Monday, 27 May 2019

Happy Horror-day! Memorial Day Killer (1998)

Memorial Day is when the United States remembers and honors those who died serving in the United States Armed Forces, and although it is not (directly) observed in the UK I thought I would add it to the challenge line-up, even though it has very little to do with the occasion.  So, Memorial Day Killer (also known as Memorial Day) is an offering from 1998 directed by Christopher Alender and written by Marcos Gabriel. A tale of wrongdoing and revenge that happens to take place on Memorial Day concerning a group of friends who decide to return to MEMORIAL Lake Campground for the first time since Rachel (Played by Therese Fretwell) 's adopted brother Danny accidentally drowned there three years before... sure enough, wouldn’t you know it? The killings start. I try not to be negative about these films as I doubt I could do any better, this movie came out at a time when I had become somewhat disillusioned with ‘modern’ horror but I was ready to go back and have my opinion changed, it wasn’t.  Perhaps had this been a big budget movie previously ignored the first time round it might have been regarded by some as the ‘Missing Link’ between the Scream/ I Know What You Did Last Summer genre of movies of the late 90’s and the Saw franchise of the early 2000’s but frankly the deaths of the whining girlfriends and over acting boyfriends at the hands of a papier-mâché mask wearing killer was just a blessed relief.

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Roundabout, BBC Radio Wales, 1986: A Three Generations interview

Omnibot once again proving his worth, not only helping me around the studio and listing things on eBay to raise funds but also helping me to upload some vintage cassettes onto my YouTube channel! First up a clip from an episode of ‘Roundabout’ that aired on BBC Radio Wales in 1986 staring Anita Morgan (who was the very first to speak on the station back in 1978) who had visited my hometown of Nefyn, North Wales to chat with some of the locals about village life, this clip features my mother Emrysia Jones, grandmother Marie Julia Roberts (1938-2018) and my great-grandmother Mary Hughes(1907-1993) the clip is particularly poignant for us as a family as it allows us to hear my Grandmother and Great Mother again, we hope it will also be of interest to you. Check it out! Or just read the transcript!

Anita Morgan: “I’ve Just had a charming conversation with a small boy about 3 (my bother), who speaks no English, I speak no Welsh but he very kindly and patiently got me to understand that his great grandmother Mary Hughes, his grandma Marie Robert and mother Emrysia Jones were waiting for me inside this house, on a smallholding on the outskirts of Nefyn. Great grandmother Mary, I know your family goes back around 400 years in Nefyn but what was the main family trade?”
Mary Hughes: “My father and family were Master Masons... stones.  
Anita Morgan: “What sort of stone would they work on around here?"
Mary Hughes: “Well there is only one kind of stone in the world isn’t there? One in Nefyn, the Gwylwyr quarry and one in India and that’s real granite!
Marie Roberts: “And giving lots of work for the local people, that was then before they closed at the beginning of the last war when the Gwylwyr quarry closed, as I understand... I was just a baby then myself!"
Anita Morgan: “Mary’s daughter, Marie. I’ve said that this is a third generation interview, grandmother, mother and daughter and you’ve got a lovely name...”
Emrysia Jones: “Yes, Emrysia.”
Anita Morgan: “Is that Welsh?
Emrysia Jones: “It is Welsh, it’s my father’s name, he’s called Emrys with an “I A” added on... Emrysia.
Anita Morgan: “You have an interest in the tourism industry in this place surely?"
Emrysia Jones: “Yes, we do let out our houses in the summer...”
Anita Morgan: “Houses?!
Emrysia Jones: “Yes, like we said it’s a family affair you know
Anita Morgan: “And how many houses do you have?
Emrysia Jones: “four
Anita Morgan: “Do you find it lively enough as a younger woman with a child?"
Emrysia Jones: “Personally it doesn’t bother me; I’m married- I married young. But  for other younger people, no I don’t think there is enough life here for them, they do tend to stand on the streets, Really they only have the pubs. But again it depends on the people and the kind of life you like, its fine for me.  
Anita Morgan: “It’s fine for the three of you? The three of you enjoy Nefyn?
Marie Roberts: “Yes definitely
Anita Morgan: “Have you ever lived away from Nefyn Mary?
Mary Hughes: “No, but I traveled quite allot..." (Laughs)
Anita Morgan: “Where have you been?
Mary Hughes: “Through bombs! And shells!” (Laughs)
Anita Morgan: “During the war time?
Mary Hughes: “yes!
Anita Morgan: “What sort of vehicle were you in?
Mary Hughes: “Lorries
Anita Morgan: “As a passenger?
Mary Hughes: “No dear, driving it.
Anita Morgan: “You were driving the lorry?!"
Mary Hughes: “Oh yes... you sound surprised?
Anita Morgan: “I am surprised! ...Where would you be travelling then? ...Where would you drive?
Mary Hughes: “Liverpool. Manchester. Birmingham... (*In welsh to my grandmother “translate for me”)
Marie Roberts: “You would get a phone call saying that there was a ship able to come in and that it needed emptying. These ships with the planes flying over Liverpool, it was important that they got as much off the ships as possible so they... there were also local men as well working on the Lorries as haulage contractors in the district"
Anita Morgan: “So the area was quite busy with haulage?
Marie Roberts: “Yes, that’s right... Quite a lot of haulage but because of the quarries closing down then that was decline of the haulage, the decline of everything...
Anita Morgan: “What about otherwise, apart from that the decline of Nefyn as a place to live in... Has it declined? Can you still get everything you want here in the way of shops, entertainment and so on 
Marie Roberts: “Nefyn itself, if something has prospered really, during the last fifteen years I would say. Because now we have a very fashionable shop in the village, a very nice fashionable shoe shop in the village, you needn’t go really, anywhere but if you’d like to go for a day out to Llandudno then yes, fair enough you’ve got ‘Marks & Sparks’ but if you really didn’t want to travel out of the village then you wouldn’t have to if you patronise local people. 
Anita Morgan: “No more trips to Liverpool driving the lorry for you Mary?
Mary Hughes: “Why not?
Anita Morgan: “Why not? She says!
Marie Roberts: “Why not? She says at 79!
Anita Morgan: “79! ...Great Caesar!
Mary Hughes: “I’d been driving since I was ten, eleven years old! Motorbikes...
Anita Morgan: “Motorbikes?!
Mary Hughes: “...Lorries, all sorts of things...
Marie Roberts: “She was a 1929 Rally winner... tell them about that
Anita Morgan: “Rally winner?
Marie Roberts: “ Yes, motorbike in the race... Black rocks in Porthmadog. We have a picture of her here, with her motorbike that she won the first prize with."   
Anita Morgan: “Against all the men?
Mary Hughes: “Oh yes
Anita Morgan: “Who’s’ going to choose the music, of the three ladies?
 Marie Roberts: “Anything by Sir Geraint Evans anything classical would go with the village we live in.
Anita Morgan: “They like good music in Nefyn do they?
*Closes with The Duke of Plaza-Toro by Gilbert & Sullivan.

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Beth's Tarot

Have I mentioned that Mrs Jones reads Tarot? Reading the cards as a divination tool to see the past present and future, reading them intuitively, which means she doesn’t use a spirit guide, instead reading through feelings and intuition, calling on her inner voice to guide her to the meaning of the cards for each person. Beth has been reading the cards for some time now, offering open (general) readings and specific question readings helping many establish a clear picture of what is happening in all aspects of their lives and helping to find the answers and it’s been very well received. So well in fact that we needed a sign for people to find us- This very hand painted sign in fact!    Helping people to find the right location to find the answers they seek. Find out more or book a reading via her Facebook page.

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

News from Tromaville!

I believe I may have mentioned meeting Troma Entertainment head honcho Lloyd Kaufman at the Starburst Film Festival... Well, Uncle Lloydie e-mailed this picture to me last week. This is the Editing Room at  Troma Entertainment, and hanging up on the wall beside the framed Toxic Avenger poster is one of my glow in the dark paintings! (which can also be seen on Lloyd’s Instagram page) As an artist it is always gratifying to know that your work is hanging on someone’s wall, but hanging on the wall of Troma Entertainment?! #delighted!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

RIP Lord Toby Jug (1965 - 2019)

Shocked and saddened, to hear of the passing of Brian Borthwick AKA Lord Toby Jug founder and leader of the Eccentric Party of GreatBritain and friend who died on Thursday. Having been a long-standing member of the Monster Raving Loony Party he went out on his own and formed The Eccentric Party of Great Britain in 2015, encompassing the spirit of Screaming Lord Sutch, who had been a friend and inspiration to Toby for years (he also backed him at numerous gigs) he stood against top politicians in general elections across the country over the years. I made contact with him that first year, I honestly can’t remember who reached out to whom but we became friends and I joined the party, of which he elected me Viceroy of Wales and Minister for Monsters (he also tried to get me to stand for local election) and although we never met in person we spoke on the phone and on Facebook numerous times either about the party,projects or his idol Screaming Lord Sutch, such a lovely, friendly man and now he’s in that big polling station in the sky-  Rest peacefully your Lordship, Pip-Pip.

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Happy Horror-day! The Wicker Man (1973)

We seem to have strayed from our psycho killer themed ‘holiday’ movies again, this time in favour of a horror mystery, and a classic at that! What can I say about it that hasn’t already been said by movie historians and far more learned folk than I? This would probably the 20th time I’ve seen Sergeant Neil Howie’s fateful trip to Summerisle. You will note that although I try and keep these posts spoiler free I said ‘fateful’ there, well I’m not so worried this time round, aside from being fairly confident that you will have already seen the film I will also add that this movie shares the same distinction with Planet of the Apes in that climax/final scene of the film features on spoofs and the covers of their Video/DVD releases! But if you haven’t seen it, please put that right! So, shall we meet back here on the 27th of May? Memorial Day? Yes I know it’s when the United States remembers those that served their country and I am in the UK... But...

Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Omnibot’s Robot Root-Out: Rap Rat The Video Board Game

“...Deep under Arfon’s studio lies an extensive collection of random artefacts thirty years in the making. His robotic assistant Omnibot has been assigned the mammoth task of excavating the collection. What will Omnibot uncover today...!”

Omnibot found another curio for our eBay shop, this time it’s from 1992... Back in the early 90’s an Australian company, Couple 'A Cowboys (originally a television production company established in 1983 by Phillip Tanner and Brett Clements) was making waves in the board games market (a market that had previously struggled to compete with the highly lucrative video gaming market) with their new interactive VHS board game Nightmare (known as Atmosfear here in the UK). The board game incorporated the home VHS player, a host on screen would ‘interact’ with the players cracking jokes and throwing insults!  When it was released in Australia in 1991 it was an instant hit, selling one hundred thousand units in its first year alone (five times more than Trivial Pursuit). Backed by a heavy television and cinema marketing campaign and promotional Dance Parties the game broke all records for board games and by the mid 1990’s it was the most successful advanced board game in history and with the international acclaim it gained it became Australia’s biggest entertainment export since Crocodile Dundee! (I covered this game in more detail in a previous post, find the link here) Although the follow up games were doing equally well, Couple 'A Cowboys tried out another line, aimed at a younger audience...  

Rap Rat on screen despite the VHS not actually being in the VCR....  
For many years we visited the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show as a family and for many of those years I frequented the acres of stalls they had there. I would spend hours weaving through various marquees and promotional stalls, each one with representatives pushing their products and I was always happy to take whatever free sample, promotional sticker, hat or Logobug they had. One time I was approached by a woman who asked if I wanted to play, “a game?” thinking nothing of it (simpler times!) I asked “What sort of game?” “It’s called Rap Rat!” she said, “it’s a new game and we are looking for 4 players to play it” she pointed to the stall she represented and I moved closer to it. It was a very unassuming marquee with a table and a game set up for 4 players in the middle but on both sides of the tent were TV sets playing footage of a puppet rat with a Max Headroom like stutter, already familiar with the Atmosfear game and the whole VHS game format I was intrigued, I took an interest in the video and game’s packaging as they tried to round up another 3 players to play this game for two to six kids who “just want to have FUN!” we were promised a “RAT-tastic” time and plenty of “RAT ‘n’ Roll” with its illustrated game board, coloured dice, 6 “cheese” playing pieces and 4 cheese jigsaw pieces oh and the all important 60-minute VHS cassette (written, directed  and produced by Couple 'A Cowboys) containing 3 X 15 minute games (which increase in difficulty) staring the one, and only Rap Rat...  A latex 'Rappin’ Rodent Puppet (that for many years I thought was voiced by Enn Reitel but in fact voice credit is given to Paul 'pj' Johnstone and Doug Willimas) “with a lot to say!”. The object of the game is essentially a race against time, collect all 8 pieces of a puzzle and fit them together in the frame before Rap Rat eats all the cheese on the TV screen. I played the game and I recall it being fun, but I left feeling a little underwhelmed and I remember walking away with a voucher that granted me money off the purchase of the game thinking how much better it had been if I had actually ‘met’ Rap Rat himself or even got a free sticker or something... 

"Got an ‘A’ in attitude and lots of Rattitude!"
I don’t think the game did as well as Atmosfear as very little information exists about it online (apart from Creepypasta videos about rap Rat himself) it is certainly a very, unashamedly “Totally Radical” 90’s product, but if you remember it the first time round or just want to check it out for the first time, check out our eBay store and get this very one- money raised from our eBay auctions help fund all my creative endeavors, any questions get in touch Omnibot is only too happy to oblige!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Happy Horror-day! Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! (2006)

Happy Easter! Traditionally we watch Night of the Leapus on Easter, but it doesn’t meet the criteria of this challenge so I watched Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! The movie starts off on the night before Easter “Easter Eve” when we are introduced to a man called Remington who robs a convenience store while wearing an Easter Bunny mask. Having shot the store clerk he makes his way over to the home of a woman he is seeing, Mindy Peters and her “special” son Nicholas who is obsessed with Bunnies and all things Easter related. Worming his way into their home Remington behaves cruelly towards Nicholas behind Mindy’s back who remains (seemingly) oblivious of his cruelty he inflicts on her son, who is hiding a pet rabbit in his room given to him by a homeless man he met outside their home (always good to see Trent Haaga!). A little slow at the start but when it starts ‘properly’ its exploitative cinema influences become more than apparent and I would have liked to see this set in the late 60’s early 70’s just to give it that ‘classic’ feel. If watching unpleasant people being picked off one by one by a killer carrying a toolbox, wearing a bunny mask is what you like to do while eating chocolate eggs then this is the movie for you! Speaking of which I’m off to finish my chocolate egg, see you May 1st?

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Did you see me on S4C's Rhannu?

After years of being told I should be a contestant on a game show I finally took the plunge (well I did try to get on Bargain Hunt once but they didn’t want me) and entered as a contestant on a new Welsh language game show, Rhannu, presented by Aled Hughes currently on channel S4C Wednesday nights at 8:20pm.

Originally an RTÉ format called Division presented by Anne Doyle this format has been adapted by multi award winning independent production company Cwmni Da based in Caernarfon, North Wales and it sees 16 contestants (The original RTÉ had 32) and two sheds (one red and blue) teams are divided into the two sheds and given a subject, then each shed nominates the most suited contestant to go head to head and keep their team in the game (the losing shed is automatically disqualified until the next episode) after the second round the then winner then gets to pick one of their remaining 3 team mates to go head to head again and try and win the £2,000 prize and a place in the grand final (with a £10,000 prize) 8 episodes were filmed, I was in 7 of them, it was quite an experience and a lot of fun! 
This round was about BBC Radio Cymru...
What made it interesting (not to mention a little tense!) and a matter of concern for me going in was the likelihood of a subjects cropping up that I would have absolutely no clue about, such as Politics, Sport or what day it was.  Not exactly being ‘up’ on current things there was a high risk of finding myself completely out of my depth, you see dear reader, and this might surprise you- I don’t get out much! I don’t watch the news, I don’t read news papers and most of the movies, TV shows, music and games I follow are from the past...  When the 1990’s came to an end I was a citizen of it, I observed it closely, followed many of its fads and trends but when the ‘noughties’ came along I seemed to go into a sort of hiding- I don’t remember it too well, just flashes, I remember being a little underwhelmed by the Buffy the Vampire Slayer finale. Popstars and I’m a Celebrity seemed to be a thing? I think there was a Crazy Frog there? Anyway, as each year passed I seemed to know less about what was going on around me, and at the end of each year I would watch those end of year review shows and have no clue as to what they were talking about...  and here we are almost 20 years into this new millennium and I still don’t know how I got here! So I knew that if a question regarding a celebrity, sport or musical figure came up and it was a contemporary one I would effectively be sunk! 
This round was about Rugby...  that's the one with a stick, right?
All I could do was cross my fingers and hope such questions would not crop up! BUT I am a geek after all, and proud of it! I have millions of obscure facts in my head, and there had to be a reason why I’ve been told so many times that I should be on a game show... I can tell you when the first Little Chef opened and I know the name of Supergirl’s cat! I had to hope they would ask something about Daleks, Tiki culture or the works of Vincent Price... they didn’t. In fact on numerous occasions those dreaded before mentioned questions cropped up and I had no clue, and watching back over the episodes that have aired I laugh as I can see from my eyes that I have no idea what everyone’s talking about! (see photos) A glazed over look, grateful that it isn’t me out there answering on our behalf! Trying to make up for my lack of knowledge with 'team spirit' and 'encouragement' it’s an interesting format for that very reason though, as a contestant can potentially get through to the final round by not answering a single question and scooping the prize money by being fortunate in knowing just a little more than their opponent! I got close mind, but I was not picked for the final round on the grounds of being an intellectual ‘threat’ (a compliment I gladly accepted!) But anyway, there I was  in the blue shed during the first round of episode 5 when ‘Computer Games’ was subject of that round... 
"Oh, I hope they don’t ask me a question on modern video games..."
 Most of my team mates instantly waved it away, saying they knew nothing about games, “
I know a little” I said... “BUT, I don’t play modern games or consoles....” Atari through to Play Station in the mid 1990’s was the limit of my knowledge- I wasn’t sure if I was really the right one to go out but  it was decided that I was the closest to an ‘expert’ we had!  Having again established that I am more of a retro gamer and knew nothing of new games my first question was, what is the name of the outlaw gang in Red Dead Redemption 2? ...GULP! Being a game that came out the previous month I had to make a guess and I was wrong.... GAME OVER! I felt awful letting the entire team down like that and had I just had one question right, at least proving I knew something about this topic would have been something, but no, it was not to be. Then came episode 7....

 “Which of these characters were NOT in the Suicide Squad?”
Episode 7, the blue shed, first round.... Superhero movies! Everyone turned to me! My confidence had been bashed after the last time and being somewhat behind on the more recent superhero movies I wasn’t so sure I was the right one to go. As the team contemplated who to send out myself or Rhydian (who also believed it should be me!) Geek Mode seem to activate within me and I started reeling out comic book/ superhero trivia! When it was put to a vote I was selected (4 to 2) so out I go! GULP! as I walked out into the glare of studio lights I suddenly realised, “screw this up and you can hand in your comic book nerd badge at the door!” No pressure... As I suspected my opponent from the red shed was Mirain Rhisiart who had trampled us all in a previous episode with her knowledge of all things Harry Potter... No pressure! Introductions out of the way Mirain was asked the first question, which she promptly got correct! Then it was over to me! I was asked, from the three characters Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Green Arrow who was NOT in the Suicide Squad- Easy!  I was nervous and looking back over the episode last night I can see how nervous I was, my confidence was all over the place! But once I got past that first question I started to feel more at ease, “at least I got one right!” I thought. A question about Deadpool and another point for the red shed then it was back to me- Which one of these Batman movies did Christopher Nolan NOT direct, the answer was Batman Returns, “are you sure?” “YES!” ...point to me! 
 “Which one of these Batman movies did Christopher Nolan NOT direct?”
Then Mirain was asked what I consider to have been the most difficult question of the round, What is T'Challa’s sister called in Black Panther? it wasn’t the answer she gave and then it was my turn.... the decider! No Pressure! "Which city was Robocop set?” I knew it, but was careful to add “I think...” before giving my answer so as to not sound arrogant, “Detroit” and that was it, I won the round! (Although I instantly questioned if Robocop is an actual ‘superhero’ movie- but it was recently put to me that ‘superhero’ by definition is someone with an ability that no one else has that is using that ability for good) So there we go, I won! And against an extremely worthy opponent! Red Dead Redemption 2 was behind me, if anything I had been redeemed!  Round 2 came and went and it was back to blankly staring at the screen while quiz aficionado Huw Pritchard answered questions on national parks, which got us through to the third round!  When asked to select one of us to go head to head against he chose not to pick me on the grounds we have similar interests and felt we might be too evenly matched and so I didn’t get to go through to the final round and answer questions on women in sport! (PHEW!!) Meinir Ann Thomas was selected and bless her she did her best but it was Huw’s day and he won, pocketing £2,000 and a place in the semi final! 
 “Which city was Robocop set?”
So there you go, a short/ abridged spoiler filled account of last night’s episode for the convenience of those of you out there not fluent in Welsh, if you are fluent then you can follow this link and watch the episode on Clic or iPlayer. Be sure to catch the final episode of this series next week and why not give it a go yourself? They are currently looking for contestants for the second series and I highly recommend it, I had a great time with my highly knowledgeable fellow contestants/ opponents they were a great bunch of people and each one of them deserved a prize! My sincere thanks to everyone at Cwmni Da, each one of them made us feel comfortable and at ease while making great telly! 

Huw had to decided who he was going to go up against  Meinir, Nia or me...  

 © Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs

Joe Bob Briggs shared this on his Twitter page today, it’s a painting that I did for him that depicts all 13 movies featured on The Last Drive In marathon on Shudder last year.
Apart from the fact that it was a joy to paint and Joe Bob loved it, adding that he was "kinda fond of it",  he also brought it to the attention of Felissa Rose, Angela Baker from Sleepaway Camp who responded "Absolutely love this!!! Fantastic work!!! Wow" Making this horror artist very happy indeed.

Be sure to check out The Last Drive In on Shudder on Friday nights!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Arfon’s Glow- in- the- Dark Monster Sticker Club: Sticker #2

Here we go! Arfon’s Glow- in- the- Dark Monster Sticker Club sticker No 2 is in! This time we have the Creature! 
Each sticker measure 100mm x 50mm and hark back to classic monster stickers of the past and yes they really do Glow- in- the- Dark! 
For a minimum  donation of £3 (Patron is an American site so it’s listed as $3.99) ) or more a month you will be enrolled in my Glow- in- the- Dark Monster Sticker Club and receive this new and exclusively created glow in the dark sticker and will continue to receive a new sticker each month as a thank you for your support! Not forgetting prize draws, project updates, exclusive behind the scenes content and the opportunity to nominate next month’s sticker and the knowledge that you are supporting me and my work! Join today and start your collection!

Not for you? Fair enough perhaps you will bring this to the attention of someone that might? 
Thanks in advance!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Omnibot’s Robot Root-Out: Garbage Pail Kids

“...Deep under Arfon’s studio lies an extensive collection of random artefacts thirty years in the making. His robotic assistant Omnibot has been assigned the mammoth task of excavating the collection. What will Omnibot uncover today...!”

While I’ve been promoting my new Glow- In the Dark Monster StickerClub Omnibot has been doing his bit to raise funds for the studio and discovered another curio from the  80’s...Garbage Pail KidsThere cards/stickers are probably the earliest things I can remember obsessively collecting they were disgusting and my mother didn’t approve of them so naturally I had to have them!  You might even say they en-Grossed me... First produced by the trading card company Topps in 1985 based on an idea by cartoonist Art Spiegelman these cards served as a parody of the phenomenally successful Cabbage Patch Kids dolls that to say were all the rage would be an understatement! For those of you that weren’t there at the time and unaware of Garbage Pail Kids they were essentially cards that featured Cabbage Patch dolls either deformed, as monsters or just being anarchic, smoking, vomiting and picking noses (but in humorous ways and beautifully painted!) As kids we would share them among ourselves and comment on how disgusting they were- each one had a different name (condemning any unfortunate child that happen to share the same name as one of the cards to having to live with that nickname) they even had ‘humorous’ licenses and certificates you could give your friends on the back!

One such day I noticed some older kids hanging around some garages we had near us, because I had numerous run-ins with these bullies in the past and had no intention of encountering them again I picked up the pace, ignoring their name calling. Thankfully they didn’t pursue, this was because they were preoccupied by another kid my age that had a pile of Garbage Pail Kids on him and these older kids were looking through them. I bought my cards and made my way home worried that those kids were still there and as I reached the garages I was delighted to find that the bullies (and kid) were nowhere in sight. It is at this point I learned that even at the age of 7 I had some understanding of the mind of a bully! Following a hunch, knowing that these lads were effectively ‘gits’ I peered through a crack in the garage door and sure enough on the floor within was a pile of Garbage Pail Kids all over the floor! The bullies had taken the kid’s cards and thrown them into this garage! It was at this point that I looked for a branch and proceeded to pull as many of the cards back towards me, collecting quite a haul! Now I’m not sure if this made me a child physiologist or a petty opportunistic thief (you decide!) but I was very pleased with myself, I had amassed the entire run of the Garbage Pail Kids cards by using my head and for the first time ever I actually benefited from bulling (actually the more I think about it this was all wrong wasn’t it?!) but anyway moving swiftly on I would spend hours looking through my collection committing them to memory (more so if they were the ones my mother thought were disguising!)

34 year old bubblegum...
The cards, Art Spiegelman along with fellow cartoonist Mark Newgarden worked together as the editors and art directors on the cards with artist John Pound producing the art itself. 15 individual series of cards were produced through to 1988 even producing various other spin off products such as sweets, badges and poster books. There was even a live-action movie based on some of the characters (often considered to be one of the worst films ever made... not by me!) and an unaired animated TV series – however the card series lost its momentum somewhat when they yielded to a lawsuit with Coleco, the makers of Cabbage Patch Kids who sued for trademark infringement.  Now no longer looking like the original cards, kids lost interest and the series ended (Trying it one more time in 1992, this time going after the Norfin Trolls craze and creating the short lived Trash Can Trolls series) it seemed like the cards were just a distant memory until 2003,when  Topps reintroduced Garbage Pail Kids with all-new artwork in their ‘All-New Series’ and they have been producing new cards to this day- but those original first three series will always have a special place in my heart, I am confident that they played a big part in making me the well rounded monster obsessed, gross toy collector and artistic individual you see today!

Did you collect them? Can you remember your favorites? ‘Got any swaps? If you sold yours and want to start collecting them again check out our eBay page and pick up a few! By buying from our eBay shop you are supporting my work! If you have any questions get in touch and Omnibot will endeavor to help you!

©Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Happy Horror-day! April Fool's Day (1986)

April Fool's Day is another American/Canadian 'mystery' slasher film that was directed by Fred Walton and stars Deborah Foreman as Muffy (yes, Muffy) who invites her friends over to her parents’ mansion located on a secluded island for an April Fool’s Day party but much like the before documented Happy Birthday to Me, it becomes a tale of over privileged college students being killed off one by one by an off screen killer. That’s not a criticism of the plot mind, that’s just a bare bones run through the plot -there is more to this film than meets the eye, however as I have vowed to keep these reviews spoiler free I can’t really get into it much more than that. All I will say is that it does bring something different to the table, if that’s a good thing or not I will let you decide when you’ve seen it. On its initial release it was seemingly well received by critics. If you just need an 80’s fix then it has great fashion, hair and music and also has Amy Steel from Friday the 13th Part II in it along with Thomas F. Wilson in a non-Biff role!  Oh, and yes, this was also remade in 2008... 
See you at Easter!
© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Happy Horror-day! Mother's Day (1980)

Having strayed into the world of monstrous imps we’re firmly back in the genre of psychotic killers celebrating another holiday but in name only, the 1980 classic- Mother’s Day. As far as I can tell, the movie doesn’t actually take place during Mothering Sunday; frighteningly it’s just another day in the life of Ike, Addley and their mother! But whenever someone researches these Holiday themed Horrors Mother’s Day always makes the list so it’s included in my challenge.    
Rather appropriately for this month Mother's Day was directed, co-written and produced by Charles Kaufman, brother of Troma Entertainment’s Lloyd Kaufman (who also acted as an associate producer) a film notorious for recounting the tale of a mother and her two deranged sons capturing and torturing three women camping in the woods. Starting out much in the vein of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre it jumps into an early Troma movie style, having you almost forget the previous scenes before it jumps back in again before shifting into an I Spit on your Grave conclusion! Notorious for its scenes of violence and rape it also contains satire which sadly went completely over most people’s heads resulting in it being labelled as depraved and nothing more than an exploitation film. With movie critic Roger Ebert giving it zero stars, stating that he was disgusted by it and the BBFC rejecting it and banning it from distribution in the United Kingdom the film wasn’t a huge success but as is always the way now it’s now a cult classic and it was even remade in 2010! Almost a distant relative of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes with its feeling of isolation and decrepit surroundings and demented characters I am certain that Mother’s Day must have also played a small part in the inspiring of later movies such as House of 1000 Corpses. If you haven’t seen it and you like such movies, be sure to seek it out- me I’m going to grab some sleep, tomorrow is April 1st.... April Fool’s Day!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

A TROMA- tic experience!

My tribute to Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Entertainment

Back in the early 1990’s having finally joined the Sky TV revolution my young teenage self would eagerly leaf through Sky Magazine’s listings for movies to watch on Friday and Saturday nights.  One month I spotted a full-page advert made up of four movie posters for an upcoming evening devoted to a movie studio called Troma Entertainment.
The movies were, The Toxic Avenger, The Toxic Avenger Part II, Class of Nuke 'Em High and A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell!
I was already aware of Toxie, the monster of “superhuman size and strength” having watched The Toxic Crusader animated series, ruined my teeth with Toxic Crusader candy and of course not forgetting the amazing action figure line (which I still have today!) and so I was intrigued to see the movies which had inspired it all. I watched them and was forever a devotee of Troma Entertainment, the longest running truly independent film company in America and not forgetting its genius co-founder, writer, director and producer Lloyd Kaufman.

Finally meeting the brilliant Lloyd Kaufman!
A Yale University graduate majoring in Chinese studies intending to become a social worker Lloyd instead chose cinema and directed his first feature film, The Girl Who Returned in 1969 before working for Cannon Films, collaborating on several low-budget films with future Rocky director John G. Avildsen. He then set up Troma studios in 1974 with business partner Michael Herz, producing independent action and comedy films while freelancing for several major Hollywood productions, including Rocky, Saturday Night Fever and The Final Countdown which had Lloyd vowing to never deal with a major studios again. Between 1979 and 1981, Troma produced/ directed a series of profitable "sexy comedies" so profitable in fact that the major studios moved in on the idea and started producing their own such as Porkies. After reading an article that claimed horror films were no longer popular, Lloyd decided to produce his own horror film around an idea he had about a health club, Health Club Horror a story about a nerd that is mutated by toxic waste that goes on to save the city and get the girl ultimately became The Toxic Avenger which achieved mainstream success. Much the same can be said about the follow up movie Class of Nuke 'Em High and subsequent sequels that followed after and it was at that point on they focused almost exclusively on horror films, even if they were not directly their own features Troma distributed films from third parties- waving the flag for independent film making and cult cinema. Especially Lloyd, who seemed to always be appearing on TV promoting the company and its movies, refusing to conform to the norm and this resonated with me while I was in Art College. I wanted to work on my own ideas but seemed to always be going head to head with people who preferred landscapes and still life, I would be up late working on a project, wondering if I was actually doing the right thing and Lloyd would appear on Troma’s Edge T.V. sporting his trademark bow tie, microphone in hand behind a cluttered desk covered in Troma merchandise and memorabilia urging us to not follow the norm, not give in to the mainstream and corporate thinking and support innovate ideas, least I think that’s what he was saying... you’ll need to ask him about it... either way that’s what I did!

Again with Lloyd during the screening of David Gilbank’s Polterheist!
Anyway, long story short-ish I felt it was high time I met Uncle Lloydie to thank him for his inspiration and when I found out he was visiting the UK for a “Troma Tour” to receiving the much coveted Hall of Fame Award at the Starburst Film Festival, one of the biggest and best genre celebrations in the UK it was off to MediaCityUK (again) along with my good friend Matt Warner to (hopefully) meet him. We arrived at Social7 at The Landing for the opening ceremony and was able to meet Lloyd right away and he was EXACTLY as I imagined him to be! It can be a little nerve wracking when you meet people you admire, this day and age they can let you down- and not live up to your expectations but I am delighted to say that he did not disappoint. I was able to have several chats with him about his work and tell him how much he had inspired me and my work and how it was his movies that made me want to direct my art in this direction. I presented him with a print of a tribute (seen at the top of this post) I recently painted to him and his movies, featuring The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke 'Em High (which he had shared on his Instagram!) that he seemed to genuinely pleased to receive before kicking off the event with the first movie, Troma’s latest offering Return to Nuke 'Em High: Volume 2 a film that tackles, “21st century issues in the style of 1980s genre films” by revisiting of Class of Nuke 'Em High in the same vein as other classics such as Class of 1984, Rock 'n' Roll High School, and Carrie, but seen through the unique vision of Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma Team” a movie I must confess I had already seen as I had already been granted an early look at it due to being one of the 959 backers that pledged their support on their Kickstarter campaign back in 2015, I’ve heard many state that this one is superior to the first part and I am inclined to agree, it has all the things one expects of a Troma movie in buckets, along with lots of heart! So make sure you see it when it comes out, show your support for independent movies! So glad I went along, I had a great time and commend all involved, and thank you Lloyd for everything, you made this Troma fan very happy oh and we mustn’t forget Starburst and the event organizers responsible for this amazing event, I not only had the opportunity to meet one of my idols but I also catch up with many friends in a great, relaxed atmosphere- congratulations, I look forward to next one!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Happy Horror Day! Red Clover (2012)*

We have strayed quite a way from the usual Holiday themed horrors involving a psycho killer for St Patrick’s Day this time round.  It was suggested that I watch Leprechaun (1993), but Leprechaun hasn’t much to do with St Patrick’s Day BUT that wasn’t a problem however as there is a killer Leprechaun movie that takes place on St Patrick's Day for our convenience! A made for television horror film directed by Drew Daywalt called Red Clover from 2012, originally with the title of St. Patrick's Day Leprechaun (would have been better suited for this challenge!) the title was changed to Leprechaun's Revenge when it aired on the Syfy Channel but switched back to Red Clover for its DVD release! It all starts kicking off in fictional town of Keening, Massachusetts.  While out hunting Karen O'Hara (Courtney Halverson) picks a red clover, releasing a deadly Leprechaun which starts picking off citizens as they prepare for their St Patrick’s Day celebrations (eating gold as it goes about it). We find out that this Leprechaun had been previously banished by the town’s folk for similar reasons and so it’s up to Karen to put it back where she found it, aided by lucky horseshoes and her town drunk grandfather (William Devane) and town sheriff father played by Billy Zane. The film maker’s decision to distance itself from the traditional Leprechaun depictions more associated with Warick Davis’s version by having the creature appear more goat like gives the story more of a Cryptozoology feel, which I felt was reminiscent of another Syfy Channel movie, Chupacabra: Dark Seas (2005) which I also liked. As previously said, quite a detour from our usual themes and perhaps not as well known- but a lot of fun, be sure to check it for out for yourselves next year, until then I’ll see you back here for Mother’s Day!   

*Technical difficulties originally posted on 17/3/2019    

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Join Arfon’s Glow- in- the- Dark Monster Sticker Club!

Sticker #1 A Killer Shrew!
Well, the Women in Horror Art Show has ended, so it’s on to my next venture.... Patreon!
Aside from working on the commissions I have, I am also working on numerous projects of my own, specifically a self published book of 30 individual paintings devoted to monster/ horror related nostalgia from 1980’s and 90’s that I hope to launch at my very own solo art show at the end of the year! It’s a lot of work but I believe in it and I want to make it happen- but it’s not easy and for some time now I’ve been told I should try Patreon, as it helps artists receive additional funding from people who enjoy or admire their work and I’ve wrestled with this for some time, worrying that it might be seen as a form of “e-begging” however, the argument was made that Patronage is how artists used to do this ‘back in the day’ so I thought “why not?” But I must confess what ‘sold’ the idea for me was that Patreon is laid out in such a way that allows creators to provide exclusive content for their subscribers or "patrons” like a sort of mini club if you will, and this interests me greatly!  The other thing that appealed to me is that this presents me with the opportunity to create a unique product for those who kindly support my work; rewarding their generosity, so today I am launching  Arfon’s Glow- in- the- Dark Monster Sticker Club!

They really do glow- in- the- dark! 
So, for a minimum  donation of £3 (Patron is an American site so it’s listed as $3.99) ) or more a month you will be enrolled in my Glow- in- the- Dark Monster Sticker Club and receive a new/ exclusively created glow in the dark sticker each month as a thank you for your support! Not only that but your membership entitles you to prize draws, project updates, exclusive behind the scenes content and the opportunity to nominate next month’s sticker allowing you to be a part of a community and not forgetting that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you are supporting me and my work!
Each vinyl sticker (measuring 100mm x 50mm) will be numbered and will feature a design that harks back to classic monster stickers of the past.  Created by yours truly,  they really do Glow- in- the- Dark! Suitable for sticking on things or just collecting, your collection will grow each month, I want this to be a fun venture and I hope you will join me by showing your support!
Not for you? Fair enough perhaps you will bring this to the attention of someone that might? 
Thanks in advance!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Happy Horror-day! My Bloody Valentine (1981)

With a box of unfinished Valentine’s Day chocolates I once again embarked on my challenge to watch a holiday based horror movie on the days they are set, this time round ... what else? But My Bloody Valentine from 1981! Directed by George Mihalka and written by John Beaird the film was shot on location in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia and released theatrically in North America on Valentine's Day.
The mining town of Valentine Bluffs has lifted its twenty year suspension of their traditional Valentine's Day dance to the delight of the town’s young folk, the reason for this 20 year hiatus? Two supervisors left several miners in the mines in favour of attending the dance, neglecting to check methane gas levels results in an explosion that traps the miners for six weeks, only one of them survived one Harry Warden whom resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. Now insane, in his mining attire Warden murdered the two supervisors and vowed to return and kill the townsfolk if they held the Valentine's Day Dance again... sure enough, the bodies start to pile up!
Yes, it shares certain parallels with Halloween but the film holds its own and gained a cult following over the years, it was even remade in 2009.  On its initial release the movie was heavily censored and a total of nine minutes of violence and gore was cut by the Motion Picture Association of America and it remained like that until an uncut version was finally released in 2009 (I watched the extended cut tonight) With its dingy, claustrophobic atmosphere and drinking/smoking randy young adults with complete disregard for the advice of their elders it’s worth checking out. Don’t forget to check back with me on Sunday the 31st of March... Mother's Day!
Until then, Happy Valentines’ Day!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

A Celebration of Women In Horror Exhibition

Since 2017 the Liverpool Horror Club has been running regular events celebrating the horror genre. This month is Women in Horror Month and the Liverpool Horror Club is celebrating it at Constellations on Sat 9th Feb hosting a panel entitled HORROR IS NO PLACE FOR A LADY, an in-depth discussion delving into the many facets of women in the genre “A celebration, exhibition and discussion of the past, present and future of women in the horror genre” followed by a screening of American Psycho.  They are also hosting an art exhibition showcasing artworks of 20+ artists from all over. Each piece celebrates women in horror and two paintings were produced by yours truly! 'Mistress of the Dark' and 'Millicent Patrick: The Beauty Who Created the Beast' as seen in this phonograph, kindly provided by the event. Artworks have been on display at Constellations since the 2nd February and will continue through to the 17th! The event promises to be a great opportunity to socialize & network with other enthusiasts, so pop along and show your support, follow this link to purchase tickets or alternatively, email tell them Arfon sent you!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Happy Horror-day! Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Ok here is the second instalment of my challenge to watch a Holiday-themed horror movie on each holiday/festivity of the year! Not ACTUALLY something the populace celebrate (I have reservations about celebrating it myself!) but.... today is my Birthday so I thought I would include it. So today I watched a Birthday related slasher released when I was only 3... 
Happy Birthday to Me is a 1981 Canadian slasher from director J. Lee Thompson and stars Melissa Sue Anderson as Virginia Wainwright a popular high school senior at Crawford Academy, who is part of the elite clique of privileged and popular students who are killed off one by one by an off screen killer during the length of the movie using gruesome means, one of which with a shish kebab skewer (not a spoiler as this death featured on the poster!). Glenn Ford also stars as Dr. David Faraday, Virginia’s Doctor trying to help her when she starts to suspect that she might be the one murdering her friends during a series of blackouts, which slowly explain the murderer’s motives before closing with a twist ending.  This movie has achieved a cult following over the years, helped largely by being included on the Section 3 Obscene Publications Act in Britain during the video nasty ‘panic’ and so an interesting flick that’s worth your time. If I had to find fault in it, I found a group of privileged spoilt teenagers difficult to like and so I was never really sure who I was ‘rooting’ for, I didn’t like the kids so perhaps the killer? But then the movie sometimes suggests it might be one of the kids, so...  anyway check it out and I will see you again on St Valentine’s Day!
Happy Birthday (to me)

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy Horror- day! New Year’s Evil (1980)

Happy New Year to you all! I've set myself a new challenge for 2019 I call it, Happy Horror- day! The success of Halloween in 1978 gave rise to the holiday based horror movie genre and that is why I, Arfon Jones will attempt to watch a Holiday-themed horror film for each holiday/festivity of the year! I must have (Subconsciously) got the idea from Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn but my only requirement is that the movie takes place during a specific holiday/occasion playing a central theme (images/ motifs from the holidays featuring throughout) and a movie that features a killer wearing a costume associated with that celebration will most definitely meet the criteria!  Each movie will then be documented on this blog. So first up...

Directed by Emmett Alston New Year’s Evil takes place during (you guessed it) New Year's Eve (and New Year's Day hence why I thought I should start the challenge/ year with this one first) during a live televised show called, Blaze’s Countdown which celebrates the music of that year with callers, calling in the Hollywood Hotline nominating their favorite songs (Think Top of the Pops meets Telethon) the show features various punk/ new wave groups and their fans dancing to their hits, (personally I would rather watch this show than Jools Holland’s Hootenanny!) and features such bands as Shadow and Made in Japan (Shadow play the title song New Year’s Evil twice!). The show’s punk rock presenter Blaze (played by Diane Sullivan) receives a phone call from man calling himself Evil disguises his voice with a “Voice Processor” announces that each time the clock strikes midnight in each time zone, a "Naughty Girl" will be killed declaring that Diane herself will be the last Naughty Girl to be punished. The studio calls in Lieutenant Ed Clayton (Chris Wallace) a man who doesn’t care much for the punk/new wave scene who rather unsympathetically resents having to “pick a phone freak from this bunch!” but agrees to tighten security never the less as, Evil delivers on his promise and starts killing women on the hour (playing tapes of the killings over the phone to taunt Blaze) building up to the climax of the film, which I will not spoil for you.   
While researching this film I read that movie critic, Gene Siskel called it "a hideously ugly motion picture” I must disagree with that, although perhaps not the most original concepts the movie does do one thing differently by showing us the killer right from the start, instead hiding his identity and motive from us which is revealed as a twist at the end, in my opinion the film could (almost) pass as a Thriller, If it hadn’t been for the Friday the 13th style "chi chi chi ha ha ha..." effect, set up for a sequel and use of a Stan Laurel mask which is genuinely creepy! It’s not brilliant, but it’s not bad. It’s just a good old fashioned slasher that's worth a look. 
Happy New Year!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


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