Wednesday 31 May 2017

HorrorCon 2017: Some Highlights

I've already mentioned my trip to Rotherham to meet Elvira Mistress of the Dark but I thought I should really recount my first HorrorCon and how great an experience it was and how I am looking forward to the next! So here are my (in no particular order) highlights from HorrorCon 2017.

1) Meeting Elvira herself!
Cassandra Peterson the woman responsible for Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, I was finally able to meet her in person! I had an Elvira portrait for sale at the event but I also painted a second portrait of Cassandra Peterson herself and presented it to her as a gift. She seemed genuinely touched by it and insisted that I take a photo of her with it. Here it is! What an incredibly nice lady she is!

2) Chocolate Krites eggs and Krite!
I love the Critters movies and so I simply had to have a chocolate Critter eggs with chocolate Critter inside! Available from Janine on the JanineMakes Cakes stall, check out her site for more amazing examples Sinister Cakes!

3) Elvira Cosplayer
Elviras? Elvirēs? a great many walked around the convention supporting Elvira t-shirts but these lovely ladies decided to go the whole hog and dress up as the mistress of the dark, very nice they were too. If I haven't credited you please drop me a line so I can rectify that!

Peachy Poison as Elvira
4) Hatters Top Tables
I had the pleasure of being seated next to Hatters Top Tables'... table. Purveyors of hand crafted bespoke items and props for “all theme parties or film nights” offering all manner of cool stuff for any event. It was impossible to not stop and admire their wares! Follow the link and agree with me, tell them Arfon sent you!     

5) Claire Rainbow as Lilly Munster
Met Claire at the event dressed as my favourite TV mom! I've already mentioned in a previous post how much I adore the Munsters, she looked fabulous! Oh how I wish I brought my electric chair with me!

6) The Monster Charity Project
I was able to catch up with my good friend Rob Taylor at the Monster Charity Project who was one of the 28 top UK SPFX Artists responsible for creating 28 Bespoke, re-imagined, customised Frankenstein Monster Busts to be auctioned for Make A Wish UK. Had a nice wander round, the work and level of detail was amazing, check out their Facebook page marvel at their work and show your support!


7) Ash Williams and Velma Dinkley
I love Bruce Campbell and I love Scooby and these wonderful people highlighted how cool an Evil Dead/ Scooby-Doo mash up would be!

8) Hellbound Media's table and everyone that came up to chat and buy stuff! I had a terrific time at the Hellbound Media table and thank head honchos Mark Adams and Matt Warner  for letting me tag along for the weekend. Thanks to everyone that came over to say hello, buy comics and my prints. I doff my hat to all involved in the organising of the event and I look forward to seeing you all at the next one!

StevenMonkey Mason came over to the Hellbound Media table and documented it on his YouTube channel. He gives me a mention and gags on my business card vampire teeth about 17 minutes in!

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday 22 May 2017

New Comic! Slashermania!

Remember the Freaktown Comics Kickstarter I mentioned last year? Slashermania? I am delighted to say that it's out now and it's brilliant! Celebrating the slasher movie genre this 168 page graphic novel tells of a contest featuring 10 masked maniacs battling to win the Slashermania Slasher of the Year award and I commend writer Russell Hillman and artists Ron Joseph and CJ Camba on their efforts.
The book also includes a 12-page pin-up section featuring the work of “the best artists in the world of indie and alternative comics” (their words not mine) where you will find a mock horror poster for 'Summer Camp Slaughter' featuring one of the story's 'contestants' Franklin Frost painted by yours truly. Read it? What did you think?

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday 21 May 2017

Dine out before they die out: Little Chef Shrewsbury

Bayston Hill Services, Hereford Road, SY3 0DA. Here we are again, my seventh Little Chef! This time on my travels through Shrewsbury, sharing it's premises with a Burger King this one has been serving since 1994 and received a makeover in 2011 to help maintain, “a classic, retro Little Chef experience”. I was delighted to finally find a Little Chef that hasn't had its opening times restrained to 7am -3pm, seemingly keeping to the opening times stated on the official website! Thus allowing us to have dinner at 4:30!
I had the 'The Works Burger' “Our flagship burger. Two 6oz burgers on a bed of mixed salad leaves, two beer battered onion rings, tomato slice, back bacon rasher and melted mature cheddar cheese. Taste it to believe it.” I did, it was delicious! Tasty food aside, when I visited their website I was also drawn in by the promise of a singing toilet! “Our singing toilets have to be seen to be believed” I can confirm that they do indeed sing! Bird song and the sound of flowing water in fact, 'piped' into the wash-rooms as demonstrated by this short video that I recorded.

Little Chef Uttoxeter.

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Monster Memories: The Deadly Ernest Horror Show

I tried to get this painting and post out for Halloween 2016 but with October being a busy time for me I missed the deadline... No matter, better late than never! Last time I tackled horror host Dr Walpurgis (later changed to Dr. Terror) host of the Vault of Horror which ran on BBC 2 from 1992 to 1996 and I mentioned that some regard him to be Britain's’ first television horror host and that this was not in fact the case. The first British horror host was Deadly Ernest who had actually left our screens a year before the good Doctor Walpurgis made his debut having been on Sky Channel (later renamed Sky 1) since 1985 hosting a Friday night horror show entitled, The Deadly Ernest Horror Show
Ernest (not to be confused with the Australian horror host Deadly Earnest) was a vampire that introduced the Friday night horror movie and if one consults the all knowing internet about the show Jack Hardy is credited for playing Earnest however, Jack Hardy was in fact one Mr. Jim Bywater, actor of stage, screen and television roles perhaps most notably playing Wilf Starkey in Coronation Street. There is despairingly little about him or the show online, and not even Sky 1, the very channel that aired the series could help me in my research, a great shame because Ernest was one of Sky's regular faces back in the day and when the channel celebrated its 5th Birthday in 1987 Ernest made up the group of Sky presenters singing along on Anita Chellamah's 'Join the Family of Sky' music video alongside fellow presenters such Anthea Turner, Tony Blackburn, Pat Sharp and DJ Kat! What information I have been able to “dig up” on Ernest/ Jack Hardy/ Jim Bywater has been meagre but in an interview for the October 20th – 26th 1990 edition of TV Guide apart from learning that he liked Thunder and lightning, that he rode a motorbike, stroked a lion and he had once ridden on a dolphin. He was also a horror movie fan, “I really like a good horror, my favourite is the one where the chap’s head explodes (Scanners) and I like the Omen films.” But confessed to not watching all the movies that featured on his show, “Some of those Japanese films like Godzilla are a bit silly, and then there are things like Plan Nine from Outer Space where you’ve got men wandering round in bits of carpet.” When asked about fear he surmised, “I think fear is all in the imagination and that’s what film makers rely on- the audience imagining the worst.”  
TV Guide September 15-21 1990

When Rupert Murdoch expanded Sky's service and formed the Sky Television Network in February 1989 Ernest’s show was 're-vamped' in September of that year with a new wardrobe and sidekick, Scarlett Aorta, played by model and former Page 3 girl Jilly Johnson. Also a self confessed horror fan, listing American Werewolf in London as her favourite, “The music is fantastic, the special effects are great and the leading man is very hunky, even if he needs to shave from time to time, when there’s a full moon!” she threw herself into the role. I was fortunate to be able to come in contact with Jilly who informed me that she loved playing Scarlett and that the scripts on the show were brilliant and that the set writer and director were always happy for them to improvise. As for the movies that featured in the early days YouTube gives us some idea, 'The Late Nancy Irving' and ‘Sweet Scent of Death’ are mentioned suggesting that they aired the feature length episodes of Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense from 1984. Vintage issues of TV Guide once again came to my aid due to the main British listing magazines not publishing cable and satellite listings until 1991. Here is an ongoing list of episodes that I hope to keep open and update accordingly.

Friday September 15th 1989 11:30pm Vampire (1979).

Friday September 22nd 1989 11:30pm Killer Bees (1974).

Friday September 29th 1989 11:30pm Island of Sister Theresa (1979).

Friday October 6th 1989 11:30pm Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974).

Friday October 27th 1989 11:30pm Creepshow (1982).

Friday November 17th 1989 11:30pm Shadow of the Cat (1961).

Friday November 24th 1989 11:30pm The Coming (1981).

Friday December 8th 1989 11:30pm Mad Dog (1976).

Friday December 22nd 1989 11:30pm Whispering Smith Hits London (1952).

Friday January 12th 1990 11:30pm Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1984).

Friday January 19th 1990 11:30pm Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)

Friday February 2nd 1990 11:30pm Breaker Breaker (1977)

Friday February 9th 1990 11:30pm Lies (1985). 

Friday February 16th 1990 11:30pm Crazy Mama (1975). 

Friday March 2nd 1990 11:30pm Dark Star (1974).

Friday March 9th 1990 11:30pm Dick Barton- Special Agent (1948).

Friday April 6th 1990 11:45pm Death in Space (1974)

Friday May 18th 1990 11:30pm The Wide World of Mystery 'Murder Impossible' (1974). 

Friday May 25th 1990 11:30pm The Outer Space Connection (1975).

Friday June 1st 1990 11:30pm Lured (1947).

Friday June 15th 1990 11:30pm Island of Sister Theresa (1979).

Friday June 29th 1990 11:30pm Sophisticated Gent (1981).

Friday July 6th 1990 11:30pm Vogues of 1938 (1937).

Friday July 20th 1990 11:30pm Bobbikins (1959).

Friday July 27th 1990 11:30pm You Only Live Once (1937).

Friday Aug 3rd 1990 11:30pm The Rollicking Adventures of Eliza Fraser (1976).

Friday Aug 10th 1990 11:30pm Sleeping Dogs (1977).

Friday Aug 17th 1990 11:30pm The Bunker (1981). 

Friday Aug 24th 1990 11:30pm Manbeast! Myth or Monster? (1978).

Friday Aug 31st 1990 11:30pm Atragon (1963).

Friday Sept 7th 1990 11:00pm Attack of the Puppet People (1958).

Friday Sept 21st 1990 11:00pm Deranged (1974).

Friday October 19th 1990 11:00 Dr Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine (1965).

Friday October 26th 1990 11:00pm The Evictors (1979).

Friday November 9th 1990 11:00pm Squirm (1976). 

Friday December 7th 1990 12 Midnight  Blood Bath (1966). 

Friday March 1st 1991 11:00pm Zontar The Thing From Venus (1966).

Friday March 8th 1991 11:00pm Vampire (1979).

Friday March 15th 1991 11:00pm Master of the World (1961).

Friday March 22nd 1991 11:00pm Dark Star (1974).

Friday March 29th 1991 11:00pm Fer-de-Lance (1974).

Friday April 4th 1991 11:00pm Killer Bees (1974).

Friday April 12th 1991 11:00pm Trilogy of Terror (1975).

Friday April 19th 1991 11:00pm Night Drive (1977).

TV Guide February 3-9 1990
TV Guide September 9th 1989 
TV Guide November 3-9 1990

TV Guide October 20-26 1990
I didn't actually get to experience Deadly Ernest the first time round, despite constant desperate pleas from my brother and I to our parents our household didn't join the Sky revolution until around 1994 before that occasion it was recordings of movies, or shows such as ALF, WWF Wrestling and The Simpsons recorded by family and friends already signed up to Sky but even then it would seem that Sky had laid Ernest to rest, the Friday night film ran without him all the same but under the guise of Friday Fright Feature. RIP Deadly Ernest, 1685- 1991 Britain's First Horror Host.

Were you involved in the show? Have any other information that could help out my research? Drop me a line or e-mail direct and help me get this show and those involved the recognition they deserve!

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday 15 May 2017

HorrorCon 2017: The day I travelled to Rotherham to meet Elvira Mistress of the Dark in a steel mill

January 1992, I walked into our local Woolworths armed with my recently acquired 13th Birthday money and made use of their '3 VHS' for 2' deal. The videos were Labyrinth, The Monster Squad and Elvira Mistress of the Dark, and I suppose that day played a part in making me the well rounded individual you know and love today. Like a great many of us in the UK at the time I didn't know who the gal that, “put the boob in boob tube” played by Cassandra Peterson was but her 1988 horror/ comedy set that right and I have a been a big fan of the Valley girl Vamp armed with cleavage and a quick wit ever since. She is and always will be my favourite horror host, because (obvious two reasons and sniggering aside) she was my first horror host, and she was the one I grew up with. She has been a familiar figure throughout my life and even though the VHS's that I bought that day have long gone my affection for the character still lives on and I continue to watch her DVD's today, often playing in the background while I paint. I have long had a list of people that I would like to meet and she was at the very top of it, and this weekend I was able to have the genuine honor of meeting Cassandra Peterson at this year's HorrorCon.

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday 8 May 2017

Dine out before they die out: Little Chef Uttoxeter

A50, Ashbourne Road, Uttoxeter, Staffs, ST14 5AA. Another month and another Little Chef to add to my mission list! We have actually used this one a couple of times in the past, located on the busy commuting road between the M1 –M6 it has been serving customers on the A50 since 1995 and according to its website it's known as the “best roadside restaurant on the A50”. Manager Alison Moore has been at the helm since 2004 and she along with her trusted deputy Kate “always provide a warm welcome, great service and the best Olympic breakfast this side of the east Midlands” and I can't really argue with that, we had the 'Royal Breakfast' (the classic Olympic breakfast “crowned” with a griddled 6oz sirloin steak) cooked to our specifications it was perfect, and we enjoyed it whole heartedly. Much like all the other Little Chefs, this one is also due for closure in six weeks, with no clue as to what the future will bring as preparations are underway outside for an A50 'Growth Corridor' a multi-million pound Government investment aiming to, “cut congestion, address safety concerns, support local businesses, create more jobs and opportunities for Staffordshire people”... and bypass the Little Chef site! So if you are on the A50 and hungry don't stop at the McDonalds, cross over to the Little Chef and enjoy the before listed features.

Previous Little Chef Sites:
Little Chef Northop Hall.
Little Chef, Wrexham.
Little Chef, Bangor.
Little Chef Dolgellau.
Little Chef Builth Wells.

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday 1 May 2017


Dungeons and Dragons, much like Warhammer (previous post) was something that I always wanted to be a part of yet, despite watching the cartoon series during the 1980's, playing with the action figures and reading a few Endless Quest (choose your own adventure) books I never actually played the game itself until I was in my late teens in the late 1990's. A great shame because I always felt that I would have submerged myself in it had I known someone that played D&D, I didn't so it passed me by.
So when I discovered that Mrs Jones was a keen D&D'r back in the day it pressed all the geek buttons that I required in a mate, and I fell in love with her all over again! So much so that it was commemorated in this painting (named after her character name) that I painted for her that not only marks her Dungeoneer days but also my love of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The A3 acrylic painting contains a poem wot' I wrote and some Victorian symbolism finished off with a frame with six varieties of jewel like Dungeons and Dragon polyhedral dice embedded in it.

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


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