The State of the Ensemble Address 2017







When last we left off…


Back on March 8, I dropped seven reviews.  Over the week or two before, I’d watched an eclectic mix of horror flicks, mostly newer titles with a few older ones included.  They included a few horror comedies, a mockumentary, a huge summer blockbuster disappointment, and a cautionary tale about role playing games starring Tom Hanks.  I’d never dropped that many at once before, but I had a foreboding feeling that things were about to go sideways for a while.


Just prior to that, I’d dropped reviews for I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and its sequel.  I’d written and posted them in the midst of a bad incident in my life.  The writing and sharing balanced me out a little.  Writing is one of those things that keeps me sane.  This is why I run Death Ensemble, even with its small number of followers, many of whom may not care if it disappeared.  Which it did for awhile.


After I’d posted those reviews, DE went dark.  For months it was just a bad link screen, no flaming skulls, no Slayer worship, no reviews.  No horror.  No voice.


I won’t get into the myriad reasons it was dark for so long.  You’d be bored with them, and they’re my personal issues anyway.  Instead, I’ll give a quick explanation of a few things, and a look forward.


The Hell of Fame Week


I don’t celebrate the Oscars like X does.  I’m not a woman and I’m not Black.  But I constructed a plan to do a DE take on the Academy Awards, at the same time acknowledging Black History Month and Women in Horror Month.  So I put together a list of inductees and went with it.
Jeremiah Kipp was in first.  This brilliant indie director is one of my favorites, he embodies the gritty low budget aesthetic, and proves it can’t hold back true talent.  This was supposed to coincide with the release of his feature BLACK WAKE, but it was the ideal time to induct him.


The next day, I inducted Duane Jones.  I’ve spoken plenty about the importance of Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, but this time I got to hone in specifically on Duane, a brave actor who gave a brave performance.


The next day, Rob Bottin was up for induction.  He created some of the greatest makeup effects in the history of film, and his work on Carpenter’s THE THING is unparalleled.


After a day off, I honored the Bride of Frankenstein.  A truly elegant lady of horror.


I had a full head of steam.  Then my head fell apart, and I never got to finish this Hell of Fame project.  The great thing is, now that DE is back I can.


Reviews without a Theme


If you follow DE, you know I like to write a collection of reviews toward a theme.  So back in December, it fit when I finished reviewing the FRIDAY THE 13TH flicks.  But my last batch, and my current one as well, had no thematic ties between films.  I’ve been cherry picking flicks recently, which has a certain appeal all its own.  But I can’t say I’m unhappy that I’m in the midst of reviewing most of the ELM STREET flicks.


Dead Man’s Party


I’ve been working on taking a Slayer song off every album and writing about a personal connection I have to each.  I started this last February, with “Raining Blood.”  It’s an ongoing process, and I should be done with it soon.


Which leads to some things I can discuss happily, starting off with…


International Slayer Week


I posted up a piece on 6-6-16, promoting a bunch of pieces I never got to write.  Good thing is, I made it to 6-6-17.  So I can do some celebrating with Slayer this week.  Never a bad thing.


More Reviews


As I promised above, you can expect a whole slew of reviews to come soon.  I promise I won’t dump 15 on you in one day.


The Return of Some Other Pieces


I’ve got a You Suck! piece in the wings and another few in the idea stage, a few retro concert reviews, some Dead Man’s Party posts that don’t involve Slayer, and some Piece by Piece articles.  I’m also ready to reopen the Vault of the Criminally Insane, with some old Icons of Fright reviews.  I’m trying to work on lining up some more interviews, so we’ll see where that goes too.


It was a long time in the darkness, but I feel good to be back.  DE may take a while to bring back its audience, and build new readers.  For those of you reading this post, I thank you personally and on behalf of the blog. We look forward to getting back to being your unique perspective on horror, as Hell Awaits You.



Big Evil Editor-in-Chief, Phil Fasso




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