About Me

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Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a seasoned music and film journalist, having written for venues such as Blabbermouth.net, The Big Takeover.com, Fangoria.com, Noisecreep, About.com, Horror News.net, Metal Maniacs, AMP, Dee Snider's House of Hair Online, Pit, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained, Impose, DVD Review, Music Dish and others. His blog The Metal Minute won Metal Hammer's Best Personal Blog Award in 2009. Ray is the host of "Comic Books" at ReadWave and is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut. Ray has been a local beat reporter and photographer for newspapers and journals such as Metromix, an affiliate of the Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine and The Northern News. Ray is the winner of Quantum Muse's short fiction contest for 1999 and his original character superhero stories were collected in the paperback anthology "Playing Solitaire." In 2013, Ray published fiction stories at New Noise Magazine and Akashic Books and he appears in the horror anthology, "Axes of Evil." He recently contributed work to Neil Daniels' Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Kirby

44, eh? That's MY age and if anything, I'm just getting my second wind. Future greatness, it's ON. With gratitude to the iconic and always-inspiring Jack Kirby.

                              Listenin' to:  Neu!  - Neu! 75

Friday, February 6, 2015

"Lament for My Long-Lost G.I. Joe # 2," by Ray at ReadWave Comic Books

Another little ditty about comics, this time what I went through in 1982 to snag this sought-after collector's prize, then lost it.



            Listenin' to:  LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out

Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Favorite Comics-to-Films...to This Point" by Ray over at ReadWave Comic Books

The superhero film season is right around the corner!  Over at ReadWave Comic Books, I take a look at my favorites flicks bred from comic books.


Link up here:


                          Listenin' to:  Callisto - Secret Youth

Saturday, January 17, 2015

More Reviews By Ray at Blabbermouth

Up at Blabbermouth, more of my reviews targeting the latest from Yob, the Melvins, Nick Oliveri's Uncontrollable, Steel Prophet, Ion Vein and from my hometown of Baltimore, Charm City Devils. Also up is my review of Scott Ian's often hilarious spoken word DVD, Swearing Words in Glasgow.

Listenin' to:  Adrenalin O.D. - The Wacky Hi-Jinks of Adrenalin O.D.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

                           Listenin' to:  Jethro Tull - Stand Up

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

We All Have Our Vices

Pick your shameless vice:  booze, pot, chocolate, soda, gerbils up your bum.  This one's mine.

            Listenin' to:  (a-duh)  Saturday Night Fever soundtrack

Monday, January 5, 2015

Ray's Current Reviews Posted at Blabbermouth

Now running at Blabbermouth, my reviews of the latest from Emigrate, Venom, Blind Guardian,36 Crazyfists, Sweet & Lynch and Sinister. 

             Listenin' to:  Mott the Hoople - All the Young Dudes

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Comics in 2015 I'm Already Geeking About, a New Post by Ray at ReadWave Comic Books

Happy New Year, readers!

In keeping with the situation, here's a new post I have at ReadWave citing new comic series that have either recently started or will be coming up in 2015.

Thanks as always for your support!  Let's all make this year a positive one!

Link up:


                           Listenin' to:  Emigrate - Silent So Long

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Favorite Christmas Greeting From the Record Labels This Year

I get my share of cool Christmas greetings from friends, family and of course, the music industry.  Top honor from the latter goes to Germany's Kozmik Artifactz for this retro 1950's platter pool.  Love.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Listenin' to:  Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bad Santa in Spider Land, Circa 1986, a Post by Ray at ReadWave Comic Books

Over at my forum with ReadWave Comic Books, a holiday-themed look at what the genre could get away with in 1986.

Link up here:


      Listenin' to:  Brian Setzer Orchestra - Boogie Woogie Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Triple Play (Christmas Edition) - 12/21/14

It's been awhile since I've done a Triple Play here and frankly I've missed that.  However, I have a few minutes between cranking out album reviews for Blabbermouth and thought I'd post three of my favorite, offbeat Christmas jams.   No explanations needed, just cue 'em up, enjoy and look toward having a Merry Christmas, one and all.

Reverend Horton Heat - "What Child is This"

The Ramones - "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)"

King Diamond - "No Presents for Christmas"

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Guest Writer: The Dream Diaries of Clive Barker, by Beth Kelly

As a first here at The Crash Pad, I'm pleased to present a guest writer, Beth Kelly, who recently approached me about horror films and writing.  Beth's enthusiasm for Clive Barker, one of the greats of modern terror lore, prompted me to invite her to pen her thoughts about Barker's works, namely those that have enjoyed commercial success as translated into the cinema and comics realms.

Please give Beth a hearty welcome!

The Dream Diaries of Clive Barker

Clive Barker transitioned from an unassuming English schoolboy who dabbled in theatre and story writing to one of horror's most prolific storytellers. As an accomplished author, illustrator and filmmaker, Barker has transcended tired macabre themes and erected an empire of fantastical sadomasochistic gore. Once referred to by Stephen King as "the future of horror," Barker's take on terror would turn the genre on its head.


After finding success as an author of gruesome literature, Barker decided to try his hand at filmmaking in his directorial debut, 1987's Hellraiser.  Based upon his novella "The Hellbound Heart," the film focuses on an innocuous puzzle box that opens the door to the Netherworld. In an era crowded with movie killers and monsters, Barker managed to be truly original. Unlike Carpenter's rugged style, or Craven's over the top maniacs, Barker's Cenobites presented a new take on terror rooted in religious mythology.

Starkly pale and visibly tortured, the Cenobites are contorted and elaborately decked out for assuming their backwards Christian personas. Their purpose is to dole out the punishments of Hell in a terrifying combination of pleasure and pain, a common theme in Clive Barker's work, along with a healthy dose of "paying for your sins." Pinhead, the lead Cenobite, is a Jesus-esque figure, complete with crucifixion imagery that holds the keys to eternity and a "just reward." The human victims are subjected to a nightmare of gore and brutality that sets this film far apart from its counterparts, yet is still classier and scarier than today's torture porn movies, of which Hellraiser was an obvious influence.


Barker's gravitation toward the visual aspects of terror continued in his cult classic, Nightbreed. Inspired both by H.P. Lovecraft and pop cultural references, Barker created a realm of vampiric undead.  In post-production, however, much of the original film was edited outside Barker’s wises. As a result, Nightbreed was initially released to critical disdain and commercial failure, but in the years since, the film has garnered greater respect from horror fans.  It has an established loyal cult following and can be watched online or even streamed on Amazon.

Based on Barker's novella, "Cabal," Nightbreed is a story caught between perceived reality and the forces of an underworld of creatures where a mentally ill man finds himself a member of the secret society of ghoulish outcasts. Though the things of nightmares, the monsters, interestingly enough, are not who the audience is meant to fear.  In the end, the bad guys are the decidedly creepy humans, while the nightmarish monsters still frighten, but come out the rightful winners.


Candyman could have been a simple ghost story about a woman suffering a haunting, but in the capable hands of the director Bernard Rose, this film became anything but that. Based on Barker's story, "The Forbidden," the film in an urban legend come to life. The "Candyman" is summoned by a woman who is from then on plagued by death after death. The story's genius is that it is unclear whether or not the "Candyman" actually exists: he could be just a ghost, a figment of the imagination, or a clever ploy by the woman to cover her own killing spree. Chicago’s old Cabrini-Green housing projects, where the majority of the film’s action takes place, provide a perfectly chilling backdrop. Considered one of the most original takes on the urban legend theme, Candyman questions the idea of perception and belief, another nod to religion.

In recent years, Barker's influence on horror has become more apparent. There have been many imitations and aspirations to reach Barker's level, but few have attained the raw, gritty feel of his work. Barker's legacy is one that elicits cold sweats and chilled bones, not with cheap frights, but with a horror that is honest, pure, and profound in its respect for what is truly worth fearing: the subconscious.

(c) 2014 Beth Kelly

                  (Ray is ) Listenin' to: Def Leppard - High 'n Dry

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Up at Blabbermouth, my reviews of new digs by AC/DC, Sister Sin, Machine Head, Sanctuary, Bloodbath, Threshold and Krokodil.

    Listenin' to:  AC/DC - For Those About to Rock, We Salute You

Thursday, December 11, 2014

10 Comic Titles That Rocked My 2014

Over at ReadWave Comic Books, my picks for the rockinest comic titles of the year.



 Listenin' to: Between the Buried and Me:  The Parallax II:  Future Sequence

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stand by...

Hang in there, readers!  More stuff coming atcha very shortly.

The holidays are in full swing, which has me on the run, but the bigger news is I've been invited to submit a novel I'm nearly finished writing titled "Watching Me Fall," so I'm devoting much of my extra time getting that completed for the prospective publisher.  It'd be a great way for me to ring out 2014 and kick off the new year.

In the meantime, I have reviews of the latest from Slipknot, Machine Head, Sanctuary, Mr. Big, Orange Goblin, Sodom and the expanded edition of Soulbender's debut album over at Blabbermouth.  I'm about to drop a review of the new AC/DC album, Rock or Bust very shortly, so keep dropping over there as you faithfully do here at The Crash Pad.

Cheers, yuletide and otherwise....

                          Listenin' to:  Radiohead - The Bends  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Santa Claus... The Man... The Myth...

It's that time again!  My favorite Christmas t.v. spot of all-time.  Originally run in the late eighties on MTV, mostly during Headbangers Ball and 120 Minutes.  You know, when MTV was actually a music station.

                      Listenin' to:  Radiohead - OK Computer

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Haunting the Chapel

Creepy images of  sculpted wraiths haunting the chapel from one of the photogs at Reuters.  Ghostly statues planted at St. George's Church in Lukova, Czech Republic by artist Jakub Hadrava.  I might be off, but Hadrava could be a Slayer fan. 

All images courtesy of Reuters

                            Listenin' to:  Killing Joke - MMXII

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bro Science Life

Dom Mazzetti is reportedly a former fitness trainer turned comedian.  His online video series "Bro Science Life" is a sensation at YouTube. 

As I've dedicated most of my year at the gym getting into shape, I've found Dom's videos to be a freaking riot and occasionally on-the-mark.  For some hard-hitting, knuckleheaded satire, check out "10 Machines You Didn't Know Were Bicep Machines" and subscribe if you're so inclined. 

Also recommended are "How to Skip Leg Day," "What Your Gym Gear Says About You," "How to Get Your Girlfriend to Start Lifting," "Locker Room Etiquette," "People You Hate at the Gym," "Rookie Mistakes in the Gym," "Do You Even Lift?" and "What is Crossfit?"

As Slappy Squirrel would say, now that's comedy.

                 Listenin' to:  Motorhead - Another Perfect Day

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ah, the Amazing World of Lego

If you like gamble...hit me with the rest, boys. 

                      Listenin' to:  Motorhead - Ace of Spades

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"Holy Creative Team Changes..." by Ray at ReadWave Comic Books

Here's a new piece by me over at ReadWave Comic Books, a quick commentary on the trend of writer and artist changes in comics.

Have a gander through this portal:


                             Listenin' to:  AC/DC - High Voltage