MONSTROUS MASK REVIEWS: Shrunken Skull by Be Something Studios

The 1980s were a great time to start collecting Halloween masks. There were so many companies doing great stuff and small mom and pop stores started opening that would sell these very masks, long before Spirit Halloween was even a thought. Though I had seen catalogs from many of these companies, the first masks I bought were from Be Something Studios, now known as Zagone Studios.

Original catalog image of Shrunken Skull.
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THE BASEMENT’S CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: The Mummified Gnome

Things certainly have changed, some for the better, some for the worst. Back before we had the technology of today, times were simpler and people were much more open to nature and their surroundings. Today, people are so connected to computers, cell phones and video games that they miss the connection to the planet that we once had. Now everything is such that we don’t even have to leave our house, though during a pandemic this is not necessarily a bad thing.

You can now order everything you need online and have it delivered, sometimes within hours of ordering. The only plus side to the pandemic is that people are actually doing more things outside and hopefully, reconnecting with nature and all it has to offer.

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CELEBRITY INTERVIEW: Author Thomas D’Agostino

Thomas D’Agostino is one of my favorite local authors. The first of his books that I read was his 2006 book, “Haunted Rhode Island.” This is a collection of short stories of experiences that not only he has had over the years but acquaintances of his have had as well. To me, this was a great introduction to a great author. His writing style is enjoyable and his no-nonsense approach made me want to read more of his books, which of course I did.

Tom and I at Ramtail Factory.

I first met Tom and his wife Arlene in November of 2015 at a convention in Providence, Rhode Island. There we had a brief discussion on Rhode Island’s only officially listed haunted landmark, the Ramtail Factory in Foster. I ended up buying his book “Rhode Island’s Haunted Ramtail Factory” which he signed. Then he was nice enough to draw me a map with directions on how to get there.

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MONSTROUS MASK REVIEWS: Shrunken Head by Be Something Studios

1985 was a big year for me. I graduated high school, I had my first full-time job and I was introduced to the hobby of collecting Halloween masks. Prior to graduating I started receiving catalogs in the mail from companies such as Don Post Studios, Distortions Unlimited, House of Horror Studios and Be Something Studios (now known as Zagone Studios). I was mesmerized by these catalogs as to prior to this, I had only been aware of the latex masks you could buy in your local department or drug stores every October. I had never seen anything of the quality being offered by these companies.

Original catalog photo of Shrunken Head.
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THE BASEMENT BOOK SHELF: “The Art of Krampus” by Michael Mallory

In 2015 director Michael Dougherty released his second holiday film after the success of his Halloween film TRICK ‘R TREAT from 2007. This film was KRAMPUS and starred many well-known actors such as Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner. This film quickly developed a cult status, much like TRICK ‘R TREAT did so many years earlier. Despite re-writing the entire legend of Krampus for this film, audiences didn’t seem to mind, either because they were unaware of the actual legend or they just didn’t care.

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THE BASEMENT’S PODCAST REVIEW: “Weird Christmas” with Craig Kringle

Though Halloween is my favorite holiday, I still enjoy Christmas, especially since it does have a dark and weird side. There are so many genuinely good Christmas podcasts out there and this one, WEIRD CHRISTMAS, hosted by Craig Kringle, is one of the best, especially if you are like me and like to hear about both sides of the holiday.

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THE BASEMENT’S HALLOWEEN HAVEN: Krampus by Spirit

Though we are heading into the Christmas season, this huge prop is actually more suited for December than October. When it comes to animatronics, I am not always a fan of those put out by Spirit Halloween. Thankfully they put most of them on display, working, in their stores so that you can see exactly what they do and their quality. More often then not the quality is lacking unfortunately.

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DAVID’S DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: The Phenomenon (2020) by James Fox

I think most of us enjoy documentaries, especially when they are about a subject we are interested in. When it comes to the topic of UFOs and extraterrestrials, there are many documentaries to choose from. The problem is, in my opinion when it comes to this subject, most of the documentaries come off as very amateurish, which may cause the viewer to come to the conclusion that the subject is ridiculous.

On the other hand, when a documentary is good, it is usually exceptional! The subject of this review, “The Phenomenon,” is one such documentary. The creator, James Fox, is no stranger to UFO documentaries, having produced some of the very best out there, including “Out of the Blue” and “I Know What I Saw.”

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THE BASEMENT’S PODCAST REVIEW: “Hysteria 51” with Brent Hand and John Goforth

Welcome to another edition of my BASEMENT’S PODCAST REVIEW series. For this one I am covering HYSTERIA 51, one of the best names for a podcast ever! While trying out a variety of different podcasts on the subject of UFOs and the paranormal, we came across this one and quickly subscribed.

Hosted by John Goforth and Brent Hand, this show covers so many topics that I love to read and listen about. Though many topics may be covered on other podcasts, I love to see the HYSTERIA 51 take on all of them. John tends to be the skeptic with Brent believing more often then not, though both are quick to call something fake when it obviously is. They do not believe just to believe or debunk just to debunk; they look at the evidence and make their own decision, all the while making their audience laugh out loud.

Brent and John.
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