Jeffrey Combs Talks Rock and Shock, Playing Poe, and Preparing for Nevermore in Boston - Dread Central
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Jeffrey Combs Talks Rock and Shock, Playing Poe, and Preparing for Nevermore in Boston




Jeffrey Combs has been a mainstay in the horror genre for decades. This weekend he’ll be one of the featured guests at Rock and Shock in Worcester, MA (October 17-19), promoting his performance of Nevermore in Boston on October 31.

Nevermore is a one-man performance in which Combs channels Edgar Allan Poe. The show will be held in the Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA, on Halloween night at 8 p.m. This is a performance that is not to be missed. Combs is unforgettable in the role of Poe. Interested parties can purchase tickets here. A ticket to the Nevermore performance also entitles the bearer to a screening of Masque of the Red Death, which will be shown after Nevermore.

Combs discussed what audiences can expect when attending a Nevermore performance. “What we try to do is an imaginary recital,” Combs said. “In Poe’s day, that’s really the only way writers could augment their incomes. There was really no such thing as royalties. You sold your story or book once, and that was it. So a lot of writers in his day would hold recitals. They would hold forth in front of a paying audience and read their material or other people’s material. Kind of like a public appearance.”

However, in Combs’ performance things go a bit awry for the legendary writer. “Ours is a little bit different,” Combs said. “It starts out traditionally. If you know anything about Poe, he was kind of his own worst enemy. It corkscrews into self-destruction. He pulls out a bottle at one point, and that’s the catalyst to open the floodgates of frustration at other writers and the situation in America, his own biography, what’s going on in his life. It becomes a raw nerve. And, fortunately, at the end, he rallies and pulls himself together with some kind of grace and poise.”

Combs talked about the various sides of his version of Edgar Allan Poe. “It’s not your traditional ‘wasn’t that sweet’ sort of thing,” Combs says of Nevermore. “Having said that, there’s quite a bit of humor. Poe was quite a witty guy. Whenever I say I do a one-man show of Poe, people’s eyes glass over, and they think that might be a very dark evening indeed. But he had many colors on his palette. I liken him to America’s Van Gogh. A very complex man. I’m only scratching the surface with my little guesstimation. My Poe is sort of the dark version of what Hal Holbrook does with Mark Twain. In fact, he came to see my show, and I cherish that so much. He actually came and saw my show in Los Angeles. It meant so much to me.”

As they have frequently in the past, Combs and Stuart Gordon conceived this project together. “We first started performing Nevermore in 2009,” Combs said. “This all started when I did an episode of the Showtime series “Masters of Horror”. Stuart Gordon was directing and asked me to play Poe in an episode called “The Black Cat.” When we were on set, he kept saying, ‘You’ve gotta do a one-man show.’ And I kept saying, ‘Get outta here. Get outta my face. Not interested.’ So a couple of years go by when he gently, like Yoda, kept prodding me. So I finally asked him what it would be like. He kind of came up with a format, and long story short, we acquired a small black box theater in L.A. and had a four-week run that exploded into six months. Over the course of the next year or so, I was invited to do it all over the country. I’ve been to Alamo Drafthouse. I went to Fantasia in Montreal. I was invited to Baltimore to do it for Poe’s bicentennial as part of that celebration, right next to where he’s buried. That was a huge honor. Nashville, Lincoln Center, San Diego…and now Boston, Poe’s birthplace.”

Jeffrey Combs

With a career as long and storied as Combs’ has been, it carries particular weight to hear him talk about how much this role means to him. “It truly is one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever done,” Combs said. “The whole structure of the evening, about 85 to 90 percent of what I say, is Poe’s words from his essays, letters, poems. I keep discovering things every time I do it. It doesn’t get stale basically because Poe is so vibrant and so complex and there are so many facets to him that it’s kind of like doing Shakespeare. Every time you do it, you go, ‘Whoa, I didn’t hear that before.’ But there it is. My God, it’s layers upon layers of meaning. It’s just the gift that keeps on giving.”

So what does it take to transform from mild-mannered Jeffrey Combs into fiery Edgar Allan Poe? “An actor prepares,” Combs said. “The hardest thing is to get my stamina up. I’ve got to up my treadmill because it’s quite an energetic evening. Poe being Poe, I get pretty wound up. I’ve got to have my body and my voice and my emotion…one of the hardest things to do is to zero down into Poe mode. When I was in my long run, my wife was like, ‘Why are you so depressed or so…’ Melancholy, that was the word. And I was. Well, that’s because… Poe. You sort of stay in the zone. Nothing crazy. I mean, I’m not out in the street taking my underwear around my ankles screaming at the stars or anything. But there’s sort of a cone you buy into. As I get closer to this performance, that’s something I’m going to have to circle around and live with for a little bit.”

To help promote the October 31 performance of Nevermore, Combs is returning to Rock and Shock in Worcester, MA, for the convention on October 17-19. He speaks fondly of the convention itself and his memories of past appearances there. “I was there the first year. I was one of their first guests,” Combs said proudly. “Gina Migliozzi and the organizers are great! I didn’t know them when I first went there, and you never know when you go to these things; you go, ‘Who are these people?’ But they’re just so genuine. They put on such a great convention. It’s been years since I’ve been back. I went there the first year, and maybe two or three years later I went back. I always have a great time. They’re imaginative and they have such a great hybrid with the music and the fan base as well. Great locale, good people. I’m really looking forward to going back. I think it’s one of the premier events in the country. It’s really grown into that.”


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New Insidious: The Last Key Trailer Speaks Softly But Carries a Big Whistle



The last word we brought you guys on the fourth installment in the Insidious franchise was when we let you know the new film had snagged a PG-13 rating from the MPAA for “disturbing thematic content, violence and terror, and brief strong language”.

Today we have a new trailer/TV spot for Insidious: The Last Key, and if you aren’t already on board for a fourth round of spooky shite courtesy of screenwriter Leigh Whannel, maybe this quick trailer will do the trick.

You can check out the new trailer below; then let us know how excited you are for Insidious: The Last Key!

I’m digging what I’ve seen from the new film thus far, and this new trailer only strengthens that. Plus I’m excited to see what director Adam Robitel can do with this series after his fucking terrifying previous film The Taking of Deborah Logan.

The film is directed by Adam Robitel from a script by Leigh Whannell and stars Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Josh Stewart, Caitlin Gerard, Kirk Acevedo, Javier Botet, Bruce Davison, Spencer Locke, Tessa Ferrer, Ava Kolker, and Marcus Henderson.

Insidious: The Last Key hits theaters January 5, 2018.


Parapsychologist Elise Rainier and her team travel to Five Keys, N.M., to investigate a man’s claim of a haunting. Terror soon strikes when Rainier realizes that the house he lives in was her family’s old home.

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Luke Genton’s The Bone Box Trailer Proves Not All Graves Are Quiet



Sometimes a fright flick comes along that sells me on the logline itself. And writer-director Luke Genton’s upcoming supernatural horror movie The Bone Box has just such a premise.

The film follows the story of a grave robber who comes to believe he’s being haunted by those he stole from. And if that premise doesn’t sell you on at least checking out the film’s trailer, I don’t know what to do for you.

Speaking of the trailer, you can check it out below. Then let us know what you think below!

The film stars Gareth Koorzen (The Black That Follows), Michelle Krusiec (The Invitation), and Maria Olsen (Starry Eyes), Jamie Bernadette (I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu), David Chokachi (Baywatch), Aaron Schwartz (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), and Tess Bellomo (Liked).

Look for updates on Facebook HERE and the Director’s Instagram: @lukegenton.

The Bone Box is currently in post-production. It is scheduled to be completed by November 2017 and is seeking distribution.


Depressed and reeling from the recent death of his wife, Tom (Koorzen) has built up quite a gambling debt. He goes to stay with his wealthy Aunt Florence (Olsen) in hopes that she will write him into her will. When a nasty creditor makes it clear that Tom is out of time, he devises a plan with Elodie (Krusiec), the undertaker’s daughter, to rob the graves of the rich townspeople buried in the cemetery across the road. After plundering the graves, Tom begins hearing and seeing strange things that seem to coincide with the deaths of the people he robbed. Even more disconcerting… he appears to be the only one sensing the occurrences. One question lingers: Is Tom’s conscience playing a trick on him… or is he really being haunted by those he stole from?

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Last Meeple Standing

H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival: The Card Game, Overview and Review – Last Meeple Standing



Yeah, I know. I’ve said it before, and I will scream it to the heavens again: There is an abysmal glut of Lovecraft Mythos games out there (and still streaming into the market). For a while there, it was vampire games (wanna take a sparkly guess why?). Then, it was zombie games (only Robert Kirkman knows why). Now it is Lovecraft games, and it is a LOT of them. Shambling, fish-headed masses of them, weighing down the game shop shelves like heavily laden buckets of freshly shorn tentacles (calm down, hentai fans). It’s true, and a lot of them seem to be sad doppelgangers of other games, just skinned with a rotting coat of Elder God goo.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Hahn

For that reason, it is nice to run across a Lovecraft-themed game that is GOOD. H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival: The Card Game is one of those… it’s good, but it’s not great (for ONE painful reason). But, for our nefarious purposes today, that’s good enough. The stars are PARTIALLY in alignment. There is one little detail to get out of the way before we wade into the spawn-infested miasma of this game: it is the hellish offspring of an earlier, more complex game called (you guessed it) H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival the board game. Much has been said about the relationship between these two games and many comparisons have been made, but since I neither own the board game nor have I played it, let’s leave it to fester in cold, barren space all by its lonesome for now. I’m sure its time will come…when the stars are right (rolling his eyes).

It is RARE (like fresh Deep One filets) that the components of a game are as nice as the gameplay, but there are two elements of Kingsport Festival: TCG that really make it shine. The first is the titular cards that make up the bulk of the game. The artwork on the tarot-sized cards depicting the various gods, lesser gods, demons, and evil corgis (I kid) from the Mythos is dark and shows off the creatures to good/evil effect. I have to admit that these are some of my favorite depictions of the creatures from Lovecraft’s mind I’ve seen. They really look threatening here. The portraits on the cards presenting the investigators/evil cultists look dignified, a little creepy, and mysterious, as is only right for nogoodniks taking on Cthulhu’s worst. The graphic design is really classy with easily interpreted iconography and border artwork. Equal care has been taken with the backs of the cards, which have appropriately aged and Victorian elements. The only parts to this game are the cards and the dice. Wait, this is a card game, right?

Well, yes and no.

Although cards make up the lion’s share of the game, there is a heavy dice aspect as well, and these are some NICE dice. I’m a SUCKER for custom dice, and Kingsport Festival: TCG comes loaded with them. There are three types of dice: a white d10 with a clock icon on one face, brain-pink (a nice touch) d12 dice representing the player’s sanity with a Sanity icon on one face, and grey Domain d6 dice with three types of domain faces: purple Evil, black Death, and red Destruction. All of the dice are high-quality and engraved, not printed, with easily recognizable faces for ease of play and match up nicely with the icons on the game’s cards. Squee! Wonderfully evil custom dice!

Set up is pretty basic. All of the cards depicting the horrid gods are displayed in order of their power in six rows within reach of all of the players. The total number of copies of each type of god card is dictated by how many people are playing, so the number varies. Each player gets one of the brain-ilicious d12s with which to track their sanity and sets it to 10. All players white timer die, with the high roller taking the role of the starting player. Then each player sets their Sanity die to 10 (yes, the value can be increased up to 12 through game effects. That player takes the white d10 and sets it to the clock face. Players can pick an investigator card, but I suggest dealing them out at random to each player to liven things up (before they get driven insane, of course).

Gameplay is equally simple, yet strangely engaging. The first player takes the white timer d10, passes it to the next player to their left, who turns it to the number 1, effectively creating a timer that will count up from 1 to 10, ending the game. That player becomes the starting player. Once the white die is passed, the passing player increases their Sanity by one, as will be the mechanic throughout the rest of the game.

At the start of a game, the players will have no cards in their hands. They acquire them throughout the game, but we’ll talk about a general turn. The starting player rolls one of the domain dice and notes the resultant face. If they have cards to play, now is when they would play them. The card effects are varied. They might instruct the player to roll more dice, add specified domains to their pool of domains, change rolled die faces, etc. There are many possibilities. After the player has played all the cards they wish to and resolved the card effects, the player may spend the resources/domains gained through the dice they’ve rolled and the cards they have played to buy ONE god from the displayed cards and add it to their hand. It should be noted that players are limited to one and only one copy of each available god.

Once the player has completed their turn, they check to see if the round indicator on the white d10 matches one of the Raid rounds shown on the investigator card at the very bottom. If the numbers match, the player must compare the Gun icons on his cards to the strength of the raid indicated on his character card. If the Cultist’s strength is greater, he gains the difference in Sanity points. If the Cultist’s strength matches the Raid strength, they neither gain nor lose Sanity. If the Cultist’s strength is less than the Raid strength, they lose the difference in Sanity points. After this, the next player to the left will take their turn.

The game ends at the end of the ninth round, unless a Cultist is able to invoke the Elder God Azathoth, which results in dogs and cats sleeping together (no, not really). The cultists look at all of their god cards and add up the Elder God symbols at the bottom of each card. The Cultist with the most Elder God symbols/points at the end of the game WINS!

So, there you have it: an epic battle between creepy Cultists and ghoulish Gods in one rather small box. I’ll get to the point. I really like H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival: The Card Game. I happen to be fond of little filler games like this. The box lists the playtime for this game as 30 min, but once the players know the rules, you can cut playtime down to 20 min, easy. It lists the age limit at 13+, which I think is absurd. There is nothing in the theme or artwork that would preclude players 10 and up from playing, other than rule complexity. Between the awesome art, the devilish dice, and the rad rules (ugh…), there is not much to dislike about this game… other than the hellish rules. You may be asking what I mean. The rules seem easy. They ARE. It’s the rulebook that is a pain in the neck. For some reason, the graphic designer (I’m looking at you, Savini -no, not Tom-) decided to print all of the rule examples in the book in a nearly unreadable “old-timey” font that is TINY. I think they thought they were adding flavor. If so, that flavor is YUCKY. When learning a new game, you want crystal-clear rules, not something you have to squint and struggle over, like this sad, arcane tome. The same hellish font appears on the cards in places, as well, making me one unhappy game collector. You may look past it, but I had a hard time doing so. Other than that, though, the game is great fun, a nice way to fill in time between bigger games, and beautiful to look at. You make your own judgement.

Designer: Gianluca Santopietro
Artist: Maichol Quinto and Demis Savini
Publisher: Passport Games/ Giochi Uniti
Published: 2016
Players/Playtime/Age Rating: 3 -5 players/30 min/13+ (seriously?)


Last Meeple Standing is brought to you by Villainous Lair Comics & Games, the ultimate destination for board game fanatics in Southern California. For more information visit the official Villainous Lair Comics & Games website, “Like” the Villainous Lair Facebook page and be sure to follow Villainous Lair on Twitter and Instagram.

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