Tagsylvania Is Back For It’s 8th Season Featuring “Motel 666”


For its eighth consecutive season Tag’s Summer Stage in Big Flats, NY makes a ghastly transformation as it shifts from upbeat concert venue to a dark foreboding home of the undead. Rated as one of the top 31 Must See Haunts by Haunted Attraction Magazine the sprawling facility is home to four different attractions this season. Along with long standing staples “Lectures Layer”, “Psycho Swamp” and “Jerkus Circus” is the newly constructed “Motel 666” a two story dilapidated motel which is said to be the home of long since deceased travelers who checked in but never left. Complete with its own frightfully, comedic desk clerk who welcomes visitors with open arms making the new attraction right at home with the other long standing haunts.

While taking a moment to catch your breath between scares visitors can partake in a variety of activities such as the “Escape the Precinct” escape room experience, a “Dark Shadows Maze”, the “Vortex” or meet with a Psychic or Tarot Card reader. If that still isn’t enough try your hand at a number of Carnival themed games while enjoying some of the fall themed food and beverages. Open weekends during the month of October haunt goers can visit http://tagsylvania.com/ for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets…If they dare.


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Blu-ray Review “Motel Hell”

Starring: Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke, Nancy Parsons
Director: Kevin Connor
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Shout! Factory
DVD Release Date: August 12, 2014
Run Time: 101 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Back in 2005, there was an amazing, no a perfect, TV station called Monsters HD. It gave us all our favorites and many lost horror films available in new HD transfers for the first time all in one channel. Of course it didn’t last very long because there is never any love for horrors channel, i.e. FearNET but there are 100+ different reality channels. Either way, on there was the first time that I caught this 80’s classic “Motel Hell”. It is a mix of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with “Psycho”. The film is still good for a few laughs and is quite of fun but not really one of my favorites.

This film has one very simple premise and it is either that it or leave it. “A brother and sister use their remote motel to turn tourists into sausage”. HAHA, it doesn’t get anymore basic than that. Classics 80’s slasher horror. It stars Rory Calhoun (“Angel”), Nancy Parsons (“Porky’s”), Nina Axelrod (“Cobra”) and John Ratzenberger (“Cheers”), and is directed by Kevin Connor (“From Beyond The Grave”, “At The Earth’s Core”).

Shout! Factory is releasing this film as a Collector’s Edition including a Blu-ray + DVD. I would love to see them everything start breaking into the world of Digital HD since having some of these films digitally would be great in the future. I have to admit though, The 1080p transfer is quite issue ridden. I was not blown away at all. It felt like I was watching it on a TV, where it was not full HD and there is tons of grain showing throughout. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 isn’t as bad as the video and sounds rather decent, especially Lance Rubin’s score.

The special features, like always for Scream Factory’s releases, deliver the good for horror fans. “It Takes All Kinds: The Making of Motel Hell” is a nice brand new collection of interview and behind-the-scenes retrospective. “Shooting Old School with Thomas Del Ruth” is chat with the film’s cinematographer. “Ida, Be Thy Name: The Frightful Females of Fear” talks about the lead female horror villain. “From Glamour to Gore: Rosann Katon Remembers Motel Hell” is an interview with the star, same goes for “Another Head on the Chopping Block: An Interview with Paul Linke”. There is a brand new audio commentary with director Kevin Connor, moderated by filmmaker Dave Parker, that is worth checking out. Lastly there is a trailer and some photo galleries included.

Vera Farmiga talks about Season 2 of A&E’s “Bates Motel”

Despite a successful career that had started almost a decade earlier, actress Vera Farmiga didn’t become a household name until her appearance as the psychiatrist caught in the middle in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar winning Best Picture “The Departed.” In 2010 she earned Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award nominations for her supporting turn opposite George Clooney in “Up in the Air. Since then she has starred in such films as “Source Code” and “The Conjuring.” She is also taking on another iconic role, that of Norma Bates, mother of young Norman, in the A&E series “Bates Motel.” As the second season approaches (it begins on March 3) Farmiga took some time to answer some questions about her preparation for the role, her family’s possible obsession with dark material and the rarity of having a second season while working in episodic television.

Mike Smith: Do you know quite a bit of the story line ahead of time? If so, do you like having that knowledge or would you rather be surprised as you go along?
Vera Farmiga: I’m still figuring what it is that is part of my process. You know, I’ve never had the luxury of a second season. I’ve done three series before and they all never had the opportunity to go beyond 13 episodes in the first season. So I know the first season I did feel a little disabled. Not that I couldn’t act… but I remember (writer) Carlton Cuse asking me “do you want some more clues?” And I wanted to sort of take it an episode at a time and not get ahead of myself. For me it was impossible to dig as deep initially with the root of this new character. I just had to – like it was like I felt like Norman Bates was this like huge voluptuous shrub that I just had to trust in this kind of a shallow root system. And sometimes I felt like I was like showing up to fix his toilet and my toolbox has been like packed by the wife. Do you know what I mean? I just reveled in the opportunity of a second season – television is a much slower process to discovering that background history, the personality, the psychology, the characters and their goals. And there were so many unknowns. And also, the cast is so much closer. There’s an intimacy. There’s a level of like sportsmanship now that we can throw harder jabs at each other. It’s the deeper level of trust that has been – and loved. It’s been established between us and the writers and between the actors. But, yes, for the second season I did ask for more clues. And I wantedto – I wanted to have the trajectory of the second season. I wanted to have more answers at the start, which I was provided with. So I think you’re in for a better second season.

MS: What is it that has been attracting you to more intense and scarier roles – “The Conjuring”…obviously the subject matter in “Bates Motel.” Is it in the blood? You’re sister Taissa is now on “American Horror Story.”
VF: Oh my God, you know, it’s like my own beautiful internal logic about why I choose to participate. Or I think actually the projects choose us. But why like there’s this magnetism oftentimes with dark subject matters is like… I don’t know. And actually to be honest with you, I do – I find dark stories uplifting. I think it’s like during the darkest moments of our lives that we see the light, right. There is a lot of darkness in “Bates Motel,” but again, there’s a lot of joy. I always look at things. And I choose to look at it through the lens of positivity. And I think our story is, yes it’s a story about dysfunction. It’s dark. But it’s a story about commitment and love and family and resilience and loyalty. I look at Taissa in “American Horror Story” and I just think, you know – I’m bias – you know, I’m practically her mother. And she’s just like this bright supernova that shines even brighter in the dark. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because our childhoods were so straight and narrow and full of light and love and goodness. I don’t know. Maybe that’s why we veer toward them more. But the object is to send light into the darkness you know, I mean that’s how I always look at it. So I am attracted to the sordid and the wacky, the unorthodox. But I love infusing it with lightness.

MS: When you first took on the role, were you worried before Seasons 1 how it would work setting it in the modern day? And why is it you think it does work so well?
VF: You know, I think – yes. I’d be lying if I didn’t have some reservation about it when I initially was presented with the offer. I thought there were so many things that can go wrong. And where we are being tethered, you know, we’re borrowing these characterizations or these plots points from like the most successful horror film ever. And that’s why that is a tall order but then it became to me simply a story – at the heart of the story it is this relationship between mother and son. But I didn’t feel any sort of pressure because everything that we knew about Norma Bates was through the fractured psyche of Anthony Perkins’ Norman.

MS: You’ve noted that what the audience “knows” about Norma came through the eyes of Anthony Perkins. Of course, that also means that the audience knows how Norma ends up. I know you are, in parts, trying to be faithful to the original film but, that being said, could you have another potential outcome for her? And if so, does this affect the way the character is written or how you portray her?
VF: The writers have always seen this as a strange love story between this mother and a son. And I don’t mean, you know, incest love. But it’s intense. And it’s…I mean it has to go in a certain direction. The relationship you see in the film, she’s very much portrayed as one type of person. And you don’t ever get to know that in her workings of how it got there, which is really fun in the film. I mean it’s great. And it’s a big surprise when you find out in the film. But here you get the luxury of taking that mess and putting it under a microscope and examining it and wondering how it got there and what the permutations were. And was there anything in at that wasn’t just ugliness because in the film, you know, she’s portrayed as a very abusive, harsh kind of ugly parent and it’s like, okay, well everyone gets mad at their parents sometimes. I mean everyone – every teenager in the world says I hate you. And they don’t hate them. It’s like the parent is such a complex thing to a kid. So it really was just, you know, it’s the love story of those two people and how they get to that place. And what it means and what that looks like. And it’s going to be amazing.

Richard Harmon talks about roles in “Bates Motel” & The CW’s “The Hundred”

Richard Harmon is known best for his roles in television shows like “The Killing” and “Continuum”. He also starred in the horror movie “Grave Encounters 2” last year. This year Richard is co-starring in shows like “Bates Motel”, “DirecTV’s “Rogue” and recently shot a pilot for The CW’s “The Hundred”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Richard about his role on “Bates Motel” and his upcoming roles.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Richard Slymore in “Bates Motel”?
Richard Harmon: Playing Richard is a nice change of pace for me. He is pretty much just a normal guy, which is one of the coolest things for me. It is rare that I get a chance to play someone who is just a regular human being. He is a nice person, even though he can come off as a bit aggressive with Norman. But I feel that is due to his protection over his girlfriend. But he is just a normal high school guy.

MG: What drew you to the role?
RH: This was just one of those special projects that you walk on the set and you know how good the show is going to be. I felt very lucky to be apart of it in just any way shape or form.

MG: How was it working with Freddie Highmore & Vera Farmiga?
RH: I unfortunately never got to work with Vera. I really wanted too because I am a big fan and she is just terrific. Even now watching the show, I am an even better fan than I used to be. Freddie though, if he was any representation of both of our leads…oh my God! He is such a pro and just such a nice human being. He works the correct way that I feel that actors should work. He is so focused yet at the same time he is incredibly nice and poliet. I cannot say enough good things.

MG: You are no stranger to TV, how does this show differ than your other television work?
RH: I think they are all different. I don’t just mean because they are different stories. Each set offers its unique vibe. On “Bates Motel” everyone is so experienced and they know what they are doing. They each have a job to do and do it incredibly well. I have been very lucky in that sense since it also applies to the other shows I have worked on. I think with “Bates”, it really has this very unique vibe.

MG: After this show and “The Killing”, what do you enjoy the most about playing the bad guy?
RH: [laughs] I don’t know. It’s what they seem to like casting me for. I do not think I am quite that mean in real life. I would like to think I am a relatively nice person. For a while, I was wondering why I only got bad guy roles. Now I am just I relish in it. They are just so much fun to play. There is so much you can do with them and change all the time.

MG: Tell us about the other TV show you are involved with “Rogue”?
RH:It was a great show to work on. I only got to do two episodes on it in the beginning of the series. It premieres on Wednesday, April 3. The two scripts I got to read were terrific. Plus how could you not love Thandie Newton. I actually didn’t get to work with her either, so there is another one after Vera Farmiga. I really wanted to work with her too. A ton of my friends from Vancouver are also regulars on it like Jarod Joseph. He is just someone that I really respect. I think they hired the actors very well on that show.

MG: What else do you have in the cards for this year?
RH: I just finished filming a pilot. It is called “The Hundred” and it is for The CW. The scripts are insanely good. The summary of the show is set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization. A spaceship housing the lone human survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth to investigate the possibility of re-colonizing the planet. So it about us trying to survive down there. It is a really fun show.