New work announcement! I'll be providing the 16-page booklet to be included in this new triple-set of Hammer Horror coming from Umbrella in January 2024. Containing SHADOW OF THE CAT (1961), NIGHT CREATURES (1962, aka CAPTAIN CLEGG) and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962). Posters and art cards also included in the limited collector's edition set, which can be preordered from the link below.
Thursday, October 12, 2023
Set your turbo engines to full speed ahead! When Frozen Tears released their Brazen Whisper album in late-2021, the Melbourne-based melodic hard rock outfit found themselves winning rave reviews and conquering the hard rock radio charts all across the globe. Fans of bands like KISS, Whitesnake, Dokken and other classic rock acts lapped up the album’s spirit, power, and positive energy, something which was sorely needed in a world still dealing with a pandemic and lingering lockdowns.
In the wake of its success, and to appease those who have been eagerly awaiting the follow-up to Brazen Whisper, Frozen Tears have reissued their 1997 album Silence of the Night in a new special edition that is certain to not only please existing fans of the band, but lure in a whole new audience with its tasty serving of rock candy for the ears.
Long out of print and highly sought after by fans and collectors, Frozen Tears’ core duo of Thanis Akritidis (lead vocals) and Jon Powers (guitars, keyboard, bass) have gone the extra mile in ensuring their new edition of Silence in the Night not only retains the spirit of the original release, but significantly improves upon its sonics.
Six of the tracks have been newly remixed and remastered with Jon Powers adding more fuel with extra guitars and keyboards to the remixed tracks, while the remaining four have been remastered, with Arkansas producer/engineer Tÿ Sïms doing a superb job on all fronts. Sïms’ work really brings a new freshness to the album’s sound, bringing it more up to date and adding an extra degree of oomph to its overall power. The new mixes and mastering also provide a lot of clarity to the vocals and instrumentation, allowing them to breathe more.
Akritidis’ commanding and impassioned vocals, and Powers’ impressive multi-talents, combine well with a tight, steady backbeat to make the songs soar with an infectious exuberance. Drumming duties on the album are split between Bernie Goldstein, who performs on the six remixed numbers, and Steve Sisma. And while Andy Parson’s original production job has been given a more modern sheen, Silence in the Night is still an unabashed celebration of classic hard rock and AOR sounds from the 1970s and 80s. “Let Down” powers along with a terrifically sleazy riff that melds classic Ratt and Motley Crue, highlighted by a crisp and expressive guitar solo, before it breaks down into some more melodic touches and keyboard highlights, adding an additional pleasing layer to the song, which must surely rank up there as one of the band’s best.
Elsewhere, songs like the title track, "Silence of the Night", show a softer side of the band, with its power ballad aesthetics and emotional vocals, while “One More Time” builds slowly from a chugging acoustic guitar riff and pleading vocal delivery. Other standout tracks include the grand synth-infused rock of “Warriors”, and “Do You Love Me”, which is not a cover of the KISS classic but rather a rework of a song dating back to Akritidis’ early-eighties band, Knight. It’s another impressive, big balladic number which opens with spoken word dialogue and ends with some moody keyboards reminiscent of vintage Deep Purple.
Sharing the bulk of the songwriting credits, Akritidis and Powers exude a potent chemistry and prove to be a fine collaborative pair, melding both their individual and their shared musical influences to create a hybrid that pays clear tribute and respect to the music they love, while also melding to create its own sound, the distinctly Frozen Tears sound. As the band’s prime instrumentalist, Jon Powers deserves specific mention for the range of skills he displays across the album, his fluid playing exhibiting power, delicacy, and atmosphere, often combining all three in the one musical passage.
Topping off this Deluxe Turbo Edition of Silence of the Night is a brand-new track, the exhilarating “Feel the Fire”, which opens the album and is sure to become a new fan favourite and instant classic, with its compelling mix of Diver Down-era Van Halen and KISS circa Crazy Nights.
Accompanied by a stunning new piece of cover art, provided by Jon Powers himself, Frozen Tears once again seem bound for worldwide recognition within the melodic rock community, and Silence of the Night: Deluxe Turbo Edition will hopefully cast their net even further and a limited yellow vinyl pressing which record collectors will surely lap up.
Full track listing:
Friday, August 11, 2023
Received my contributor's copy of this stunning new box set from Arrow. ENTER THE VIDEO STORE: EMPIRE OF SCREAMS collects five films from Charles Band's Empire Pictures (DOLLS, ROBOT JOX, THE DUNGEONMASTER, CELLAR DWELLER, ARENA) and packages them in a wonderful box that recreates the video store experience of the past. Packed with extra features, postcards, a video store membership card, and a cool book with writings on the five films. I got to contribute the essay on ROBOT JOX for this release. Looking forward to checking this set out...might start with THE DUNGEONMASTER for a matinee movie.
The latest issue of CINEMA OF THE '70s (#9) is now out and looks like another absolute beauty! I contributed a nine-page article on some of my fave movie magazines from that decade, but there are lots of other pieces in it that I am looking forward to reading, including coverage of CAPRICORN ONE, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, DUEL, Raquel Welch, GRAND THEFT AUTO, and much more! 100 full color pages, available from Amazon in most regions.
I can finally bar up, now that my contributor's copy of HOUSEBOAT HORROR has arrived! This notorious 1989 Australian cheapie is a very divisive one amongst horror fans...either way, the stunning job which Umbrella have done with their new collector's edition of this infamous Banned-In-Queensland wonder cannot be denied. I got to contribute an essay on Melbourne's "Shot On Video" underground filmmaking scene of the 1980s and early-90s, which is included in the book that comes as part of this set (and Queenslander Andrew Leavold gets to contribute a look at the whole Banned-In-Queensland home video hysteria of that time). There's also a terrific essay by Emma Westwood, paying tribute to the brains behind the film, the late Ollie Martin. Thanks to Michael Helms and Mark Savage for their help with providing some important info for my essay, and special congrats to Ben Hellwig and Jarret Gahan for their incredible work on this set.
Was great to work on Umbrella's lovely new deluxe edition Blu-ray release of Kim Jee-woon's beautifully haunting Korean folk ghost story, A TALE OF TWO SISTERS (2003). I contributed an 18-page essay, entitled "Bringing the Frost: An Overview of Contemporary Korean Horror Cinema", to the 48-page perfect bound book that is included in the release.
Super proud to be a part of this upcoming release from Arrow. Peter Weir's WITNESS (1985) is one of the great crime thrillers and character studies of the 80s, as well as a superlative "fish out of water" story, and one of Harrison Ford's best performances. It was the film which emphatically proved there was more to Ford as an actor and screen character than just Han Solo and Indiana Jones. I wrote an essay on the film for the 60-page perfect bound book that comes as part of the set, which is due for release in October (local Aus peeps can pre-order through Cinemaniacs). Great to also be amongst such other great talent as Staci Layne Wilson, Dennis Capicik, Jarret Gahan, Amanda Reyes and others, who appear elsewhere on the wide range of supplementary features that were assembles and produced for this release by Lee Gambin.
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Received my contributor's copy of the new BOX OF BURT Blu-ray set from Umbrella today. I had a lot of fun writing the 32-page fanzine/booklet that comes with this set, in which I take a look at various aspects of Burt's life and career. The Umbrella folk did a terrific job illustrating the booklet, and the films themselves look to have a wealth of great extras, including contributions from , , , and others!
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Umbrella's new Hammer Blu-ray box set hit the stores a week or so ago. I was thrilled to contribute a 16-page booklet essay for this limited release, which contains PARANOIAC! (1964), NIGHTMARE (1964), and THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964), all directed by the great Freddie Francis. The set also includes a bonus Blu-ray packed with Hammer trailers, and each of the individual films includes new audio commentaries, relevant podcast episodes, and other cool extras.
Umbrella's new TERRIFIER box set is now making the rounds, featuring the two films as well as the original ALL HALLOW'S EVE. I was thrilled to contribute a ten-page essay for the THIS IS ART book that is included with this amazing set, in which I take a look at evil and scary clowns, predominantly on film but also in comic books, pulp paperbacks, and even true crime.
Thursday, March 2, 2023
Clint as Josey Wales graces the cover of CINEMA OF THE '70s No. 8, hot off the press and featuring my ten-page article on the disaster movies of that decade. Lots of other great-looking stuff in this 100-page issue, including articles on HAIR, NORMA RAE, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, STARCRASH (with Marjoe!), Woody Allen, DEATH WISH, SORCERER, cinematic demon children of the '70s, and much, much more! Available from Amazon in most regions
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Very much enjoyed Denise McKinney latest novel. The story of a handsome, rich British vampire and his adventures in 1982 Hollywood, SUNSET CAPRI creates a pleasing, singular voice with its mix of eclectic influences - think a mélange of Anne Rice, Ian Fleming, and Quentin Tarantino, as if written by an MTV VJ who also freelances for the L. A. WEEKLY. Apart from the undead Nigel, McKinney populates her novel with a roster of intriguing Hollywood fringe characters, like Veronica the punk rocker/struggling writer, and Peter the wanna-be big-shot showbiz agent, characters who live within the apartment walls of the mid-century modern block that give the book its title.
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Received my contributor's copy of the new WE BELONG DEAD (#32) from the UK today. 88 glossy full-colour pages, including my nine-page article on circus, carnival and amusement park horror/exploitation cinema (taking in such films as FREAKS, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, SHE-FREAK, Steckler's INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES, FUNHOUSE, and more). Looks like lots of other good stuff that I am looking forward to getting into over a cup of hot tea later tonight, especially anticipating the pieces on THE NIGHT STALKER, Robert Bloch's cinematic chillers, the interview with Judy Matheson by Simon J. Ballard, and a look at Clint Eastwood's genre contributions by Ian Taylor (a timely article for me, since I have been on a bit of a Clint kick of late).