Monday, October 31, 2016

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Shooting Location

Saturday, two days before Halloween, my son and I went to Bastrop, Texas to check out a cool shooting location from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was awesome and a great way to spend a spooky weekend.

To watch my tour of the place, click on the video below or watch it in full screen HERE.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween -- My Reign of Evil

This Halloween, like every Halloween since my kids have been too old for me to trick-or-treat with them, I plan to sit out in my front yard, handing out candy and comic books to kids in the neighborhood. I always have creepy old movies or movie trailers playing on an old TV set that has a built-in VCR. A makeshift graveyard and other decorations add to the fun.

I have a blast doing this. Not only do I love Halloween, movie monsters, and in general being goofy, I have a great time talking to the neighbors who walk up with their kids, and it's a lot of fun seeing all the different costumes. The kids love it, and my house now has a reputation as a fun place to go on Halloween, mainly because of the comics and the "scary" movies. The little ones approach with cautious eagerness, and it's fun to see the excitement on their faces. Many of the parents shake my hand, tell me they remember me from previous years, and express gratitude for my silly little set-up.

I say all of this because I feel sorry for people who hate Halloween, including those who worry about "offensive" costumes that are scary or politically incorrect, and those who think Halloween and its fantastical, imaginary trappings--witches, warlocks, wizards, demons, devils, ghosts, and goblins--somehow propagate true evil.

There's a lot of evil in this world--terrorism, racism, violent crime, and child abuse, just to name a few examples--but it has nothing to to with Dracula, Frankenstein, or the Wolfman, or with spreading some literacy around, or with getting to know your neighbors and their kids a little better. Rather, it has to do with the dark hearts and misguided desires of flawed human beings.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Classic Home Video Games 1985-1988: A Complete Reference Guide -- A First Among Video Game Books

A recent Facebook thread about all the recently published and forthcoming Nintendo NES books got me thinking about something I hadn't really thought about in a long time. My second book, Classic Home Video Games 1985-1988, originally published in 2009, was the FIRST to feature write-ups for every single U.S. release for the NES console. Since the cover dates refer to when the consoles were released, the book also includes every game for the Atari 7800 and Sega Master System, another first. (The Digital Press Collector's Guides are nice and have comprehensive listings--I still use them to track my collection--but many of the entries contain nothing but data and lack descriptions or reviews.)

A have nothing against the new NES books as the ones I've seen are very nice looking, and the more quality video game books being published the better (in this respect, the video game industry lags far behind the music, sports, and film industries, which have thousands and thousands of books). In fact, I contributed to one of the new NES books. But, and I suppose this is self-serving, I think it's noteworthy to mention that my book was the first of its type regarding the NES. You can find links to excerpts from the book HERE.

Helping pave the way for Classic Home Video Games 1985-1988 was Leonard Herman's essential ABC to the VCS, which listed, cataloged, and described every Atari 2600 game. This landmark book played a role in inspiring me to write the "Classic Home Video Games" series. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to guys like Jeff Rovin and Ken Uston, who wrote early video game books, and to Bill Kunkel, Joyce Worley, and Arnie Katz, the first video game journalists. I remain flattered and thrilled beyond measure that the late, great Kunkel wrote the forward to my NES book, and that his wife bought a copy of my Atari book.

Working on these books is a labor of love--I make a lot more money writing articles considering the time involved in writing books--but it's been rewarding and a lot of fun, and I'm currently working on a Super Nintendo book.

As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Archie Comics -- Classic Video Game Covers

One of my jobs is working for a major online comic book retailer, writing plot descriptions and entering data. I recently finished a massive Archie Comics project and thought I would share these cool video game covers with my readers. These days, when most people think of Archie Comics and video games, they think of the long-running "Sonic the Hedgehog" series, but here are covers of a different sort.

Click on each cover for a closer look. 

The pixelated characters playing this arcade cab evokes Boxing for the Intellivision. 

 It's on like Donkey Kong! And Pac-Man! And some generic space game!

 The rumors are true--there are people in the television set!

Space Invader! Not Space Invaders, but Space Invader!

 Pac-Man: Gaming's biggest celebrity before Mario came along.


 I don't remember ever playing "Capturing Archie."

More cooties!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Other Texas Horror Movies

For us groovy ghouls, October is that most wonderful time of year--a season for hauntings, Halloween parties, Hershey bars and, of course, horror movies. Some of the scariest fright flicks ever produced were filmed and/or set in Texas, including Tobe Hooper’s low budget masterpiece from 1974—you’ve probably heard of it—a little picture called The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Narrated by an uncredited John Larroquette (of Night Court fame), the film finds a vanload of teens wandering off the main road and into a decrepit farm house occupied by sadistic cannibals. Much mayhem ensues, including a harrowing scene in which the now-iconic Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), a hulking brute wearing a human skin mask and wielding a chainsaw, chases a beautiful blonde named Sally (Marilyn Burns).

Nightmarish and highly influential, the original TheTexas Chainsaw Massacre (avoid the sequels altogether and approach the 2003 remake with trepidation) is the best, most famous Texas horror film, but there are a number of others worth renting or downloading, including the sinister seven listed below.

Send the kiddies to their rooms, however, because each movie is Rated R with good reason.

Race with the Devil (1975)
Recommended for B-movie buffs, Race with the Devil is as much a car-chase film as it is a horror movie, with two San Antonio couples in an RV being chased by devil worshipers across the Texas plains. The cast, which includes Peter Fonda, Warren Oates and Loretta Swit, is considerably stronger than the script, but the action-packed movie remains entertaining.

Writing for, J.C. Macek III called Race with the Devil “an unquestionable good time,” citing its “thrills, mystery and legitimate scares.”

The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976)
Directed by Charles B. Pierce, the auteur responsible for Legend of Boggy CreekThe Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) stars Ben Johnson as a Texas Ranger searching for a hooded killer who is terrorizing the residents of Texarkana, circa 1946. Supposedly based on a true story, this early serial killer film plays out documentary style and is plenty chilling. Look for Dawn Wells, a.k.a. Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island, as a shrieking victim.

A “meta-sequel” of the same name hit theaters in 2014, debuting at the 10th annual Fantastic Fest in Austin.  

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Elvis and JFK never died. In fact, they’re alive and well in an East Texas nursing home whose residents are being killed by an ancient Egyptian mummy. So goes the premise of Bubba Ho-Tep, an amusing horror comedy starring Bruce Campbell as The King and African-American Ossie Davis, who claims he was “dyed” after his assassination was faked by LBJ, as our 35th president.

As ridiculous as it sounds, the movie is entertaining, and it’s a surprisingly sincere love letter to Elvis Presley as well.

Frailty (2002)
Texan through and through, Frailty takes place in small-town Texas and stars two of the state’s most noteworthy actors: Bill Paxton, who was born in Fort Worth (and also directed the film), and Matthew McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde and lives in Austin. A religious fanatic father, beset by visions, enlists his two sons on a mission from God to kill demons disguised as human beings.

Frailty is fairly obscure (perhaps the lame title has something to do with it), but disturbing, powerful and relevant. In terms of sheer quality of filmmaking, it’s one of the better films on this list.

The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Directed by shock rocker Rob Zombie, famous for such songs as Dragula and Living Dead GirlThe Devil's Rejects is the superior sequel to Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses (2003). Sid Haig (wearing bad teeth and clown makeup), Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie (Zombie’s wife) reprise their roles as members of the psychotic, prolifically murderous Firefly family. This time they’re on the run from the law, and the cops are about as scary as their prey.

Recommended for fans of extreme horror, The Devil's Rejects is excruciating and unrelenting in its use of gore and violence—don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Planet Terror (2007)
San Antonio native Robert Rodriguez’s contribution to his and Quentin Tarantino’s collaborative double feature, GrindhousePlanet Terror takes place in rural Texas during a zombie apocalypse that was created by the unleashing of an experimental bio-weapon. The fun film takes the “Living Dead” formula to new heights with grosser, more graphic depictions of zombie carnage as a small band of survivors—including Rose McGowan brandishing a shotgun leg—fends of the unholy hoards.

The other half of the bill, Tarantino’s Death Proof, was shot in Texas as well.

The Final (2010) 
In The Final, an independent film screened at the 2010 After Dark Horrorfest, bullied teens take matters into their own hands, exacting revenge on their tormentors by drugging them, chaining them together and brutalizing them using methods derived from horror movies and ancient torture techniques.

The teens take the torture, which was filmed at a farm house in the remote county of Rocky Branch, Texas, way too far, but there are some guilty pleasures to be found in this type of revenge fantasy.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Black Mirror Season 3 Episode 4 -- BUBBLE BOBBLE!

If you have Netflix and you haven't watched Black Mirror, you're really missing out, especially if you enjoy dark dramas, sociological science fiction, and well-written anthologies. The show is sort of a The Twilight Zone of the modern era, but more intense and more squirm-inducing. In short, it's awesome. 

Season three of Black Mirror dropped on Netflix Oct. 21. During the fourth episode of season three (yes, I'm binge-watching it), which is called "San Junipero," there's a scene set in the arcade of a 1987 dance club. A nerdy guy walks up to a girl who is playing Bubble Bobble and gives her a little bit of history on the game. Not surprisingly, he fails in his attempt to pick her up. Check it out below, or click HERE to watch the video in full screen.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Official Press Release - Classic Home Video Games 1989-1990: A Complete Guide to Sega Genesis, Neo Geo and Turbografx-16 Games.


Contact: Brett Weiss

New edition of Classic Home Video Games 1989-1990: A Complete Guide to Sega Genesis, Neo Geo and Turbografx-16 Games.

October 16, 2016

The third book in the comprehensive, critically acclaimed “Classic Home Video Games” series, which is the world’s only book series dedicated to cataloging every game for every classic console, has finally been released in an affordable and convenient softcover edition.

ClassicHome Video Games 1989-1990: A Complete Guide to Sega Genesis, Neo Geo andTurbografx-16 Games covers EVERY U.S. release for those three legendary consoles, which ushered in a crucial era of video games that includes such now-classic titles as Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Metal Slug, Samurai Shodown, Blazing Lazers and Bonk’s Adventure.

Published by McFarland Publishers, Classic Home Video Games 1989-1990 (the cover dates refer to when the consoles were released) features descriptions/reviews, historical data, gameplay details, photos, an appendix featuring coverage of the Game Boy and Atari Lynx, and much more, including a foreword by video game historian Leonard Herman.

The “Classic Home Video Games” series began in 2007 with Classic Home Video Games, 1972-1984: A Complete Reference Guide, which is a comprehensive tome covering the Atari 2600 ColecoVision, Intellivision and other consoles of the Golden Age of video games.

Weiss followed in 2009 with Classic Home Video Games, 1985-1988: A Complete Reference Guide, which covers the NES, Atari 7800 and Sega Master System, and then in 2011 with Classic Home Video Games 1989-1990: A Complete Guide to Sega Genesis, Neo Geo and Turbografx-16 Games.

You can order the book HERE:

 And read sample pages of several of Brett’s books HERE:

Author Brett Weiss is available for interviews:


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Classic Home Video Games 1989-1990: A Complete Guide to Sega Genesis, Neo Geo and Turbografx-16 Games - NOW IN PAPERBACK

My book covering EVERY U.S. release for the Sega Genesis, Neo Geo and TurboGrafx-16 is finally in softcover.

You can check it out on Amazon HERE.

You can read sample pages by clicking on the links below:

Check out a review of the original hardcover version:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Encyclopedia of KISS: Music, Personnel, Events and Related Subjects -- NEW REVIEW

A new review of my KISS book, published by ARBA, “The most comprehensive, authoritative database for quality reviews of print and electronic reference works.”

Click on the text box for a closer look:

New ColecoVisions Podcast -- Coleco Gemini

In the new ColecoVisions podcast, myself, Willie "Arcade U.S.A." Culver, and John "Gamester81" Lester discuss the Coleco Gemini, Retropalooza, and various other video game topics.

You can listen HERE.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

1990 Nintendo World Championships -- Dynamite Magazine

In my continuing search for video game articles in non-gaming publications, I found this story in  #156 about the 1990 .

Click on the image for a closer look and enjoy! 

Friday, October 7, 2016

R.I.P. Bill Warren - A Great Writer and Science Fiction Buff

R.I.P. Bill Warren. Although I corresponded with him from time to time, I didn't really know Bill all that well. He was, however, a big influence on me as he wrote for Famous Monsters of Filmland and various other magazines, and for Leonard Maltin’s film guides. More significantly, he wrote one of my favorite books of all time, Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties, which gave me the idea to write The 100 Greatest Console Video Games:1977-1987.

While reading a revised/updated edition of Warren’s massive tome chronicling American science fiction movies of the 1950s (and up through 1962), it occurred to me that I should write a similar book about video games. Keep Watching the Skies! isn’t a best-of volume, but, with its production histories, quotes from other sources, anecdotes, coverage of a specific era, and the like, it did get me thinking along the lines of my 100 Greatest book.

Further, my review of Keep Watching the Skies! was my entry into Fangoria, a magazine I was thrilled to get published in.

You can read my review of Keep Watching the Skies! HERE.

And you can check out Mark Evanier’s obituary of Bill Warren HERE.

Bill is no longer with us, but he lives on through his fine work.