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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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Want a LEGO Godzilla Set? Here’s Your Chance!

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The longest-running franchises in cinema history, the Godzilla films have created a cultural icon in the form of the titular beast. Simply hearing its roar or seeing its silhouette is enough to let us know precisely what we’re looking at. Having ventured out of cinema and forayed into TV shows, comic books, video games, and countless merchandise options, Godzilla still hasn’t managed to break into one of the world’s most popular toy company: LEGO. However, that might change if BRICK_101 has their say via LEGO Ideas, where they submitted a design based on the 1954 original film!

Here’s the description from the site:
This model contains approximately 850 LEGO pieces, stands 9 inches (23 cm) tall, and measures 17 inches (44 cm) from head to tail. Godzilla has had many different designs over the years, but we based ours on the original 1954 movie. The arms, legs, jaw, and tail are hinged to allow the model to be posed in a variety of positions. In addition to Godzilla, the set also includes a small microscale train for Godzilla to stomp on or chomp on and a flame piece to represent Godzilla’s atomic breath.

The website allows people to submit their own ideas (such as this Call of Cthulhu set) and then allow the public to vote on whether or not they want to see it get made. Should the idea get 10,000 votes, it then gets moved up the ladder within LEGO’s headquarters and a decision is made to see if they want to make an official set.

So, if you want to see LEGO make an official Godzilla set, click on the link above and cast your vote!

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#Brainwaves Episode 78 Guest Announcement: Legendary Film Composer Harry Manfredini

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The Friday the 13th franchise without the music of Harry Manfredini would be like peanut butter without jelly. McDonalds without the Big Mac. Knetter without Creepy. His music defined a generation of horror fans, and few could have done it better, if at all. Now Manfredini brings his equally as unique voice to Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

Join us this coming Wednesday, February 21st, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

SUPPORT BRAINWAVES ON PATREON!

Listen to Stitcher

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC using the hashtag #BrainWaves. You can also check us out on our Brainwaves Discord channel!

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at UncleCreepy@dreadcentral.com with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

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Supernatural Irish Horror Beyond the Woods Hits Home Video and VOD This February

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Supernatural Irish horror Beyond the Woods makes its way to DVD and VOD from Left Films!

Shot on location in Ireland, Beyond the Woods echoes the creepy supernatural horror of recent Irish genre hits The Hallow and The Canal, with its eerie and grisly tale of an unknown evil.

Synopsis:
Seven friends meet up in the Irish countryside for a secluded weekend getaway but unfortunately for them a fiery sinkhole has opened up in the mountains nearby. It’s burning hot, spewing out sulphur and casting a hellish stench over the local area. Determined to make the most of the weekend, the group decide not to let the noxious atmosphere get to them…but it’s getting worse. Soon the troubling hallucinations begin as an ancient evil starts to take hold. What malevolent force has crawled from the sinkhole and will any of them survive the weekend?

Following a successful run on the festival circuit where it picked up the Best Feature Film Award at the World International Film Festival Montreal in 2017, Seán Breathnach’s spine-chilling low budget nightmare finally makes its way to UK and North American DVD and VOD courtesy of Left Films.

On digital/VOD February 5th, DVD February 19th.

UK DVD AMAZON
UK VOD ITUNES
US VOD ITUNES

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