Many fans of horror, amateur and professional alike, have devoted themselves to blogging about the thrills, chills, and no-frills side of the genre as seen in cinema and print. In this ongoing series that highlights the writers behind the blogs, we meet the unique personalities and talents that make the online horror scene so engaging. Up close and personal.
In this installment, Cortez the Killer and Complaint Dept. from Planet of Terror tag team all the horror and the personal stats for us.
Cortez the Killer Speaks
I was born in 1978 in San Diego, CA. Aside from a horror geek, I’m a corporate desk jockey, a rabid fan of heavy metal music, love to cook, and I’m not afraid to admit that my first concert ever was Billy Ray Cyrus. In my defense, I had no say in the matter.
Complaint Dept. and I met while working at the same company and became friends after learning of our mutual love of horror films, heavy metal, and over-the-top soft rock songsters (he, Michael McDonald, and I, Phil ‘The Man’ Collins).
My initial exposure to the world of horror started at a young age when my parents would stay up late until after I had gone to bed and turned on the VCR and popped in a flick. My dad has always loved horror and my mom would go along sparingly with his film selections. The memory of them watching Aliens 2 is still ingrained in my mind. After I was put to bed one night, I went out into the hallway and peered out from the corner, catching a side glimpse of the TV in the living room. The opening scene where Ripley wakes up after dreaming about an alien popping out of her belly immediately elicited a scream from me. My parents lead me back to my room and scolded me as this was something clearly not meant for the eyes of children. This feeling of something ‘for my parents eyes only,’ coupled with that initial scare and burst of fright, is what kept me coming back for more. I liked the element of danger and I kind of liked pissing off my parents.
Continuing on through grammar school, I knew having sleep-overs at my friend's house were perfect opportunities to watch horror films. Far out of sight of mom and--or at least far in my mind (they really only lived about 10 minutes away)--my friend’s house was a perfect setting for many a late night horror watching fest. At the time, nothing terrified us more than Freddy and we were bound and determined to see every A Nightmare on Elm Street film that had come out up until that point. Being on the cusp of getting into girls, I was terrified for months by the scene in ANOES 3: The Dream Warriors, where the sexy nurse seduces one of the boys and lures him into one of the rooms in the asylum. This first exposure to the nude female form definitely got my 10-year old blood pumping. But then I was immediately horrified by the firing tongues which flung forth from her mouth and when a pit to who knows where opened below the bed, it totally freaked me the f*ck out.
I fell out of love with horror in the 90’s (see Complaint Dept.’s write-up as he describes it best) and instead switched my focus to a lot of the classics. From Dracula to Black Sunday to Night of The Living Dead, I found new movies with which I had no previous exposure to.
As the years and decades have passed, I never miss an opportunity to catch the latest horror films in theaters, and my NetFlix queue is completely loaded with nothing but horror (much to the chagrin of my fiancé). I love watching horror films, talking about horror films, and, obviously, blogging about horror films. Planet of Terror has evolved over the last 3 years but at its core, it is still two nerdy dudes who love to write and watch horror movies; and have completely varying tastes with regards to our favorite genre of film.
- Favorite Movies – Halloween, Night of The Living Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Shining, Anchorman, Star Wars
- Favorite Bands – Pennywise, Slayer, Metallica, Pantera, The Cure, The Killers, The Rolling Stones
- Currently Reading: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
- Last Film I Watched: Dreamaniac (1986) Amazing 80’s horror romp.
- Favorite Beer – Cheap: Coors Light / Fancy: NewCastle Brown
- Pet Peeve- People that don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and talk just for the sake of having an ‘opinion’.
- Pets- A dog named Ozzy. Yes, he’s named after the Prince of Darkness.
Complaint Dept. Speaks
I hate writing about myself and, frankly, I find this exercise kind of goofy. Seems a bit ridiculous to assume people read my blog on a regular basis to begin with. There are, after all, thousands upon thousands of blogs out there, not to mention podcasts, movies, TV shows, etc. etc. The chances of anyone stumbling across Planet of Terror are, to be clear, slim at best. But to assume that people are interested in a guy who goes by the name 'Complaint Dept.' and writes 4 paragraph blobs of nonsense about no-budget Italian movies he does or doesn’t like--come on, that’s really stretching it. I’d like to think people have much better things to do.
But I like my friend and I like my blog and, let’s be honest, I’m not writing it because I’m compelled to write by some driving, unstoppable artistic need. I want people to read it and pay attention. I want people to comment and I want my opinions to be validated. It’s why I played in bands for 15 years. I don’t particularly like people, but like everyone, I do require attention. It’s a need we all have and it has to be satisfied somehow...ok enough pop psychology, here we go.
I was born in 1971 to parents that best fell under the description of "Jesus Freaks". I wonder if people these days--call them “the kids” if you will--understand that Jesus Freaks were not the conservative, hateful ignoramuses that one associates with the phrase these days. The “Jesus” in Jesus Freak wasn’t as key as the “Freak” was. They weren’t “Freaks” the way one might be a NASCAR Freak or even a Horror Freak. They weren’t “freaking out” about Jesus. “Freak” was simply another word for “hippie”, originally a derogatory term that was reclaimed by those described by it. They were hippies that dug the rebellion and counter-culture aspects of the Jesus myth (yes, myth--suck it).
So, what I’m getting at is that my parents were pretty groovy for their times. I was weaned on their record collection that included Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly, Deep Purple, Ultimate Spinach, Bob Dylan and Country Joe & the Fish. My parents were not ones to turn down a good night of rockin’ out. They were “freaks” and they liked getting “freaky”. Though they deny it, I firmly believe they ingested their fair share of drugs.
But being Jesus Freaks, Mom and Dad did have a sense of piousness to them, a sense of wrong and right; and despite Smoke on the Water and War Pigs and the collected works of the Amboy Dukes, there were some things that were off-limits. Horror movies were high on the list and as a result, I grew up exposed to all kinds of great rock music, but didn’t see my first horror movie until I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street on video with my friend Robert.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I saw Jaws when it was released (I was 7, I think) and had nightmares for years about that one-eyed head that pops out from underneath the boat. Hence, I was scared to death over seeing this weird-ass movie about a guy with knives for fingers. I think I was in the 7th grade when Nightmare was released, and the commercials were terrifying. But I played it cool, pretending I had seen all the horrible movies my friend bragged about having seen including the then-new Faces of Death videos. It was a lie of course, and I felt bad telling those lies (more than Jesus Freaks, my parents were also Irish Catholic so there was guilt in pretty much everything I did), but I certainly didn’t want to puss out.
As it turns out, the movie didn’t scare me at all. It made me laugh and it was fun. From there I took to sneaking out of my house at night to go see more movies. I had been doing this for a few years (mainly to go see bands like Black Flag or C.O.C.) but post-Elm Street I found myself out on the streets heading towards Texas Chainsaw Massacre II, The Re-Animator and Toxic Avenger. These films were viewed in Memphis, TN in a part of town that was...let’s say...economically-challenged. And let’s also just say that my friend and I were much more “pigment-ally challenged” than the others in the theater. The audiences always went apeshit and we always had a blast. Good, good times.
Then came the 90’s. The movies being cranked out seemed much less interesting to me. Less gore, less production value, less fun--less everything. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam came and stripped the fun out of rock music and it felt like horror films went the same way. If Last House on the Left was akin to Grand Funk, then Candyman was akin to Soundgarden. Weak shit. This resulted in the rental of a LOT of stuff form the 70’s and 80’s and thanks to the small family-owned video store down the street from my apartment, I was able to sink my teeth into films like Nekromantik and all things Italian. But my wife didn’t dig on it, and much of my TV time soon blurred and squirmed it’s way to the dark side: with ding-dongy sitcoms for couples becoming the norm--shows like Friends and Mad About You--man, the 90’s f*ckin’ sucked.
But, as Tammy Wynette once sang, “my D-I-V-O-R-C-E became final” and I was lucky enough to meet an amazing young lass (and I mean young – she was 21 to my 30) who not only hated that shite, but had awesome taste in music (“Pearl Jam – no thanks, I’m a Danzig girl myself”) and loved, loved, LOVED horror films. And the good, good times returned.
So there you go. It’s rambling, but whatever. I’ve never been good with ending the things I write. I am untrained and barely college-educated, and I am always unsure of how these things are supposed to conclude. So here's some random sh*t...
- Favorite Movies – Halloween, Rosemary’s Baby, City of Lost Children, Superbad, Blade Runner
- Favorite Bands – Husker Du, The Smiths, Slayer, Andrew Bird
- Currently Reading: The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins
- Last food I just ate – a brownie with walnuts
- Favorite Beer – Cheap: Fat Tire/Fancy: Saint Bernardus Abt. 12
- Where I hope to retire: Ireland
- Height: 6 feet
- Weight: 158 lbs.
- Tattoos: possibly
- Religion: Staunch and Vocal Atheist
- Pet Peeve: People who interrupt when I'm speaking.
One of my top favorite blogs to read...happy to see these two spotlighted!
Posted by: Matt-suzaka | December 16, 2009 at 01:28 PM
Planet of Terror rules!
Posted by: Chris Hallock | December 16, 2009 at 01:23 PM