It’s Bloggin’ Evil Sits Down With Fright-Rags Founder Ben Scrivens!

It’s Bloggin’ Evil had the opportunity to force Ben Scrivens away from designing awesome horror-inspired T-shirts and sit down with us for an interview! Scrivens is the founder of Fright-Rags, the leading producer of high-quality, limited-quantity, horror film inspired T-shirts. With original and detailed artwork, Fright-Rags stands out among other online retailers!

Below, Ben describe his new “31” inspired T-shirts of the latest Rob Zombie film and discusses the new enamel pin line of select Friday the 13th victims!

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I feel like the Ben Scrivens story has yet to be told to horror fans. How did you develop Fright Rags into being the epitome of horror inspired T-shirts and other memorabilia?

You could say it started on Halloween night, 1981. I was four years old and ended up watching John Carpenter’s Halloween on TV. I was hooked. From that moment on, I loved horror and wanted to see more. Fast forward to 2003, and I was looking for ways to let off some creative steam. I am a graphic designer by trade, so I started messing around with some ideas in Photoshop. I played with ways to work with images of Michael Myers, Jason, etc., and I thought they would look really cool on shirts. I didn’t have any horror shirts because I didn’t really like anything that was currently available on the market. So I decided to create my own.
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What were the iconic movies or talents that inspired you to turn from a marketing communications manager into the Fright Rags owner?

The main movie of course was John Carpenter’s Halloween, but also any slasher flick or flicks I grew up watching in the ’80s. As for talents, I would say it helps having a background in design as I was able to create my own designs as well as build my first website. Over the years, I think that has evolved into just the ability and readiness to learn more about business and how to keep it all organized and running smoothly.

Your October lineup is a great way to start off 2016’s Halloween! Kicking it off with Rob Zombie’s vicious “31,” what made you choose Doom-Head to be the leading face of this movie’s T-shirt brethren?

Well, it was hard because we had to design the shirts without seeing the film. Rob sent us a ton of images but without really knowing the story, we were grasping a bit. But Doom-Head seemed to be a pretty integral part so once we had some designs to choose from, that seemed a likely choice. And Rob liked it too.
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Rob Zombie receives a lot of love from Fright Rags. Is Zombie a big inspiration, from his music to his films or his life style, for putting his Rockabilly face and his homaging work on front of a majority of your product?

Yes, I would say he is. Also, he’s one of those guys that, visually, you can do a lot with. He has both his music and his movies to play off of so there just happens to be a lot of fodder for us. Plus, I am a fan of his – both the music and his movies – so it makes it easy.

The enamel pins are a huge and interesting new product for you and your team and to go in the opposite direction with the select Friday the 13th victims is a bold move. What made you decide to go victim over villain? Also, was it hard to pick only a few select poor souls from the vast for your collection?

Well, we had been thinking about entering the pin game, but it seems like everyone is doing everything. So as soon as you get an idea, it’s been done already – sometimes twice. I’ve already seen a bunch of Jason pins, but since some of his kills are so iconic, I thought it would be a fun way to put a spin on things. It wasn’t too hard to come up with our choices, but to be sure, they have to be recognizable – otherwise it’s just some random head.
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I’m excited to see that TNT’s MonsterVision’s very own Joe Bob Briggs is getting the love he deserves. I feel like the TV personality and lover of schlock has been forgotten by many longtime horror fans and is not recognized by many new fans from a younger generation. Is it your hope to expose Briggs to a whole new group of fans and also rekindle the love from those who once knew him from MonsterVision? Does Briggs know his face is once again in the limelight?

Joe Bob was definitely a highlight of my weekends as a young adult. To do a shirt of him and MonsterVision has been on our ever-growing list of ideas for years. Then our artist reached out to us last year because he wanted to do one and I thought, yes, let’s do it. So I contacted Joe Bob and he was all for it. From that point, it kind of evolved to us then doing pins of MonsterVision, having him sign posters for us, and also having him come up to our town [Rochester, NY] to host a screening of The Warriors on Saturday, October 1. I certainly hope this brings him back into the limelight a bit more as we have been thrilled to work with him on this project.
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Have Fright Rags been struck hard by the declining economy?

Luckily, we have not seen a decline in sales due to the economy. We have grown every year we have been in business, and i think that is partly because people want to escape the stress of their life. We provide them with that escape; they buy our shirts because of the memories attached to the images emblazoned on them. Also, even though our shirt cost more than others, they are high-ticket items like other luxury goods that may have seen a setback due to the economy. At $27, it’s still an affordable luxury.

How much has the company grown over the years?

More than I could have ever imagined. Every time we hit a new high, I am humbled by how far we’ve come sine it was a one-man operation out of my apartment.

Are you seeing a major influence in your sales from pop-up competitors that have 24-hour deals like RiptApparel or TeeFury for example? How does Fright Rags differ from numerous T-Shirt sites in the “one-of-a-kind” deal?

While I don’t think those sites have directly affected us, I have noticed how decent ideas can become oversaturated because of them. For instance, we released a parody shirt called “Incredible Jason” that riffed off the comic book cover of Incredible Hulk #1. We were not the first ones to use that idea, but we were the first (that I know if) to put a horror spin on it. Then I saw one of those tee-a-day sites post 14 different designs based on that theme. None of them were rip offs of ours, but it just killed that idea. It’s too much of a good thing and then any design based on it seems like overkill. In terms of how we differ, well, we aren’t doing shirts for only one day. We do that once per month with our Midnight Madness series, but that is just one of many releases we put out regularly.

For the young entrepreneur, what kind of advice would you provide in starting your own business and how to sustain profitability?

The one thing I tell everyone who emails me for advice is to START. Just start. So many people are worried about how they should set up their company, and spend time on little micro things that – while important – prevent them from actually getting out there and selling something. My first site sucked. My first logo sucked. Hell, the name “Fright-Rags” is pretty plain when you think about it! But the only thing that separates me from another person with an idea is that I went out and started something. From that moment, everything has been on the job training. Even though we’ve grown every year, there have been so many times where I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out, and times where we’ve had to pivot and rethink how we do business. Buy you cannot do any of that until you start something.

Thank you for your time again and is there is anything you would like to add in conclusion?

Thank you for taking the time to interview me, and thank you to all of the people who support us. We truly could not do what we do without you!

Stop by Fright-Rags this October for all your horror T-shirt and memorabilia goodies. Lots a good stuff coming from the company this fall!

DVD Announcement! 6 Plots on October 4th!

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Lionsgate Home Entertainment presents “6 Plots” starring Andrew Clarke, Alice Darling, and Ryan Corr (Wolf Creek 2) onto a Rated-R DVD, On Demand, and Digital Download this October 4th!

Synopsis

After passing out at a party, Brie wakes up to a strange phone message: a lunatic has abducted her six friends and buried them in boxes around the city. Each box has its own deadly terror — water, gasoline, insects — waiting to kill its occupant. To add to the sadistic thrills, the killer is streaming footage of the trapped kids on the Internet — and to each other. Forbidden to call parents or police, Brie must use her wits to locate her friends’ six death traps before their time runs out.

DVD Special Features

· “The Making of 6 Plots” Featurette

Pre-Order your copy of 6 Plots over at Amazon for slightly cheaper!

Starting digging into your Pre-Order for 6 Plots today!

Meet the Evil Jade Executioner! “Red Nights” review!

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“Red Nights” is not exactly a new film. Being released in 2010, the erotic, giallo-inspired, thriller has only been available for DVD purchase in the Belgium market while Germany has the sole blu-ray edition. With much anticipation, Philadelphia based company Breaking Glass Pictures will be bringing “Red Nights” to DVD in the States in all it’s suspenseful and bloody glory.

The ancient box of the Jade Executioner has become the fascination of everyone’s desires. From crooked politicians, to thieves, to sadomasochistic murderers, the box contains a poison that will increase your pleasure by ten fold while leaving you completely paralyzed and increase your pain by the same amount. This twisted tale with a sexual aura constructs a cat-and-mouse game between two femme fatales, Catherine – who just wants a giant pay day for the box and Carrie Chan – who wishes to use the poison for the ultimate pleasure from pain, while a Manau crime lord embarks on a mission to retrieve back his stolen antique box.
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This is the first feature length film from French directors Laurent Courtiaud and Julien Carbon and while “Red Nights” looks beautiful on screen – the shot scenes remind me the Wachowski brother’s Noir film “Bound” – the story can be a bit loose and slow at first. The By the end of act one, “Red Nights” really pick up the pieces and the story of how Frédérique Bel’s character Catherine, a personal assistant to the crooked politician Savini, becomes snared in a web of deadly game with Carrie Chan – played by Hong Kong actress Carrie Ng – and in this game, minor players get a slow and painful death which translates very well to screen and relates very precisely to the character’s personas. Carrie is a sadist who can whip a dry martini while skinning you alive. Catherine is a bit more hesitant but her greed can force her hand to kill.
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The gory effects are surprisingly realistic for a pair of visual effects crew members – Jam Abelanet and Bertrand Levallois – who don’t have much horror and thriller film credits behind their names. This goes hand and hand with how I described the first time directors and how the crew of “Red Nights” got it right the first time. Where the film lost me a many of times was the back and forth dialect of French, Chinese, and a little bit of English thrown in there for good measure. As much as I like a foreign film to use their native tongue, it’s hard to follow when a conversation between a Chinese actress who speaks in full Chinese and then the French actress retorts in full French. “Red Nights” would not make a good Rosetta Stone substitute.
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Carrie Ng creates a fascinating character in Carrie Chan, a respectable, world renowned perfume designer and model. Chan’s dark side involves tight leather, bondage ropes, and razor sharp metallic finger talons that shred skin like shredding a block of cheese. Carrie Ng is lustfully sleek and sexy with her bad girl image that suites her well. Frédérique Bel couldn’t compare to Ng’s prowlness nor clean good looks, but I have to give Bel credit for making her character Catherine a sneaky and aggressive go getter. Maybe the issue was in the script’s writing, but Catherine seemed to lack a lot of intelligence for being in a game that could cost her her life. Catherine trusted everyone too easily and let people go too quickly without any kind of punishment or pain.
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While “Red Nights” won’t break the DVD retail shelf bank, I’m still glad Breaking Glass Pictures and Vicious Circle Films are releasing this foreign gem to the masses of ‘Merica. And while I appreciate every aspect of this film from the director’s inspiration of Giallo genre to the histories of Chinese folklore, I can’t see my country men going crazy over a Chinese girl with finger blades. However, the story for Carrie Chan might speak more to horror enthusiast in that the Jade Executioner’s poison is similar to the box in Hellraiser. The box is described to show you the pleasures of pain much like the poison in “Red Nights.” Lets also not forget that Japanese porn actress Kotone Amamlya and French actress Carole Brana do a bit of nudity as well – click to see my skin page here. Come Tuesday October 21st, DVD will be readily available for purchase, but why wait? Pre-order your copy of a unique thriller with hints of gruesome horror torture!

Legacy of Evil! “Legacy of Thorn” review!

What truly makes an ultimate killer and when I say “ultimate” I mean a killer with great power and will stop at nothing to get a prey? Jason Voorhees is an ultimate killer as he’s able to resurrect over and over and over again in order to slaughter mischievous camp goers. Michael Myers is an ultimate killer as he’s able to pick a victim up by the victim’s head and gouge his eyes while crushing his skull at the same time. Both Voorhees and Myers contain a certain kind of ruthful, limitless evil that makes Ted Bundy and Ed Gacy seem like cut and cuddly kittens. These ultimate killers are the very definition of the moniker. We can now add one more name to that list: Thorn.

Jess and three other survivors look to save their town and see revenge after a night of hell four years ago, February 29th – leap year. Every leap year, Thorn, a vicious, supernatural, and unstoppable killer, roams the town of Avondale to reek chaos and death until he locates his sacrifice. Four years later, Jess and her friends are able to capture Thorn and when their decision to kill Thorn backfires, another night of hell ensues and this time nothing will stop Thorn from taking what Thorn seeks.
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The character that is Thorn is a mixture of Jason Voorhees and the DC Universe and Batman villain Bane in a sense that while Thorn has an immense amount of strength and rejuvenation, Thorn is dependent. Bane relies on Venom to induce superhuman strength. The same goes for Thorn but with his mask giving Thorn also superhuman strength and while Voorhees has his machete, Thorn has two machetes for double the decapitations but he wasn’t limited to just his machetes as crushed multiple skulls with his bare hand and tore a woman half also with his bare hands – best scene ever. This will be Richard Daniel Thomas Holloran (whew) second time playing the Thorn character and he has the slow stalking walk down and the menacing posture that resembles the posture of the iconic horror legend Kane Hodder!
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Director-writer MJ Dixon captures the essence of an ultimate killer combining brutal deaths and a silent hatred while giving Thorn his own murderous theme soundtrack that is a necessity amongst all ultimate killers. Dixon’s editing techniques are top-notch and can rival many of today’s A-list directors; he has talented eye for editing and from “Legacy of Thorn” and “Slasher House” (a semi-sequel to “Legacy of Thorn” – read my review here), I’d trust the director with my low-budget screenplay and precious backing money. I’m certainly thought fond of the linear progression of current time and the reverse chronological order of four years ago when the group of friends were attacked. This editing choice resulted in more dramatic character developed. I actually give a shit about these people who are being hunted. The writing could use a bit of work especially in the first act as the pace slowly builds. There was also a scene where the hero characters – Jess (Jade Wallis), Eric (Paris Rivers), Alice (Jane Haslehurst), and Clark (Craig Canning) – kept debating why they should or should not kill Thorn. Another little annoyance was the blue tint. Much like in Slasher House with the yellowish green tint, Dixon’s heavy hand on blue tint made the film nearly too dark; however, the Duke blue tint did bring an ominous feel. The special effects involved with Thorn’s kills were subtle and the use of slight of hand came off a bit obvious, but overall the deaths were well executed, if I may use that pun.
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Thorn will never die like the ultimate killer he is and will need more stories in the future. His Legacy will live on and I hope to see him again in another rampage involving another group of shaken and distressed teens. There definitely needs to be more background on the character as we don’t know much about Thorn but the facts that returns to Avondale on every leap year and the majority of the town has conspired to keep Thorn pleased with their assistance. Lets establish more of that and make it more coherent in Legacy of Thorn: Chapter 3! “Legacy of Thorn” is now available for DVD pre-order in the UK and the US from MyCho Entertainment Group and Red:Fuse Releasing and looking to hit retail shelves on Tuesday October 27th – just in time for Halloween.

This Evil Island is More Like a Luxurious Resort: “Zombie Isle” review!

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When I first read the title “Zombie Isle,” the first thought was the popular survival horror game “Dead Island” where you can take on a horde of bikini clad, thong and thong wearing, tropicana-sippin’ zombies with various melee weapons. Sounds blood thirsty enough to be turned into a movie, right? Well “Zombie Isle” is obviously not the same brainchild from the people behind the “Dead Island” video game. One could only help and what happens to high hopes usually? High hopes are usually squashed and sure enough “Zombie Isle” was a big bust for not only meeting my expectations of being like the “Dead Island,” but for also being one of the many sheep in the undead genre.
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A group of university students and their teacher embark on a field trip to an uninhabited island to study the habitat. When they split up into groups of two, all hell on the island is unleashed and the students succumb as meals for the zombies that inhabit the uninhabited island. Not only do the flesh eaters swarm the island, but a mad Nazi doctor looks to replace the brain his deceased love into one of the bodies of the gorgeous girls trespassing on his island.
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“Zombie Isle’s” plot is, first off, way too scattered to fully explained how this island became ground zero for possible Nazi or U.S. Army experimentation – it’s not really explained. The Nazi mad doctor has a syringe he injects into the neck of the dead bodies to awaken them into flesh eaters. Nobody knows how he got to the island and no one really seems to ask. Also, the doctor keeps a giant three headed mutated zombie chained to a tree. Again, this all goes unexplained. Half the characters gets rip to shreds in the first 15 minutes of the film and that makes caring for characters really difficult.
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On the positive spectrum of “Zombie Isle,” the gory schlock really is potent. Zombies scooping out brains with their hands, stomachs being ripped open and disemboweled, and brains being munched on. With the gory and the blood, the parodical nature of the film, especially with the two dimwitted hotties, can kind of keep us awake at times; as for the rest of the duration, watch your eyelids become heavy and heavier. The zombies themselves do a good job. Hell, even the three headed mutant zombie has a certain ghoulish charm to it even though it’s obviously fake and goofy cladded, but with director Robert Elkins’ use of cigarette burns and faux faulty-like film strips the creature is hidden behind the throwback grindhouse cinematic style. The cast consisting of Crystal Howell, Tony Jones, Apryl Crowell, Kyle Billeter, Davids S. Witt, and Jonathan Moody are seemly a tight-knit group of people who’ve worked on films together before. They feel comfortable in what they’re trying to accomplish, but their really is no depth in their personas.
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On a technical note, the dialogue audibility is absolute crap. One minute you can hear the characters fine and then the next you’re turning up the volume. Constantly I was fiddling with the controls to find a ideal setting and just wasted my time and energy. Also, the soundtracks is very repetitive and drowns out most of the dialogue as well. The sure signs of low budget filmmaking and not making use of something better than to just repeat soundtrack audio. The foley sounds of squished heads and knocks to people’s dome pieces might as well come straight out of a Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon.
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“Zombie Isle” heart and soul likes with the gore effects not leaving the film to be an empty shell. The characters are the empty shells and the production kind have been better along with fine tuned story in which the parody could have stayed as some of bits were smirk-able. Surprisingly, no nudity for a zombie film with a bunch of university students, but that doesn’t give the film low marks at all. With that being said, “Zombie Isle” releases this Tuesday October 7th, but if you must venture into an overplayed genre, there are better zombie films out there that won’t leave you stranded on an island.