes where they have a chance to spend a day with an NBA player and a $250.00 shopping spree at Fanfare!

Step 5 – After we have selected our grand prize winner, we will then do a drawing for our runner-up prize, an autographed photo of Detroit Piston Henry Ellenson! All of our daily winners, with the exception of our grand prize winner, will be entered in this drawing!

Here is a look at both our grand prize and our runner-up prize:

 

First up, the grand prize (an autographed Andre Drummon card):

 

And our awesome runner-up prize, an autographed picture from Detroit Piston Henry Ellenson:

MATT’S COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN COMIC FEST – THE BIG DAY IS TOMORROW!

Halloween Comic Fest is tomorrow! We can’t wait to give you some awesome comics and check out your costumes this Saturday! Here is Matt with his final entry in our Countdown to Halloween Comic Fest blog series:

Hello Everyone! Well here we are. It’s been fun sharing all of the things I love with you guys, but all good things must come
to and end. So, as they say,  I’ve saved the best for last!

My final comic selection is master horror writer Junji Ito’s finest work Uzumaki (Spiral).

Uzumaki takes us to Kurozu-cho a coastal town faced with a curse; the shape of a spiral. The image of a spiral haunts citizens and drives them mad with obsession. They will do anything to make themselves closer to the spiral, even to the point of causing bodily harm to themselves. The madness of the spiral spreads and threatens the entire town with its all encompassing madness.

This is by far the creepiest book I’ve ever read in my life. It cements Junji Ito as one of the absolute greatest
minds horror has ever seen. After finishing this book I felt unsettled for days afterward. I have never seen or read anything quite like it.

It’s not a gore fest that grosses you out its a book that plays with you on a psychological level and makes things seem out of place. I cannot recommend this book enough if you want something scary!

Now, to turn away from the page and to the screen. Today’s film recommendation is one of my favorite recent horror movies, it is noneother than 2016’s The Void by writer/directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski. 

Did you enjoy The Thing and have been looking for something to scratch that itch since the 80’s?
Then you will love this movie! It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in years and as a bonus it also has Lovecraftian themes.

The Void  is an impressive film about a cult that’s stalking an injured man. A local sheriff finds the man and takes him to a hospital to tend to his wounds. However, the hospital ends up not to be the safe haven it was intended to be as the cult members finally catch up. Madness begins to spread inside the hospital in the cult members presence and soon all hell breaks loose.

This film looks like it was pulled right out of the 80’s and seems like John Carpenter himself could have been its creator. It uses practical creature effects throughout the entire film which is a style that, sadly, is almost nonexistent now. The Void is currently on Netflix, and I cannot suggest it strongly enough.

Well thanks for reading these posts everyone. The horror genre means a great deal
to me. It’s always been there to help me along in my life and bring me joy . This year I wanted to share that passion with you and I hope you enjoyed yourselves along the way!

If you have any questions about the books or films I’ve written about in this blog series or just want to chat with me about this awesome genre please feel free. I’m (almost) always at the store
and more than willing to chat about what I love. Well thanks again everyone and have a happy Halloween!!!

MATT’S COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN COMIC FEST – 2 DAYS TO GO!

Halloween Comic Fest is just two days away! We hope you’re all ready to show off your coolest costumes and get some free comics!
Here is Matt with today’s suggestions:

Hello everyone! Today’s comic recommendation is the vampire masterpiece 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith.

You may already be familiar with the premise of this book due to its 2007 film adaptation. Just in case you aren’t though, this story takes place in a small town in Alaska that goes through full month stretches of no daylight. Aka: an all-a-vampire-can-eat buffet! The writing and art work flawlessly together to create a modern day vampire classic.

Today’s film recommendation is House of the Devil from writer/director Ti West.

This slow burning 80’s throwback film follows Samantha, a financially hard-up college student, who decides to take a strange babysitting job to help cover her expenses. She has so many warnings that taking the job is a bad idea, but more and more money thrown into the offer make it almost impossible for her to refuse.

Samantha eventually accepts the job and finds that her task is to watch over an elderly woman for an evening. The evening in question just happens to coincide with a lunar eclipse. As the night goes on, horrific things begin to occur and Samantha finds she may have wanted to negotiate for a life insurance policy before she accepted the job.

This is one of the best occult movies I have ever seen and this film alone cements Ti West as a master of tension building. If you enjoy this one, I strongly suggest you also check out his other film Inkeepers.

Well thanks again everyone. I will be back tomorrow on Halloween Comic Fest Eve for my final recommendations of the season!