HMAD is dead, long live HMAD!

APRIL 1, 2013


I tried to refrain from putting too many "final thoughts" type things in the Return to Horror High post, because I'm still convinced some folks just like the IDEA of the site and verify that there's a review each day before moving on with their web browsing, so I knew I had to make a "goodbye" post to avoid any "Hey, why hasn't the site been updated all week?" type comments, but also not repeat myself too much. Because, of the many reasons I'm wrapping it up, one is that I really, REALLY hate repeating myself. I don't know if it's a disorder or if I'm merely an impatient asshole, but I get frustrated when I have to repeat an order at the drive-thru - so writing the same things about the same bad killer scarecrow or found footage movies is certainly not appealing to me.

And after 2500 movies (well, 2500 reviews - there were actually more since a few of them are "And all the rest" posts from festivals), I've pretty much run out of things to say about movies that I don't have much to say about in the first place. If you know your HMAD history, there was no site when it began - it was just something I was doing on my own, watching a horror movie every day sort of as an experiment - writing an accompanying review each day came later. If someone were to tell me in 2007 that not only would the site run daily for over 6 years but that I would write 2500 reviews about those films, I'd have thought they were nuts. I'd also ask if Mandy Lane was ever coming out, since they knew the future (and yes! It finally is later this year! One of the earliest movies I reviewed, via screener!).

Because, and this will come as the polar opposite of a shock to most of you - I'm not a writer. I've taken precisely one writing course in my life, and that was for screenplays (as part of my overall film track, where I was focused on editing), hence why I've probably broken every grammatical rule in the book and made up some new ones to boot. I read the news articles some pals of mine can turn out 3-4 times a day (Evan Saathoff, aka Sam Strange, can make even the least interesting casting announcement into a must-read post) and marvel at their ability to keep everything fresh (and hilarious), and frankly I just don't have that in me. And the movies themselves are no help, to be fair to, well, me - how many things CAN one say about 7 or 8 "different" found footage movies about some jerks investigating a hospital for their ghost hunting show? So add that to the other reasons, and you can see why I'd feel it was time to move on.

But also there's a personal life excuse. When I first started the site, I was able to do so because my work day was pretty relaxing; we spend a lot of time waiting on others and thus have to find something to do with our time (when I applied for the job, my now-boss told me "I hope you have a lot of DVDs and books!"). So I could do the writing and watch any bonus features (and sometimes the movies themselves) at my desk, keep up with my work, and still have free time to boot - I used to watch Colbert/Daily Show every day too. And then when I was home I could do whatever the hell I wanted - I played through major games like Mass Effect and GTA4 back in 2007/08, and kept up with the shows I watched. However, over the years we've had some layoffs, and while I've been safe (cross fingers), I've absorbed some/most of the duties of three people, with the last one being in January of 2012 - not too coincidentally announcing the end of the site shortly thereafter. With each one came less free time at work, which meant more and more of the site was being done at home, cutting into my relaxation time and making me fall behind on everything else. I look back and wonder how it was possible I even STARTED a game like Skyrim, let alone made some decent headway into it, when now even a game ridiculed for being too short like Walking Dead: Survival Instinct took me over a week to finish, and I only did so out of necessity since I was sent it for review (in fact, the last game I finished just for my own fun was Lego Harry Potter, and that took me almost a year). And my DVR is constantly hovering in the 80-90% full range, which is a bummer for a spoilerphobe like me.

Now I know that's all First World Problems to the extreme, but the point is - there's other stuff I want to do with my life, and frankly it's just gotten to the point where I have to choose between watching/reviewing horror movies every day, or using the knowledge (and infamy!) I've gained from doing it to try other things (or option C, win the lottery and retire from a day job. That one's pending). Folks always ask about a book - now that's a possibility (two of them in fact!). I'm also going to expand the sort of thing I do for BadassDigest, because I truly (no bias) think it's one of the best sites on the web, populated with several incredible writers, and I want to earn my place among them with more than just new reviews of stuff I've watched and written about here. And I'm either going to finish Skyrim or die trying, goddammit!

However, I get the sense from tweets and comments that folks think the site is actually going away, and I want to assure you that it's not the case. Not only will it still be up for as long as Blogspot is, but I'll still be updating as well! Badass has Devin, Evan, Meredith, and Jordan to review new movies, so when I see a major horror film (like... Evil Dead, just a few days from now?) I'll "come home" to review it, and since I've gotten on the mailing lists for a few distributors I'll still be getting new DVDs all the time. And it's not like I'm going to stop watching horror cold turkey - if I see something I dig and have something to say about, then HMAD will provide a fresh new review for you. So the site isn't dying or stopping; it's just being scaled down, rendering its name a bit misleading. It's now (in spirit, I ain't actually changing shit) Horror Movie Some Days, essentially. SO RELAX, TWITTER FOLK. :)

But obviously it won't be the same, and I admit I actually got a bit choked up and jittery writing my final "HMAD Today is..." tweet (especially since Twitter was so instrumental in not only expanding the site's readership, but also cutting down the people asking me if I was really watching one every day). And the outpouring of support has been amazing; endless tweets and Facebook wall posts from folks sad to see it go, THIS hilarious video from my friend Mike Breiburg... hell I even got to appear on Dan Harmon's (!) Harmontown podcast talking about it! However the big event was last night; my long-suffering wife conspired with Elric from the Jumpcut Cafe and my buddy Mike Williamson to gather a ton of friends for a surprise "wake" for the site, complete with custom shirts (designed by my besties JiB Sapienza and Jeff O'Brien), a delicious cake, a blanket made out of horror shirts (thanks to Tammy Sutton, Jace Anderson, and Amy Lavigne) and a tribute video shot/edited by Jason Miller. I was truly stunned; even after walking in and seeing like 50 of my friends I still had no idea what the hell was going on, as I didn't think "retiring" was a big deal to anyone but me.

So sincerely, from friends I know in the flesh to ones I only get to interact with online; to HMAD's first ever commenter (Chris) and to the always surprising and seemingly schizophrenic Anonymous and every one in between, to Phil Blankenship and Michael Torgan at the New Beverly who helped me expand the HMAD "brand" to screenings (which will continue!), to Codeblack Entertainment who "legitimized" the site by being the first distributor to send me a DVD for review (Somebody Help Me, which I have kept to this day) and to Anchor Bay/Image/Shout Factory for sending me just about everything they have, to the Blockbuster Video at Fulton/Riverside for being the unsung source of what seems like half of the movies from the first couple years, to Jackie Greed for constantly supplying screeners, to Quint from AintItCool for proving HMAD was a good idea/acronym (heh), to my lifelong hero Jim Steinman for reading the site once and thus making me realize I should probably improve my writing, to all the Twitter followers who talk about the movies with me and share the links, to anyone who has ever donated or bought stuff from Amazon, and especially to my poor wife who's watched at least half of this crap with me, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! HMAD would literally be nothing without you.

Oh, and I am aware of the date and also my history of tricking you guys (like when I said the site was actually five people - can't believe how many people thought that was true!), but I assure you this is NOT an April Fool's gag. After last year's was such a bust (did ANYONE actually watch the movie?) I decided not to do jokes anymore if the site was still going on April 1st. In fact, I actually added a bonus review somewhere in the past month so that the last movie WOULDN'T be today which would probably arouse suspicion and give false hope to those who actually DO read it daily, because those folks are heroes. I wouldn't fuck with them. But I won't fully abandon them either!!!

See you soon!

P.S. Since someone will ask: Best - INSIDE. Worst - BENEATH THE MISSISSIPPI. Best/worst - of course, CATHY'S CURSE.


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