2016 Fright Meter Award Nominations Announced!

The 2016 Fright Meter Award nominations have been announced!  The Witch leads with nine nominations, including Best Horror Movie, Best Director, and Best Actress.  Krampus follows close behind with seven nominations.  Other notable nominees include The Invitation, Don't Breathe, and Vera Farmiga, who scores a record fourth acting nomination for her performance as Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring 2.

The Fright Meter Awards, now in their ninth year, are a registered non profit organization dedicated solely to honoring the year's best in horror.   The nominations and winners are determined by the Fright Meter Award committee, a group comprised of over 50 individuals involved in some facet of the genre, including bloggers, producers, directors, and actors.  

The full list of the 2016 nominations is below.  The winners will be announced on January 31st, 2017. 

Best Horror Movie
Don’t Breathe
Green Room
The Invitation
The Witch

Best Director
Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe)
Michael Dougherty (Krampus)
Robert Eggers (The Witch)
Karyn Kasuma (The Invitation)
James Wan (The Conjuring 2)

Best Actor In A Leading Role
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Stephen Lang (Don’t Breathe)
Logan Marshall-Green (The Invitation)
Henry Rollins (He Never Died)
Anton Yelchin (Green Room)

Best Actress In A Leading Role
Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring 2)
Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe)
Kate Siegel (Hush)
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane)

Best Actor In A Supporting Role
Richard Brake (31)
John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Ralph Ineson (The Witch)
Dong-soek Ma (Train to Busan)
Patrick Stewart (Green Room)

Best Actress In A Supporting Role
Tammy Blanchard (The Invitation)
Kate Dickie (The Witch)
Melynda Kiring (All Through the House)
Jena Malone (The Neon Demon)
Imogen Poots (Green Room)

Best Screenplay
10 Cloverfield Lane  (Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken & Damien Chazelle)
Don’t Breathe  (Fede Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues)
The Invitation  (Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi)
Krampus  (Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields)
The Witch  (Robert Eggers)

Best Makeup

Best Special Effects
10 Cloverfield Lane
The Conjuring 2
Light’s Out
The Shallows

Best Score
31  (Chris Harris, John 5, Bob Marlette & Rob Zombie)
Green Room  (Brooke Blair & Will Blair)
Krampus  (Douglas Pipes)
The Neon Demon  (Cliff Martinez)
The Witch  (Mark Korven)

Best Editing
10 Cloverfield Lane  (Stefan Grube)
Don’t Breathe  (Eric L. Beason, Louise Ford & Gardner Gould)
The Invitation  (Plummy Tucker)
Krampus  (John Axelrad)
The Witch  (Louise Ford)

Best Cinematography
The Conjuring 2  (Don Burgess)
The Invitation  (Bobby Shore)
The Neon Demon  (Natasha Braier)
The Shallows  (Flavio Martinez Labiano)
The Witch  (Jarin Blaschke)

Best Short Horror Film
Heir  (Richard Powell)
Killer Friends  (Zach Noe Towers & Tina Carbone)
Night Stalker  (Mike Anderson, Ryan Dickie & Abigail Horton)
Sandman  (Liam Banks)
The Stylist  (Jill Gevargizian)

Fright Meter Films Announces Their Next Production!

As Fright Meter Films first feature Party Night, an 80's throwback slasher, wraps up post-production and prepares to hit the festival circuit, writer, producer and director Troy Escamilla is excited to announce that pre-production has begun on his next feature for Fright Meter Films, Stirring.  

Stirring was inspired by Escamilla's favorite horror film, 1974's Black Christmas.  The film will focus a group of students attending a Christmas party at a sorority house with a sinister past who are stalked by a bloodthirsty killer disguised as Mrs. Clause.  Escamilla wrote the screenplay and will also direct the film.   Though there have been some great Christmas themed slashers released in the past few years, such as Dismembering Christmas and All Through the House, he promises that this film will be different and unique in its own right and will be sure to please fans of holiday themed horror.  He describes it as a mix of Black Christmas, To All A Goodnight, and Scream.  

Returning to Stirring will be Party Night star Billy Brannigan who will be portraying patient and understanding boyfriend Kyle.  Horror icon and Scream Queen Brinke Stevens is also set to star in the film.  She will portray campus police officer Julie Cornell, whose normally peacefully patrol routine is interrupted by a bloodthirsty killer.  More casting announcements will be made in the very near future.

In the meantime, fans can keep up to date with the development of Stirring by liking the official Facebook page:   www.facebook.com/stirringthemovie, following the film on Instagram: @StirringTheMovie.    Escamilla hopes to launch the crowdfunding campaign in January and film in June of 2017.

2016 Fright Meter Awards "Best Short Horror Film" Contenders

As we head towards the end of the year, we at the Fright Meter Awards are now days away from the end of this year's eligibility period and our committee members have been viewing as many new horror films as humanly possible. This also includes short horror films. We are now proud to announce the list of 25 contenders in our 2016 "Best Short Horror Film" category. There are as follows...

Directed by Richard Powell.
Starring - Bill Oberst Jr, Robert Nolan, Justin Major, Jane Pokou, and Mateo D'Avino.

Night Stalker
Directed by New Media Ltd.
Starring Maya Kazan, Keenan Mitchell, Michelle Dickie, Michael Dickie, Rommel Genciana.

You Only Die Once
Directed by Amanda B. Goodman.
Starring: Phil Casale, Teegan Curitz, John DeSilvestri, Amanda B. Goodman, Jen Keefe, Janet S. Kim, Lyssa Mandel, Lianna Nielsen.

Seize the Night
Directed by Emma Dark.
Starring Emma Dark, Carey Thring, Anthony Ilott, Paul Ewen, Mark Sears, Chris Hampshire, Sharon O'Brien-Lumley, Merlyn Roberts, Laurence Joseph, Joel Brown, Beric Read.

Candy Skin
Directed by Kyle Martellacci.
Starring Renny Jachowicz, Stephanie Moran, Charles Alexander, Clayton Millette, Janice Martellacci, David Bonner.

Already Dead
Directed by Michael James Dean.
Starring Darren Ruston, Andrea Newland, Adam Diggle, Shelley Davenport, Tony Cook, Luke Shaw, Simon Bellars.

Pillow Fright
Directed by Patrick Rea.
Starring Jessi Burkette, Jennifer Seward-DeRock, Jessica Logsdon, Kristin Rea.

Deep Creek
Directed by David Christensen.
Starring Jay Beev, Matt Rutkowski.

Beast in the Cave
Directed by Cameron Mccasland.
Starring Wynn Reichert, Mark Greenbaum, Joseph Aguon Drake.

The Stylist
Directed by Jill Gevargizian.
Starring Najarra Townsend, Jennifer Plas, Angela Dupuie.

A Quiet Moment
Directed by Martin Bruyere, Steve Villeneuve.
Starring Kate Drummund, Brett Kelly.

Directed by Josiah M. Jones.
Starring Kurt Hanover, Katrina Faye Webster, Kristin Rea, Marilyn Hall.

El Gigante
Directed by Gigi Saul Guerrerp, Luke Bramley.
Starring David Forts, Edwin Perez, Mathias Retamal, Adelita Rockhill.

Directed by Liam Banks.
Starring Esmee Matthews, Matthew Barker.

Directed by Jake Hammond.
Starring Isadora Leiva, Pablo Gonzalez, Isabella Groff, Julie Moss, Luke Evans.

Demon's Dawn
Directed by Erdal Ceylan.
Starring Meelah Adams.

Hank Boyd Is Dead
Directed by Sean Melia.
Starring Stefanie Frame, David C. Wells, Liv Rooth, Michael Hogan, Carole Monferdini.

Killer Friends
Directed by Zach Noe Towers.
Starring Zach Noe Towers, Jenna-Lee Carreiro, Dave Racki, Peggy Sinnott.

Crimson Dance
Directed by Patricia Chica.
Starring Tonya Kay, Tiffany Shepis.

Directed by Prano Bailey-Bond.
Starring Albie Marber, Madeleine Hutchins, James Cutler.

Born Again
Directed by Jason Tostevin.
Starring ELLie Church, Randall Greenland, Brian Spangler, Tiffany Arnold, Jordan Fehr.

Quenottes (Pearlies)
Directed by Pascal Thiebaux, Gil Pinheiro.
Starring Lionel Abelanski, Matthieu Clement-Lescop.

Directed by Damon Rickard.
Starring Tom Gordon, Amanda Hunt.

They Live Inside Us
Directed by Michael Ballif.
Starring James Morris, Stevie Dutson.

The Shoes
Directed by Kevin Mendiboure.
Starring Clement Bonpoil.

These 25 shorts will be condensed down to 5 after the first round of voting by our members. The final 5 nominees will be announced shortly (late December), along with the full feature nominee list.

The Fright Meter Awards are presented annually by the Fright Meter Awards Organization, a non-profit organization dedicated solely to honoring and recognizing excellence within the horror genre. The nominations and winners are determined by members of the Fright Meter Awards Committee.

Members consist of horror fans, bloggers, actors, producers, directors, and others, making the Fright Meter Awards truly the most prestigious horror award given. The Fright Meter Awards aim to select and nominate worthy films regardless of budget, means of release, or popularity.

Past Winners...

LWhannell - 2015 Best Supporting Actor (Cooties)

Traci Lords - 2012 Best Supporting Actress (Excision)

Lynne Hansen - 2015 Best Short Horror Film (Chomp)

Lin Shaye - 2011 Best Supporting Actress (Insidious)

Tom Savini - 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award

Jovanka Vuckovic - 2013 Best Short Horror (The Captured Bird)

Jen & Silvia Soska - 2013 Best Screenplay (American Mary)

Little Known Real Life Murders Worse than Any Horror Film

There is an old cliche that says fact is often stranger than fiction.  However, turning on the television or picking up a newspaper, we quickly realize that this cliche holds much truth.   Horror fans certainly know that many genre classics are based on real life cases.   Serial killer Ed Gein was the inspiration for both Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was based on the murders of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.  Even The Exorcist was based on a real life case that took place in the late 1940's.

But for every murder or killer that captures the nation's attention, there are many horrific murders that are widely ignored.  Below are ten such cases, each with unique and gruesome details that make them far worse than anything imaginable.

The Murder of Shanda Sharer (Madison, IN 1992)

Shanda Sharer

Teenagers committing terrible crimes has become almost commonplace today.   It seems like on a daily basis we hear about a kid killing someone, shooting up a school, or engaging in some other violent behavior.  However, back in 1992, hearing of such things was not so common and certainly wasn't expected in a small, peaceful Midwestern town.

But on January 10th, 1992, the innocence of small, quiet Madison, Indiana was shattered, along with the lives of five young girls.  On that cold winter's night, twelve year old Shanda Sharer was lured from her house by four girls she had never even met: Laurie Tackett (17), Melinda Loveless (16), Hope Rippey (15) and Toni Lawrence (15).  Melinda was apparently upset that Shanda had recently grown close to her girlfriend, Amanda Heavrin and was extremely jealous of this new relationship.

Shanda's Killers

Once Shanda was in the car, owned and driven by Tackett, Loveless emerged from the back seat and threatened her with a knife.  Tackett drove around for a bit while Loveless continued to threaten Shanda before deciding to drive to a spot the locals called The Witches Castle.  Here, Shanda was forced from the vehicle, humiliated and taunted, and her arms and legs were bound with rope.  After some time, Shanda was led back into the vehicle and driven around some more.   Tackett even stopped at a gas station while Shanda, crying and scared, was covered with a blanket.  After the gas station stop, Tackett drove toward her home, but made a stop at the edge of some remote woods near her house.

Tackett and Loveless, who emerged as the ringleaders, forced Shanda out of the car and stripped her naked.  Loveless beat Shanda severely and then tried to cut her throat.  The knife, however was too dull, so Loveless and Tackett took turns stabbing her in the chest and strangling her with a rope.  Shanda, unconscious, was placed in the trunk of the car.  Tackett then drove to her house where the four girls cleaned up and had some soda while Shanda lie in agony in the trunk.  At some point, Shanda gained consciousness and began screaming.   Tackett went to the car, opened the trunk and stabbed Shanda several more times with a paring knife.  Loveless and Tackett then left Rippey and Lawrence and went for another joyride.  Shanda, who was miraculously still alive, began crying again.   Tackett pulled over and beat her with a tire iron until she stopped making noises.

The two then went back to Tackett's house to retrieve Rippey and Lawrence.  By this time, it was early morning on the 11th; exhausted, the four teenage abductors stopped at a gas station again and filled plastic soda bottle with gasoline.   Tackett then proceeded to drive to an isolated wooded area.  Shanda was dragged from the trunk, doused with the gasoline, and set ablaze.  Shanda was still alive and the group laughed and made fun of her facial expressions and death throes as she burned alive.  The girls then went to McDonalds for breakfast, where the continued to laugh and joke about Shanda's death.

Twelve year old Shanda was tortured for a period of over eight hours by four teenage girls who had never even met her.  The callousness of the girls and the pain they inflicted can only be described as pure evil (notice Rippey and Loveless smiling widely in their mugshots).  Alarmingly, both Rippey and Lawrence have been released from prison and Loveless and Tackett continue to fight for their release; let's seriously pray this never happens.

The Murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom (Knoxville, TN, 2007)

Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom

The old saying goes that your life can change in an instant.  For young couple Channon Christian (21) and Christopher Newsom (23), that fateful instant happened when they were on the way to a friend's party.  Both seemed to have promising futures ahead of them, yet their lives were cut brutally short.

On January 7th, 2007 Channon and Christopher  were carjacked while leaving an apartment complex.  Instead of just taking the vehicle. the carjacker abducted Channon and Christopher.  They were driven to the residence of Lemaricus Davidson (25) where Eric Boyd (34), George Thomas (24), LeTalvis Cobbins (24), and Vanessa Coleman (18) all gathered.

Channon and Christopher's Abductors and Killers

At the house, Christopher was raped repeatedly and sodomized with an unknown object while Channon was forced to watch.  He was then blindfolded and gagged and led out of the house to a set of railroad tracks behind the house.  There, he was shot twice execution style.

Channon faced a much longer, more excruciating death.  At some point, she was forced to call her father and tell him she and Chris were okay.  Then, she was beaten and raped over a course of several days, had bleached poured down her throat and on her genital area before being bound, having her head covered with a plastic bag, then being stuffed into several large trash bags and placed in a large garbage bin where she suffocated to death slowly.

One has to imagine just what kind of monsters would inflict such torture on two other human beings.  Strangely, the mainstream media virtually ignored this case, despite the horrific nature of the crime.

The Murder of Adrianne Reynolds (East Moline, IL 2005)

Adrianne Reynolds
Like most teenage girls uprooted to a new town, Adrianne Reynolds just wanted to fit in and make friends at her new school.  When she was sixteen, she was sent from her small Texas town by her mother to live with her father in the Midwestern city of East Moline, Illinois.

She started Blackhawk Outreach Center, an alternative high school, and became friends with classmates Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory.  The trio hung out together quite a bit, attending several parties, where apparently Sarah became disturbed at Adrianne's reckless and attention seeking behavior.  When Adrianne reportedly asked Cory out, Sarah became even more angry, and she became outwardly hostile toward Adrianne.

Sarah Kolb

On January 21st, 2005, Sarah asked Adrianne to lunch with her, Cory and another young male acquantance under the guise of wanting to make up and rekindle their friendship.  Once parked in a Taco Bell parking lot, Sarah became confrontational with Adrianne.  This quickly escalated into a physical fight.  The other young man quickly exited the vehicle, not wanting any part of an actual physical altercation.  With him gone, Cory held Adrianne down while Sarah beat her with a wooden handle and then strangled her to death with a belt.

The two teen killers then drove Adrianne's lifeless body to Sarah's grandparents property in rural Illinois, where the tried to unsuccessfully burn the body.  Frustrated, they drove back to East Moline and recruited a mutual friend, Nathan Gaudet (16) to go back to the property to dismember Adrianne's body with a handsaw.  Nathan removed the head and arms and put them in a garbage bag.  The three of them drove back to East Moline and ultimately dumped the back in Black Hawk State Park in neighboring Rock Island, IL.  The three of them then went and had lunch at McDonalds.

 Because Kolb admitted to police early in the investigation of Adrianne's disappearance that she was the last person to see Adrianne alive (she initially told them she dropped Adrianne off at a local fast food restaurant), but changed her story multiple times, law enforcement zeroed in on her, and ultimately Cory Gregory.  Cory Gregory caved to the pressure, and on January 26th, five days after Adrianne's murder, he led police to the bag containing her head and limbs that he and Kolb disposed of in a drain at the state park.

Kolb and Gregory were both convicted of Adrianne's murder: Kolb is serving a 53 year sentence and Gregory is serving a 45 year sentence.  Their accomplice, Nathan Gaudet, only received a 5 year juvenile sentence and was released in 2008.  In what some might call karma, he was burned to death in a automobile accident in 2012.

Adrianne Reynolds just wanted to fit in and have friends.  Unfortunately, she befriended two people who ultimately would end her young life.

The Murder of Joshua Ford and Geney Crutchley (Ocean City, MD 2002)
Geney Crutchley and Joshua Ford

Memorial Day weekend sees millions of Americans roadtripping for a relaxing getaway to kickstart summer.  For Joshua Ford (32) and his girlfriend, Geney Crutchley (51), a vacation in Ocean City, MD was just the type of romantic, relaxing getaway they needed.

Unfortunately, on the evening of May 25th, 2002, Joshua and Geney met another couple, Benjamin and Erika Sifrit, both 24 years old.  The two couples had drinks at a local nightclub, and when the bar closed down, the Sifrits invited Joshua and Geney back to the condo they were renting for the weekend.  They agreed.

Once at the condo, the couples continued to party.  At some point, Erika became alarmed and agitated, declaring that her purse was missing and accused Josh and Geney of stealing it.  The situation escalated quickly, and Benjamin pulled out a gun.  Fearing for their lives, Josh and Geney locked themselves in the condo's bathroom.

Erika and Benjamin Sifrit

Benjamin, a former Navy SEAL, broke through the door and shot Joshua four times.  Geney was then stabbed, which is thought to be her cause of death (it was difficult to determine based on her remains).  The bodies were then dismembered in the bathtub.  According to testimony by Erika, Benjamin was completed nude and fully aroused while cutting the bodies up.  The two of them then placed the parts in various garbage bags and disposed of them in several supermarket dumpsters in the surrounding area. 

Unfazed, the couple continued their partying in the days after the murder and took several pictures of them having a great time.  In several photos, Erika can be seen wearing Joshua Ford's ring around her neck.

What caused a, by all appearances, wholesome American couple to commit such a barbaric murder?  While we may never know the answer (both Erika and Benjamin ultimately pointed the finger at each as being the ringleader), but it does serve as a severe warning to never fully trust anyone.
The Murder of Elizabeth Pena and Jennifer Ertman (Houston, TX  1993)

Elizabeth Pena (16) and Jennifer Ertman (14) were out on the humid Houston evening of June 24th, 1993 enjoying a pool party at the apartment complex of another friend.  The two were close friends, attended the same high school, lived in the same neighborhood, and enjoyed hanging around each other.  They were also responsible, and when the realized they might not make their curfew they took off walking toward home.  Knowing they could cut several minutes from their journey home by taking a shortcut through T.C. Jester Park, the two friends made the fateful decision to take the shortcut; they walked along the bayou and then followed the railroad tracks that ran parallel to the park.

It was approaching 11:30 pm as the girl entered the park.  At the same time, six local gang members were drinking and celebrating an initiation. Peter Cantu, Efrain Perez, Derrick Sean O'Brien, Joe Medellin, and Venancio Medellin had just initiated Raul Villareal into their gang.  As the girls walked along the railroad tracks, they were spotted by the gang members.  Seeing an opportunity, the gang approached the girls and grabbed Elizabeth Pena.   Jennifer actually escaped by running away, but bravely returned to the scene when she heard her friend crying for help.  The gang captured her.   For the next hour, the girls were viciously gang raped vaginally, orally, and anally by all six gang members.  They begged for their lives, but Cantu declared they must be killed so they could not go to the police with descriptions.

The girls were then brutalized; members took turns strangling them with belts and shoelaces and then stomped the girls to ensure they were dead.  After the murders, several of the members bragged about their crime.

Jennifer and Elizabeth's bodies laid at their murder site in the summer Houston heat for four days before being discovered.

Peter Cantu, Efrain Perez, Derrick Sean O'Brien, Raul Villareal, and Joe Medellin received death sentences for their crimes.  Venancio Medillin was only 14 years old at the time of the crime and was spared.  Cantu, O'Brien, and Medellin have been executed.  Perez and Villareal had their sentences commuted to life.

Two young friends trying to get home before curfew met their gruesome deaths at the hands of six monsters and gave parents yet another reason to worry about and watch over their children.

The Lane Bryant Murders (Tinley Park, IL  2008)
Lane Bryant Murder Victims and Sketch of Suspect

Shopping is a very typical activity that millions of American women (and men) partake in on the weekend.  On the morning of February 2nd, 2008, four previously unconnected women from the Chicago suburbs ventured out for some shopping.  The four women, Connie Woolfold (37), Sarah Szafranksi (22), Carrie Hudek Chiusu (33), and Jennifer Bishop (34) all ended up at the Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, IL.  Since it was still early in the morning, only the store manage, Rhoda McFarland (42), and an assistant manager were working.

At is what is estimated to be approximately 10:40 a.m, a man entered the store, which was located in a busy shopping center.  He announced that he was robbing the store and rounded the customers and assistant manager.  McFarland was able to make a 911 call, which came in at 10:45am.  She desperately whispered for police to come to the store before the call went dead.

At that point, the six women were forced the backroom and told to kneel down.  Each was shot execution style in the back of the head.  The assistant manager, whose identity has been kept protected, survived; the other five women died at the scene.

While shootings happen all the time in this country, what makes this murder so chilling is the fact that it was committed in broad day light at a busy shopping center where the victims were simply doing something each of us do all the time.  Perhaps more chilling is that the killer has never been caught.

The Starved Rock Murders (Utica, IL 1960)

For three suburban housewives, Lillian Oetting (50), Mildred Lindquist (50), and Frances Murphy (47), mid-week mini-getaway to a beautiful state park for hiking, photography, and relaxation was just the break they needed away from their typical daily drudgery.

On March 14th, 1960, the three women arrived at the lodge in Starved Rock State Park, a natural wonder located about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.  They checked into the lodge, took their luggage to their rooms, and then had a quick lunch in the dining room.  After lunch, they were eager to get out among nature and take pictures, so they headed out on the park's main nature path.  About one mile into their hike, they came to St. Louis canyon, a natural wonder with steep jagged rock walls and a waterfall.  They spent some time in awe of the scenery around them, taking photos.    They never made it back to the lodge.

  Oetting's husband had tried reaching her several times by phone before finally having the hotel staff check her room and find that she had not even unpacked her belongings.  Their bodies were discovered two days later.  It had snowed, and the three bodies were side by side.  There clothing had been stripped and their legs were spread open; two of the victims were tied together with white twine.  Each woman had been brutally bludgeoned to death.   A blood stained branch, thought to be the murder weapon, was found a few feet from the bodies.

The investigation that followed led to the arrest and conviction of Chester Weger who worked as a dishwasher at the lodge.  Though he is still in prison serving his life sentence, he has always maintained his innocence, and there are several in law enforcement who believe Weger is innocent and was convicted simply to close the case.  Regardless, the idea that a weekend getaway with friends to take in the beauty of nature can end so violently is disturbing.

The Murder of Cheryl Henry and Andy Atkinson (Houston, TX  1990)

Andy Atkinson
Cheryl Henry

We've all hear the old urban legend about a young couple parked at an isolated Lover's Lane when suddenly they are attacked by a psychopath.  But on August 21st, 1990, this legend became a reality for Andy Atkinson (21) and Cheryl Henry (22).

At some point on the evening of the twenty third, the young, good looking couple parked Andy's vehicle on Enclave Road, a then undeveloped, quiet wooded area in west Houston.  The location was known as Lover's Lane back then (it is now a well developed area in the heart of Houston's Energy Corridor).  At some point while they were parked, the couple was approached by a stranger.

When neither returned home by the next morning, their families reported them missing.  Officers spotted Andy's vehicle on the evening of the twenty second.  There was fresh blood in the vehicle and officers immediately searched the area.  They made a grisly discovery that haunts Houston to this day.  Cheryl's body was discovered several hundred yards away from the car.  Her clothes had been cut from her body and her hands were tied with a rope.  Her throat had been viciously slashed and her killer had tried to cover her body with boards.  She had been raped.

About a hundred yards from Cheryl, Andy was found.  He was seated with his back to a tree trunk.  His hands were also tied and his throat was cut so deep that he was nearly decapitated.  He still had his valuable watch and cash on him.

The killer still has never been caught.  In March, 2001, police received a letter written in block letters that read: IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO KILLED C. HENRY AND A.ATKINSON, IT WILL COST YOU $100,000!   It also instructed law enforcement to respond to the letter in the classifieds  of the Houston Chronicle.  They did, but nothing ever came of the letter and the killer

The Murder of Angie Housman (St. Louis, MO  1993)

Angie Housman

By all accounts, Angie Houseman was an outgoing fourth grader who loved making new friends.   Perhaps her friendliness allowed her to be taken advantage of in the most horrific way imaginable.   
On November 18th, 1993, Angie exited her school bus only a half block away from her house.  She never made it home and seemingly vanished without anyone seeing anything.   Two neighbors who typically watched the children got off the bus just happened to be doing other things that day.

Nine days later, a hunter made a gruesome discovery in the Busch Wildlife Conservation area.  Angie Houseman had been tied to a tree, duct tape had been placed over her eyes and mouth and most of her clothes had been removed.  Ice chips layered her little body.  Worse yet, autopsy reports indicated that she was alive when left at the tree and died slowly of exposure.  Additionally, she had been kept alive for at least a week before her death while her abductor raped and tortured her.

While there was a fingerprint found on the duct tape used to cover her eyes and mouth, there were very few leads or evidence in Angie's murder.   A teacher did claim that Angie told her she was excited to take a trip to the country with an "uncle" the following day.  This person has never been identified and Angie's killer has never been caught.

The Murder of Rashawn Brazell (Brooklyn, NY  2005)

Valentine's Day 2005 should have been a pleasant day for nineteen year old Rashawn Brazell,  He had plans to visit his accountant and then have lunch with his mother.  However, Rashawn, a motivated, likable music lover never made it to either appointment.  His mother became worried when she could not reach him, as it was very out of character for him to not remain in contact with her.

Her fears were fully realized when on February 18th, three days after he went missing, some transit workers discovered bloody trash bags on the subway tracks in the Nostrand Avenue Station tunnel in Brooklyn.  The bags contained Rashawn's legs, shoulder and right arm.  Five days later, a piece his pelvis was found at the Greenpoint Recycling Plant.

The only clue to who possibly murdered Rashawn came from his neighbors, who witnessed an unknown man ringing Rashawn's buzzer at around 7:30 in the morning on that Valentine's Day.  These witnesses claim they saw Rashawn leave with this man and head toward the Norstrand Avenue Station.  Despite these supposed eye witnesses, no detailed description or composite sketch of this unknown man exists and he has never come forward.    Was this Rashawn's killer?  Or did he meet someone else that fateful Valentine's Day?

The brutal nature of the crime suggests that the perpetrator possibly killed before and/or since.  And what the significance of leaving some of Rashawn's body parts on the subway track?   However, law enforcement are no closer to solving this murder or have any more significant leads than when it happened over ten years ago.  Though the crime still haunts the Brooklyn neighborhood, it has received little national attention.

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Taylor, Troy. "THE STARVED ROCK MURDERS." THE STARVED ROCK MURDERS. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

S.K. BARDWELL, Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle. "Note May Hold Clues in 'lovers Lane' Slayings." Houston Chronicle. Houston Chronicle, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.

Leicht, Angelica. "Houston's Creepiest Unsolved Murder Mysteries." Houston Press. N.p., 22 May 2016. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.

@Bill_McClellan. "McClellan: 20 Years of Combing for Clues in Angie Housman Case." Stltoday.com. N.p., 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

"Angie Housman." Unsolved Mysteries Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

"Murder of Brooklyn Teen Whose Dismembered Body Was Found in Subway Tunnel Remains Unsolved." New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV. N.p., 16 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

"Detectives Press Hunt for Brutal Killer." Detectives Press Hunt for Brutal Killer. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2016.

Fright Meter Awards 2016 Short Horror Film Press Release

The Fright Meter Awards Organisation is seeking submissions to be considered for the “Best Short Film” award.  To be eligible, the short film must be submitted to a film festival or available on social media outlets such as YouTube, Vimeo etc. between December 1st, 2015 and November 30th, 2016 and be available for the Fright Meter Awards Committee to view.

Now in its ninth year, The Fright Meter Awards are presented annually by the Fright Meter Awards Organisation, dedicated solely to honouring and recognising excellence within the horror genre. The nominations and winners are determined by members of the Fright Meter Awards Committee.  Past winners of the Fright Meter Award include John Cusack, Chloe Grace Moretz, Rutger Hauer, and Marcia Gay Harden.

The Fright Meter Award Committee consists of horror fans, bloggers, actors, producers, directors, and others involved in the industry. The aim is to select and nominate worthy films regardless of budget, means of release, or popularity. The Fright Meter Awards Organisation intends to make the Fright Meter Award one of the most prestigious horror awards given.

If you are interested in having your short film considered, please contact us.
Individuals can visit www.frightmeterawards.com for more information about the organisation.

Michael “Mad Mike” Nagy - Senior Committee Member

Troy Escamilla - President

Fright Meter Awards Organisation

#SINNINGWORKS Announces the Home Video Release of the Horror/tTriller ADAM K.

Filmmaker Joston “El Rey” Theney of the production company #SinningWorks announces the official home video release of the horror/thriller ADAM K.  The film, referred to by reviewer James DePaola as “sadistic, vile and will get your attention” stars MTV “Teen Mom” Farrah Abraham, rising pop-singer Emii and horror movie mainstays Brinke Stevens, Mindy Robinson, Arielle Brachfeld, Sarah Nicklin and Kristin Wall.

Home video will see the DVD/Blu-ray release on Halloween 2016, with the VOD and On-Demand release scheduled for November 22, 2016.  DVD/Blu-ray Pre-order Packs are available starting August 29th.  Check the Facebook page for more details atwww.Facebook.com/AdamKTheMovie as well as the Twitter page atwww.Twitter.com/AdamKTheMovie 

When a lonely, awkward insurance claims adjuster is rejected, only the blood of his victims can keep him warm.  In this horror/thriller – referred to as “Sadistic, Vile and Will Get Your Attention!” and “A Dementedly, Fucked Up Slice of Humanity” – watch as ADAM K kills to be your friend.

About #Sinning Works
#Sinning Works in an independent production company of motion pictures founded by writer, director and producer Joston Theney and operating in Los Angeles, CA.  

All Through The House

Year:  2015
Director:  Todd Nunes
Cast:  Ashley Mary Nunes, Natalie Montera, Melynda Kiring, Jessica Cameron, Johanna Rae

On Christmas Eve, a neighborhood where a young girl vanished mysteriously years before is terrorized by a psychopath dressed in a Santa suit.

Christmas themed slasher films have gained quite the following among horror fans.  1974's Black Christmas remains one of the most revered and influential slasher films of all time, and beyond that, films such as To All a Goodnight, Don't Open til Christmas, Christmas Evil and of course the highly controversial Silent Night Deadly Night all have massive cult followings.  Just last year, Slasher Studios released their Christmas themed slasher Dismembering Christmas to positive reception.  So when fans learn of a new killer Santa or Christmas themed slasher flick they are sure to get excited, but an obvious question that arises may be: what on earth can this one do that we haven't seen already?  Fortunately, All Through the House is eager to answer that very question.

All Through the House starts with a gory bang, letting viewers immediately know what they are in for in terms of gore and violence as the killer Santa brutally disposes of two unsuspecting victims.  The gruesome deaths are shown in all their blood soaked glory--a trend that continues throughout the film and that will satisfy gore hounds who have become jaded by the onslaught of off screen death scenes featured in many recent horror films.  After the opening scene, we're introduced to our protagonist, Rachel, who is home from college for Christmas and a few of her childhood friends.  While she should be excited to be home, it seems that Christmas in her neighborhood conjures memories of the mysterious disappearance of a neighbor girl years before.  Unfortunately, she is forced to confront the mystery full force when she and her friends agree to stick around a bit before a night out to help the mother of the vanished girl decorate her home for Christmas.  Secrets are revealed and blood spills as the killer Santa terrorizes the neighborhood armed with a pair of hedge clippers.

What is immediately obvious is that writer and director Todd Nunes is very much a fan of the 80's slasher genre and also very much respects it.   While there are definitely comedic elements to the film, the underlying tone is very serious and dark and there are very well executed homages to several slasher films from the golden age of the genre.  But unlike these often formulaic and cliched films, All Through the House manages to deliver some serious plot twists and the big reveal(s) during the film's climax are satisfyingly jaw dropping.  Additionally, there are some wonderfully tense and suspenseful chase scenes and killer's psycho Santa mask is unsettling; the crisp and tight cinematography add the the impact of these scenes.  For instance, one of the female characters finds herself being stalked just outside the house and just out of view of her friend inside, creating some true edge of your seat suspense.  Couple this with the fact that virtually every scene is replete with Christmas decor (including some unsettling Santa mannequins!) and there is a palpable creep factor and sense of uneasiness present throughout the film.  The acting also needs to be praised; everyone involved does a great job with Ashley Mary Nunes as Rachel and Melynda Kiring as Mrs. Garrett being the standouts.  The later especially is a blast to watch and certainly has to be one of the more memorable slasher characters of the last decade.  Mrs. Garrett is truly challenging role that requires a lot of delicate balancing of emotions and intentions and Kiring bites into it with tremendous commitment and voracity.  Nunes' directing is also impressive, allowing the nuances of the story and characters to be fully realized while highlighting and even improving upon the best of the traditional slasher conventions.

Of course, no film is perfect and All Trough the House does have some very minor issues.  There are several scenes of random neighborhood residents becoming prey for the crazed Santa. While these scenes are fun and extremely bloody, they sometimes feel disjointed due to the lack of any effective transitions; essentially these are simply scenes inserted to up the body count and gore factor, which is perfectly fine--this is a slasher film after all!  However, the pacing is slightly thrown of by these scenes, which periodically pop up.  In one scene, we see the deranged Santa silently stalking our three main girls, then a quick cut to a completely different home with characters the audiences hasn't seen before who we can only assume are in the same neighborhood.  It's a minor complaint to be sure, but it does slightly affect the cohesiveness of the film.  Also, the climax does come very close to running out of steam and probably could have been trimmed of a few minutes.    But again, minor complaints that take nothing away from the film's enjoyment factor.  Make no mistake; this is a very solid film from start to finish.

Overall, I can boldly say that you perhaps will not see a better slasher film this year.  All Through the House is replete with all a true slasher fan could ask for and the carefully constructed references to various genre favorites will surely garner tons of giddy grins from fans. Even non-slasher fans will find themselves immersed in unraveling the mysteries of the plot.  And this is perhaps where the film deserves a ton of credit; while it's unapologetically a slasher film, the plot is by no means cliched, but instead is quite layered and complex for such a film allowing those who may not necessarily be fans of the genre to certainly appreciate it.  Nunes explores some very dark and taboo themes, but is also careful not to go over the top, as the events stay grounded in reality and never feel outrageous.   The climax is grimly satisfying as well and begs for repeated viewings.    Along with Black Christmas and Silent Night Deadly Night, All Through the House should become a holiday tradition for horror fans; that truly is saying a lot.

Fright Meter Grade:

Interview with Director Todd Nunes of All Through the House

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity recently to attend the Drunken Zombie Film Festival in Peoria, IL.  There was an intimacy to the event that made it feel special and both the attendees and organizers were friendly and obviously passionate about the genre.  As an indie horror fan, I was thrilled that I was going to be able to see the latest offerings on the big screen from a few up and coming indie horror directors that I have been following for quite some time, including Cameron McCasland's 80's retro slasher The Lashman and Corey Norman's adaptation of the Stephen King short story Suffer the Little Children.   Both of these films were great and myself and the audience had a blast viewing them.   However, it was a Christmas themed slasher film featuring a killer in a Santa suit by a director I was unfamiliar with that really piqued my interest while attending the festival.

Those who know me know that my all time favorite horror film is 1974's Black Christmas.   There is just something about the juxtaposition of what is proclaimed as the most joyous time of the year with bloodshed and suspense that I find intriguing.  Suffice to say, I am also a fan of other Christmas themed slashers such as To All a Good Night, Don't Open Til Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night and more recently my pal and Party Night Co-Producer Kevin Sommerfield's Dismembering Christmas.  My major curiosity going into All Through the House with very little knowledge of the plot was how could it possibly be different from the films mentioned above?  

Well, folks,  it is.  I'll save the actual review for later, but this film is one of most brutal, entertaining and downright fun slasher films I have seen in quite a long time.   Fans jaded by the slasher genre seriously need to check this one out as soon as possible.    Even better, I was lucky enough to get the film's director, writer and producer Todd Nunes to discuss the film and his love of the genre!  So, without further ado, read on for the interview with this filmmaker who I have no doubt is going to make a huge splash in the indie horror community:

Thanks so much for taking the time to do an interview with us.  For those who may be unfamiliar with you and your work, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I became obsessed with horror movies in middle school. To me, movies were magical because they could terrify an audience and evoke that kind of strong emotion. I remember writing my first slasher story in elementary school. In high school, I adapted Friday The 13th as a stage play and the process forced me to dig deeper into the story and characters so that I could adapt the film without losing its essence. The play was a huge success - even though the school administration hated it. But, three months later I was able to produce a successful sequel. By the time I graduated high school, I was writing original content for the stage, so screenwriting and directing movies was the next logical step. I have tons of homemade horror movies on VHS.

What films/directors inspired you to make horror films?

Well, of course, I love John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Quentin Tarantino, and Ridley Scott. But, I'm very, influenced by all the amazing independent directors out there making a name for themselves: The Soska Sisters, Ti West, and Jessica Cameron. I am a big fan of independent movies, especially horror movies, because I know what it takes to accomplish such a feat without a studio budget. The amount of determination and dedication that is needed is beyond what the average person can comprehend.

Your love of the slasher genre in particular shines through with All Through the House.  What are some of your favorite slasher films and what films directly inspired you to make this particular film?

The first Horror movie I saw was Halloween and I have to say, it changed my life. I had never felt anything like that in my entire sweet childhood life. I was in the fourth grade and my whole family watched it on HBO. My mom instantly regretted letting me watch Halloween and insisted that I never see another horror movie again, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. When I heard about Friday The 13th I was determined to see it and sneak-watched it one night on TV. I couldn't sleep for weeks afterwards. I loved it. Eventually, my mother caved in and became my number one horror movie-watching buddy. I loved Hell Night, Black Christmas, Night Warning, The House on Sorority Row, The Fog, and The Prowler. All Through The House is a mash-up of Halloween/Friday the 13th and a dash of Silent Night, Deadly Night.

One of the most controversial slasher films of all time, Silent Night Deadly Night, received much of its criticism because it took place on Christmas and had a killer in a Santa suit,  So, why a Christmas themed slasher?

This film has been burning inside me since I first saw the poster for Silent Night, Deadly Night featuring an evil Santa slinking down a chimney with an axe. I was fascinated by that poster. My mind went wild. My mother refused to let me see the film because I was too young, but I was mesmerized by that image. Years passed before I saw that movie and I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. I can appreciate it as a classic 80s slasher now, but the initial story in my mind was much darker, scarier, and violent. I always felt there was a dark side to Christmas. Movies like A Christmas Carol and The Grinch had very dark subject matter that influenced me. I was also intrigued by the controversy that surrounded SNDN and I wanted All Through The House would continue that tradition.

Your masked Santa psychopath is a paramount example of a classic slasher film killer.  How was his character developed and what were you attempting to bring to the genre with the character?  Also, where did the creepy, awesome design for the mask come from?

I spent a lot of time developing the character's mythology. In fact, that's where I started when developing the story. I really wanted the story to emerge from this character. I wanted to create a slasher killer that I hadn't seen before. It was really important to me that he be a horribly evil character who also had some sympathetic qualities. I find that combination to be the most interesting and disturbing. There is much more to the killer's story that I hope to explore someday. The mask was imperative to the killer, so it had to be just right. We had a photo shoot with actor Lito Velasco where he wore a dozen different masks. After some adjustments, like wigs, beards, and painting it silver, we all knew it was the ONE.

Your sister, Ashley Mary Nunes, plays the lead character Rachel in the film.   What was it like directing her?  Any brother-sister disagreements while filming?

Jessica Cameron calls us the “brother/sister horror duo”, and Ashley and I work really well together. When we were little Ashley used to beg me to scare her, and she’s been acting in my horror films since she was five years old. She has absolutely no limitations. If I ask Ashley to jump off a roof. She will. If I ask her to get in a bathtub of blood and gore... She will. And it’s not just because she’s my baby sister, she won't even blink about the request, and that’s ideal for a horror director. Ashley truly loves the genre and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the shot.

From a directorial standpoint, what was the most difficult obstacle you encountered while filming All Through the House?  Any interesting stories from the set?

Obviously working with a small budget is difficult, but not impossible. It really comes down to planning out every detail and thinking creatively. I didn't want to skimp on Christmas set decoration, so I started hunting at garage sales, feel markets, and asking for donations. It was a lot of hard work, but it really paid off. I wanted every shot to look like Christmas threw-up all over it. The Holiday season really shines through.  Another obstacle was that the entire movie takes place at night. All Through The House was shot during the summer when the days are longer, so that was a big challenge. The sun didn't go down completely until 9:30 pm and showed signs of rising at about 4 am. Many times we were racing to beat the sun.

How do you feel about the rash of recent horror remakes?  If you were given the chance to remake a horror film, which one would it be and why?

I don't mind remakes. For me, a remake never takes the place of the original. John Carpenter's Halloween will always be the king of slasher movies and no remake will ever take that away.  The best remakes maintain a great balance of staying true to the source, as well as,  adding new material to make the story feel fresh.  Remakes like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,  Last House On The Left,  and When A Stranger Calls are some of the best. There are also a lot of duds like the remakes of A Nightmare On Elm Street and Prom Night. If I had a choice, I would love to do a remake of a lesser know slasher movie called Humongous. I think that movie has a really fun premise that can be expended upon.

So what’s next for you? Any upcoming projects?

Speaking of remakes… That is exactly what I am currently working on. I can't divulge the title just yet, but I can say that I loved the original and I'm honored to be doing the remake.  I prefer to say "reimagining".  My intention is not to try and make the original a better film, because I already think it's pretty good the way it is. My goal is to take the concept and create a movie that explores the subject matter in a different way… much like the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I'm really excited about the project and I can't wait to officially announce it.