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Remembering George A. Romero: The Day I Hugged a Legend

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Losing someone… anyone… is always hard. George A. Romero had more to do with my upbringing than my very own parents. I grew up amidst dysfunctional family circus. My parents were constantly fighting… furiously… unrelentingly so. As a result I, like many of you, grew up in front of my television set.

Night of the Living Dead was the cause of my first spanking, and it set me on my way at just three years old to becoming who I am right now. I was up late and watching TV without my parents’ knowledge. I saw the newscast portion of the film. I thought it was real. They thought I was nuts but were even more furious when I dragged them both into the living room, pointed at the TV, and of course what was on was NOTLD. I remember lying in bed that night, my butt pounding, but so excited. I was scared to death, but also safe as could be. It was that rush I’ve been chasing my whole life since.

When I was like 11, it was time for me to get my first job. It was 1983, and like most Italian kids from Brooklyn, it was some form of weird right of passage to have your first job be in a pizzeria. I worked an entire summer to save up for the first video cassette I ever bought… the Media Home Entertainment copy of Night of the Living Dead. It was $99.99 plus tax and worth every damned penny.

Night of the Living Dead

Romero and his many movies dictated in which directions my moral compass would lead me. I learned right and wrong from movies like Dawn of the Dead, The Crazies, etc. George A. Romero, through film, became my idol. My absolute mentor. Without ever even knowing it.

Years later I got my first interview with him. It was 8:00AM in Maryland at the HorrorFind convention. George’s manager, and another close friend, Chris Roe, had actually given me his room key. There I was… in his hotel room. The legend. My idol. The icon. I was bad. I went and peed in his bathroom. Didn’t even hold it. Let it go free. Thankfully I have great aim. From there I went and hugged his pillow. Then I went and sat in every possible seat in his room just to know my butt had sat in the same spot in which greatness had. I sat down, heart throbbing, sweating, waiting… I looked at his ashtray brimming with cigarette butts. I made sure I took the seat right across from it. The doorknob began to jingle, and in walked this giant of a man… larger than life… I shook his hand… immediately welled up… He saw I was nervous… His first words to me… “Relax, man. Let’s bullshit.

That right there is the epitome of George A. Romero. He never considered himself the legend that he was and remains to be. He was the nicest, warmest man I’d ever met. He immediately put me at ease and was listening to me jabber, I’m sure much to his own amusement. That was the beginning of one of the greatest relationships I’ve ever been lucky enough to have. I told him about my spanking. He said, “Hey, sorry about yer ass, man!

Through the years I’ve kissed this man every time I saw him. If I couldn’t be where he was, I asked others to kiss him and tell him it was from Uncle Creepy. He always got a kick out of that. I’ve watched him at conventions… he would sit down and not leave no matter how long it took to make sure everyone got their stuff signed. He rarely even took a break. George was genuinely as happy to meet his fans as they were to meet him. He took his time with every single person. It was something to see. Something special. Someone special.

I even went to Universal Studios with him and the then Horror Channel crew including Sean Clark, George’s lovely wife Suz, Debi, Knetter, Eileen Dietz, and of course Chris Roe. I cannot ever forget riding Spider-Man with him. Is this real life? What the fuck did I do to deserve this?!? We e-mailed a lot when we couldn’t see each other. He’d taken to calling me Ramirez for some reason, and I would refer to him as Whit Bissell. It didn’t matter why, and we never ever thought to even try to explain it. It was just a thing, ya know?

Universal Romero

Years later George asked me to be a zombie in Survival of the Dead. You can read all about that here if you wish. My bucket list is over. That was it. A few months later I recorded a commentary track with him that was for BD-LIVE. During it we both got profusely shit-faced. There I was on his couch recording a fucking commentary for George A. Romero. I’ve never stopped feeling honored. Unfortunately it’s not available anymore. Michael Felsher, another dear friend, just sent me a copy of it. Maybe I’ll post it. You have no idea how happy I am to have it. I told George after the commentary about the pizzeria story. He immediately put his hand in his pocket and offered to give me my money back. I told him to go scratch his ass. We both laughed endlessly, continued drinking, and then went for sushi.

Muppett Romero

Today came news I was dreading my entire life. At this point I’m at the 854-word mark and haven’t stopped crying yet. George… thank you for who you were. Thank you for accepting me and welcoming this fucking idiot street kid with no common sense into your life. I love you so very much and will miss you every single time I draw a breath. I love you. I love you. I miss you already.

God… I have no more words.

– Ramirez

George A Romero

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Fright-Rags Announces New HOUSE OF 100 CORPSES Collection!

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“You like blood? Violence? Freaks of nature?!”

Next Wednesday, May 30 at 10 am EST Fright-Rags will be unleashing their officially licensed collection based on Rob Zombie’s splatter classic House of 1000 Corpses.

The collection includes a brand-new Captain Spaulding mini-mask with all the vintage style of the classic Ben Cooper / Collegeville masks, but at a collectible size.

On top of that, the collection includes Wax Pack trading cards available in single packs, factory boxes or larger sealed boxes, featuring official movie photo cards, stickers, special foil cards, parallel chase cards, and more.

This is all in addition to new t-shirts, socks, an enamel pins with art from Justin Osbourn, Kyle Crawford, Abrar Ajmal, Butch X, Sara Deck, John Tatarelli Jr., and Joe Guy Allard.

Check out pics of the merch below and then make sure to let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The collection is coming May 30 at 10am EST on Fright-Rags.com

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Trailer: Argento and Bava Inspired Neo-Giallo THE ANTITHESIS

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I don’t know about you, but I love the films of Dario Argento and Mario Bava. And thus, I’m excited about Francesco Mirabelli’s upcoming Italian horror film The Antithesis. Not only is the film inspired by Argento and Bava, but its score is composed by Claudio Simonetti, who some of you may know better as the keyboardist for Goblin.

If you’re as interested as I am in this new film, then you’ll want to check out the trailer below and the poster to the right. After looking through all of that, make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The film is directed by Francesco Mirabelli from a screenplay written by Mirabelli, Francesco Basso, and Stefano Ricciardi. It stars Crisula Stafida, Marina Loi, and Nives Gaudioso. The score is composed by Claudio Simonetti, keyboardist for Goblin. BayView Entertainment releases the film on DVD July 17th.

Synopsis:

An isolated house in the countryside is beset by strange phenomena caused by bizarre temperature surges. Taking the advice of an architect, a young female geologist agrees to spend the night in the mysterious house in an attempt to identify the strange happenings. Once there, she finds herself trapped in a parallel reality… inside a vortex of horror and delirium.

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Ridley Scott Teases THE TERROR Season 2

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This past week we saw AMC and executive producer Ridley Scott’s horror series The Terror wrap up its first season. And, no spoilers, but the series seems to have come to an end. But no worries, the show was always meant to be an anthology, so what do the powers that be have in mind for season 2?

Well, Scott recently spoke with IndieWire and said the Franklin expedition won’t be followed up on and that they’re looking at several different possibilities for a second season.

You wouldn’t follow this through, I don’t think,” Scott said. “This is complete, but they’re looking for another season of something else. It doesn’t have to even be period, right? It could be modern. So right now, we’re circling the wagons on several things.”

What would you like to see The Terror season 2 cover? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The ten-episode series stars Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies, Ciarán Hinds, Paul Ready, Adam Nagaitis, Nive Nielsen, Ian Hart, and Trystan Gravelle. It’s produced by Scott Free, Emjag Productions, and Entertainment 360 in association with AMC Studios. In addition to Scott, the series is executive produced by David Kajganich, Soo Hugh, David W. Zucker, Alexandra Milchan, Scott Lambert, and Guymon Casady.

AMC hasn’t renewed the series for a second season yet.

Synopsis:

British Royal Navy Capt. Sir John Franklin is nearing the end of an uneven career. Described as “a man everyone likes, but no one respects,” Franklin has seen men die under his leadership on previous expeditions, and now he would like to retire with honors by discovering the Northwest Passage. Guiding the HMS Erebus into uncharted territory, Franklin’s most perilous journey yet pushes his crew to the brink of extinction. Frozen, isolated and stuck at the end of the earth, the men have been put in horrible danger by their commander’s Victorian hubris. A struggle to survive ignites infighting, and Franklin must try to undo the damage he has caused.

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