Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Hobnobbin'

I've got to make this quick since I have some last-minute Halloween preparations to make. Some of you might be a little baffled as to why I chose to post a video of someone in a silly costume singing a cover of a Frank Zappa song, but I hope that the message at the end makes it all clear.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sven Update

Quick news - after contacting FuzzyMemories.TV and Svengoolie, the below link to 'Svengoolie - It Came From Berwyn!!' is sort-of-okay. Not to cause any trouble, hurt feelings or lawsuits, the link will be up until November 1st. So you have until Halloween to Trick-or-Treat the link. After that, it'll come down and you'll just have to egg your computer screen (instead of my house.)

Terror T.R.A.X.

Back in the early 90's, the company behind "Dungeons & Dragons" created a line of "Choose Your Own Adventure"-type audio CDs called "Terror T.R.A.X." The idea behind them was that you were an operative for a secret organization (Trace, Research, Analyze and eXterminate) that investigates 911 calls involving the paranormal and that you'd switch audio tracks on the CD instead of turning pages in a book. According to this site, the concept only lasted for four CDs, a PC game remake of "Track of the Vampire," and a proposed (but never made) TV movie. As from an unofficial fan-made game called "Track of the Undead," the series was largely forgotten since then. At least, until Noah "Spoony" Antwiler did some laugh-out-loud hilarious video reviews of "Track of the Vampire" and "Track of the Werewolf":

The reviews had to get split into multiple parts on Youtube, but you can find the original, full length reviews at the review section of his website, The Spoony Experiment. As a special added bonus, here's the opening movie for the Terror T.R.A.X. PC game:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It Came from....BERWYN?!!!

(Son of) Svengoolie

WCIU- the U!
Fuzzy Memories.TV

It seemed to lessen a bit, but the Halloween spirit has come back to kick me in the eye socket. With a black eye of live, I'm back to rocking Halloween spirit; seems appropriate, being as we're two days until the big day. I figured to avoid another orbital fracture, I'd give a treat to those of you who keep coming back here.

[edit Nov.1 - all gone. Happy Halloween! See you next year.]

Taking up the mantle of Svengoolie originally, Jerry Bishop passed the title to Richard Koz who took the name 'Son of Svengoolie' during his initial run on Chicago television. After a near-thirty year career, Koz's character is referred to as Svengoolie. Along with musical partner Doug Graves, Tombstone the talking skull and a barrage of rubber chickens, Svengoolie is still on today despite a period of being off the air (allowing for a spin-off, the "Koz Zone." 'Koz' rhymes with 'nose.')

Two years ago, thanks to a random passing-by of an odd YouTube video, I found Svengoolie. Not having the pleasure to grow up in Chicago during the seventies/eighties of the first round, I'm glad that technology allows for access of some of the classic Sven clips. Most of them have left YouTube and gone over to FuzzyMemories, the official home for old Chicago TV.

What the above link, the 'Trick or Link,' is to a compilation of audio bits taken from Fuzzy Memories. The sound quality is a bit rancid, I'll admit, but if you are someone who can listen to pops and crackles on a record player, then you won't mind. 'It Came from Berwyn' features a few songs from the original Svengoolie, since I think they were funny. Hopefully, this won't be the Mary Jane equivalent of your Halloween downloads; perhaps one of those strange candy skeletons in the oddly colored box, with the candy not tasting all that great but the experience not lessened for it.

This is sexy?

Mondo Schlocko has a great, two-part look at some supposedly "sexy" Halloween costumes for women. There's actually an even goofier "Sexy Freddy Krueger" costume out there, but I don't know if it's available to the general public.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Printable Halloween Décor II

For those of you not satisfied by my previous forays into printable decorations, check these out:

The Monster Maze has several printable warning signs that'd look great in any mad scientist-related display.

On a related note, and Safety Sign Builder let you make customized warning signs that you can print out for free. However, Safety Sign Builder seems to require you to sign up on their site before they'll let you print anything.

Hewlett-Packard's crafts section has some Halloween decorations for doorbells, along with the usual assortment of printable masks and Halloween cards. has an interesting way of making a printable magic wand. However, unlike the other projects shown in this post, this one requires use of a glue gun and some painting.

MadHaus Creative used to have great tutorials about making a head in a jar and a tube full of eyeballs using printouts, but they've recently been removed. The reason for this is because some jerk had the nerve to steal stuff from the website, burn it onto a DVD-R, and tried selling it on ebay as if he created it all. I'm planning on writing an e-mail to that site's webmaster to show my support in the near future and I hope that anyone reading this does the same. Hopefully, this will get him to bring those tutorials back. As always, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting or downloading from any links on those sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). Attempt at your own risk.

Halloween How (not) To

Here's a bizarre, creepy, and definitely NSFW tutorial on making a female troll figure for Halloween. THRILL! at a man smoking and yelling at his dog! CHILL! at repeated use of the phrase "troll titties" and at the thought of what he'll do with the finished troll!

Back when I first saw this on, there was much debate over whether this was actually serious or if it was just an elaborate parody. Judging from his other videos, this seems to be real. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Monday, October 27, 2008

From Denmark, with Love: HorrorPops


Hell Yeah!, Hellcat 2004
Bring It On!, Hellcat 2005
Kiss Kiss Kill Kill, Hellcat 2008

I wrote a review of the Horrorpops release 'Kiss Kiss Kill Kill' which came out last February. I said it was an enjoyable record that showed the band's progression and experimentation with sounds outside their rockabilly origins. The record has aged well in the past months and makes for a nice addition to the everyday play list. Halloween-wise, the HorrorPops have been on the outs with the spooky for a while.

The band is made up of Patricia Day, Kim Nekroman and Niedermeier. Nekroman is the frontman of Nekromantix, one of the bigger psychobilly bands out there. There's plenty of spooky, on tattooes and in history, so it's not as if the HorrorPops are SpookyReformed(tm). It's a case, I think, of not wanting to eat tuna fish every day. Having committed themselves to Spooky enough, the band is willing to branch out, always loyal to their old interests but strong enough to entertain new ones.

What I didn't mention in the review was that I found out about the Horropops back in 2004 from watching 'Punk Rock Holocaust,' bought used during an long afternoon spent at Last Vestige. 'Punk Rock Holocaust' is one of those 'son of Troma' movies, where young cinematic fanatics, after spending their fledgling periods under the guide of Lloyd Kaufman and co., head out into the unknown, dangerous world of independent cinema. Other films in this category include 'Killjoy 2,' 'Die You Zombie Bastards!' and the 2002's 'Scooby Doo.'

'Punk Rock Holocaust' is a nice slasher that introduced me to both the HorrorPops and the Phenomenauts. It also features half of Simple Plan and the Used getting killed off by a masked punk. Lloyd Kaufman has a role in it as Satan. What more could you want?

At first, the HorrorPops didn't really click with me but over time, and finding both their albums used, I became a reluctant fan. Why should I be hesitant to be a fan of the HorrorPops? I think it's not just them, but all psychobilly/rockabilly bands. The upright bass is an instrument with presence. It's hard to form a sound around it. It's such an all-encompassing instrument, like the steel guitar or the farfisa organ, that it's quite easy to sound just like any other band while using it. It's a sound with such a distinct personality that it doesn't take much for it to override any other aspect of the band.

I remember around 2004/05, the HorrorPops were apologetically 'not a psychobilly band' on their website. I think they were prepping their fans who, after becoming enamored by the 'Hell Yeah' release, would be in a shock for the deviating themes on 'Bring It On.' There was less about zombies, monsters and skulls and more about broken love, getting drunk and the redeeming power of being in a strong friendship. Sure, there was 'Walk Like a Zombie,' but I see now that song was more included for it being a do-wop number than a zombie song.

With 'Kiss Kiss Kill Kill,' the band progressed far enough away from the rock/psycho campgrounds with songs that were similar to ska, do-wop, 80's goth-pop (Peter Murphy, Sisters of Mercy, that kind of thing.) There was some rockabilly with the first single, 'Heading for the Disco,' but it fit in with the rest of the album as a tribute to the group's musical influences. In the review, I said it was a display of growth in both music and subject matter, as songs addressed social unrest in the band's native land of Denmark ("Boot2Boot") and some of the problems of being a woman in a genre/scene that's male dominated ("MissFit").

They're a popular band - popular meaning that you can probably find their CDs in stores - and I would check them out if they come by.

Munster Mash

According to this site, Alice Cooper is hosting WGN's 16 episode marathon of The Munsters from 4:00 pm to midnight (Eastern standard time) on Halloween. For those of you on the West coast, the marathon will run from 1:00 pm - 9:00 pm. This will be followed by a half-hour special about the making of Alice Cooper's "Along Came a Spider" album.

Please check your local listings to see if you get WGN in your area.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Graphic Displays of Halloween

For my debut at Gravediggers Local 16, I wanted to post something Canadian.  After all, I am from the land of the Wendigo and poorly-produced shows about the Wendigo.  Today I'm linking to something far more evil: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!

Yeah, I know, I hate when people post things like "the impending global recession is far scarier than a werewolf."  I should punch myself.

This story, taken from a CBC Vancouver news broadcast a year ago, concerns fashion store Mintage's "controversial" window display, with mannequins either in bondage or dismembered:

I must say I am offended at the window display...for being so boring.  Mannequins do not make for exciting window displays, I don't care how they're dressed up.

The YouTube description mentions a "Dead Baby," which is not in evidence here.  This is more offensive than the Halloween display, not that I know what a mannequin with taped-up nipples and a gas mask is supposed to represent.

Here is a more recent story from CBC Vancouver about age-inappropriate costumes.  There is video from the website, which the CBCtv YouTube channel duplicates for some reason.

There is an instance in the story where the "Ladybug" costume is shown:

That's some "ladybug."  The butterfly wings and the half-assed placement of dots on the costume just kill me.

More fun is had when the camera turns to Donna Dobo, the owner of Just Imagine Fun Clothing and the focal point of this news item.  I can't vouch for how responsible she is running her business, although she did take this down for being too racy.

I do question the zebra-stripe shawl she's wearing:

I just can't see that being part of a pimp, errr, "big daddy" costume.  At least she's not wearing a wide-brimmed hat or holding a diamond-tipped cane.

To round out this first post, here's an article from the Truro Daily News about popular Halloween costumes.  Thanks to The Tudors, which the Daily News misidentifies, King Henry VIII costumes are big this year.  As if Halloween needs more pimps, errr, "big daddies."

Chick or Treat!

Jack Chick, that is. For those not in the know, Mr. Chick is infamous for creating little illustrated booklets (popularly known as "Chick tracts") that claim you'll go to Hell if you don't follow his particular interpretation of Christianity. If you go to his website, which I'm not linking to for obvious reasons, you'll even see that he advises passing out his tracts with candy on Halloween in order to "save" children from the holiday. has done several examinations of Chick's work that humorously and informatively tear apart the numerous flaws in his arguments, storylines, and artwork in a NSFW manner. I especially love the dissections of the Halloween-themed tracts, the first of which is called "Here, Kitty Kitty!" and deals with evil knock-offs of the Peanuts gang who want to sacrifice a cat on Halloween.

The next tract is "The Devil's Night" and Chick's terrible research skills are glaring in this one. Not only does he completely botch the spelling of "Samhain," but he also fails to realize that pumpkins weren't even used the way he claims they were back then. If Mr. Chick can't even get those simple details correct, why should he expect anyone to believe any of the other "facts" in his work?

The final one is called "Boo!", a failed attempt at a horror movie parody. It's slightly more accurate than "The Devil's Night," but it still provides a wildly inaccurate take on the origins of Halloween. I've heard that Jack Chick recently released another Halloween-themed tract and I can only hope it gets the Enterthejabberwock treatment sometime soon.

UPDATE: The dissection of the newest Halloween tract is now up. "First Bite" is Jack Chick's attempt at a campy vampire story. As you can imagine, the results aren't pretty.


A little something different here.

Yesterday, I and a few friend of mine went out to a pumpkin patch to pick up some potential Jack-o-lanterns. About twelve bucks and thirty minutes later, I had a pair of pumpkins and was ready to head to the carving table.

My friends had picked up a couple kits with some stencils. The kit was okay for costing four bucks but if I ever decide to be serious about carving the fuck out of a pumpkin (or any other gourd/melon, depending on the time of year) I would search down for a better kit.

What a foolish hand and a serrated edge, I was able to carve a design in the pumpkin I had named 'Gourdon.'

If you recognize the design, I skipped over the windows of the haunted house and the pair of bats that were flying from it, a decision done out of growing impatience more than aesthetic reasons. I had suspicion that it wouldn't matter, because Gourdon's top was rotted away and there was evidence of more rot around the pumpkin's top. While my friends were lifting their pumpkins out of the patch by the stem, I had avoided doing that and IN doing that, completely missed the clear evidence that Gourdon was a bad pumpkin.

The carving was fun, hanging with friends was fun. I had brought some music that made everyone laugh. Overall, it was a good day and that's what Halloween is about - doing odd things with your friends. Life is a bit monotonous unless you have holidays where you can dress up and act a little different. Getting some candy for your troubles is a little bit of a physical reward, but when you get older, the act itself is worth more than any bite-sized Snickers bar.

I keep that appreciation for the moment in mind because Gourdon didn't last the night. We're having some unusually warm weather here. Warm weather is DEATH for pumpkins, especially those with thin line designs like Gourdon's. Maybe if Gourdon wasn't rotten, he would have made it to Halloween but the gross mash that was around his top had spread all around. The house fell in on itself and I had to chuck the pumpkin.

I see it as a metaphor for life. I was careless in initial choice, regretful for discovering my oversight, overambitious in my designs and impatient when my intentions didn't come naturally. Because of a lack of knowledge and poor decisions made, the project failed. But out of failure came a lesson to learn and an appreciation for those moments shared with friends. It's better to carve and lost then never to pumpkin at all.

If you're reading, let us know you're here. Leave a comment about your own pumpkin carvings, the ones you successfully did or ones that fell apart under the weight of your own genius.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Horror Nights discount

If you're a member of Coca-Cola's rewards program (or are willing to sign up) and are planning on going to Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights in California, click this link. If that doesn't work, go to and type "halloween" into the search bar. When you get the search results, click on the one that costs 0 points called "Save up to $20 to Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights" and follow the instructions to get your discount.

Sadly, this offer doesn't seem to apply with the Universal Studios location in Orlando, which also offers Halloween Horror Nights. Offer expires November 1, 2008.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Man, forget these guys. If someone whips out a Mannhein Steamroller CD at your next party, be it Christmas or Halloween, then you know that person is NOT YOUR FRIEND.

(and fuck Universal music group for disabling embedding.)

We're hitting the home-stretch towards Halloween. I'm spending the night with Monster Madhouse and a bunch of candy that needs to be bagged for next weekend. Tomorrow is a Pumpkin Carving Party. I need some suggestions as to what to carve up this year. I'm trying to avoid, not because of their stencils. In fact, I'm quite amazed at the variety and think it's a good investment if you want to have Freddy, Jason or any Tim Burton creation on your doorstep this year.

I'm avoiding it because there's also a place for diy-pumpkin designs. Plus, they don't have Lon Chaney from London After Midnight, who would make a good spokesperson for the Union.

Speaking of which, we're going to keep this whole deal going after the Holiday is over. There's the dead period between Halloween and Christmas (Thanksgiving, or the 'Holiday of Pain and Turkey.') If you have any suggestions as to what you would like to see on this spot of the internet, hit up the Front Office. We're going to try to have a contest in a week or so, and audience participation is appreciated.

Harvest of Horrors

Location: Tony Andrews Farm, 394 Old Meeting House, East Falmouth, MA (Directions)
Dates/times: Oct. 17, 18, 24, 25, 31, and Nov. 1, 6:30 to 9:00 PM
Admission: $10 per person; credit cards not accepted.
Phone: (508) 563-3378

Starting in 1979 as a maze with craft paper walls, the Harvest of Horrors eventually rose to become Cape Cod's premiere haunted attraction. So when I visited this attraction back in 2000, I was quite excited based on its reputation. Unfortunately, my visit occurred when they were doing a look back at the history of the Harvest. The problem was that a large portion of the attraction was merely old props and promotional material in display cases, with only a few scares towards the middle and end.

Although seeing stuff from their old days was quite interesting, it wasn't what I was expecting. I thought I'd be going to a full haunted house, seeing as all the advertisements only noted the new "Furnace of Fear" part. I would have liked it better if the retrospective was a separate attraction, but I suspect that they didn't have the space available for that.

Getting back the scares, they were mostly variations of people jumping out and yelling. That said, the "monsters" had very good makeup jobs and were well prepared for calming scared children while in character. Also, the set design for the final "Furnace of Fear" room was very impressive. The best part by far was the stage show that preceded the haunted house. Although it is possible to skip the stage show and go directly through the haunt, this is highly unadvised. The dialogue and performances were hilarious and the pyrotechnics were spectacular. The show changes every year and the one I saw dealt with the Showman and his dimwitted assistant Shredder dealing with Pyro, an insane handyman (with designs on the Showman's job) who they hired to fix the Furnace of Fear.

When I had originally exited the Harvest of Horrors, I was much more negative about the experience until I learned about the small number of people who operate it. With that in mind and knowing that I wasn't visiting during the Harvest's usual setup, I was able to give a more balanced rating. Thankfully, the staff seems to have increased since then. Not only that, but the commercial on their website and the comments on "Nye Manor" seems to imply that the Harvest has grown larger since my 2000 visit. If you have the chance and you're in the area, you should check it out. If nothing else, you'll have a blast watching the show.

I should also note that there's a toned-down, "Kids Fest" version of this haunted house open during the daytime. According to the website, this version is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm starting the first weekend of October and tickets are $2.00 per person.

Final verdict: 3 skulls out of 5

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Zombie Bongo Limbo

You might be interested to know that this song was (mostly) written by James Lileks back in 2007. You can hear more songs by the guy who performed this by clicking here.

Local Ghoul Makes Good

Blase Debris


I lived around the Albany, New York region for some-three years. I like Albany. If there was more there for me, I wouldn't mind living there. But the job prospects sucked and it had the strange cultural live of a town that might be pretty cool, maybe if more bands came by, maybe not. If you're planning to go to RPI in Troy or Union in Schenectady or even U of Albany, you won't be stuck in some backwater. There will be something for you to do.

Albany hosts one of the best used music shops I've been in, ever. Last Vestige is a good example of how the independent music store can adapt in order to survive in a world of and iTunes. Knowing it's audience, college students, Last Vestige deals mainly in used vinyl but also in CDs, tapes and the occasional piece of music memorbilia. I was able to find both '3 Hits from Hell' by the Crimson Ghosts and the Minutemen's 'Paranoid Times' there. I also found Blase Debris and Duane "Pinebox" Beers.

Blase Debris is Duane's band. Duane worked at Last Vestige. He, like most of the staff at Last Vestige, was friend and talked to anyone about anything. He's a friendly guy who looks like a survivor of the original Misfits, which isn't that far since he used to be in a Misfits cover band. Blase Debris isn't a Misfits knock off. It's a horror punk, but it's got its own sound. It was hard for me to hear the scratchy voice of the clerk behind the counter where I would pick up choice used CDs switch it up and get this more looping, deep in the throat singing voice.

If you're in the Albany area, stop by Last Vestige. You'll be able to pick up a Blase Debris release direct from the source. It would be like buying Misfits gear from Lordi, NJ or catching a Black Flag show in LA. Except you won't be in New Jersey and have less chance of having your head kicked in.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Little Monsters 1-900 number

Remember the movie Little Monsters? You know, the one about the kid who befriends a monster living under his bed that starred Fred Savage and Howie Mandel? Anyway, I was surprised to learn that it had a tie-in contest that one could enter by calling a 1-900 number. Said contest was promoting using a mind-searingly awful ad:

According to this Wikipedia article, complaints by parent groups in the mid 90's stopped these sorts of ads from being targeted at children. Thanks to those brave souls, we no longer have to fear Saved by the Bell-wannabe graphics and poorly-sung rap.

Cold War, Warm Hearts

Messer Chups

Official Site

Buy their stuff here.

Can't recall where or when I came into the Messer Chups. It was a chance meeting with an illegal method but since they still have the mystery of international espionage and that sexy, sexy accent, I think it's appropriate. If you can afford to, don't go with illegal on these guys. They're a duo from St. Petersburg, Russia and their releases flirt lovingly with spooky themes and surf music. I'd love to have them come over and visit and make some cash on the side. It's time to repair our relationship with Russia and if you go out and buy a Messer Chups cd for Halloween, I think we can do it.

Being from Russia, they had a shitty distribution set up in the States until recently, but it seems AeroCCCP will now hook you up. My favorite of their albums is 'Black Black Magic.' Something about listening to that makes it feel like autumn.

The band translates into 'Measuring Cups,' which is cute and slightly absurd, but because they're talented, intelligent and fun, it all makes sense to me.

AeroCCCP has a YouTube channel where you can preview more of these guys. I would check it out and see what you like. They get a little experimental sometimes. On 'Black Black Magic' and "Crazy Price,' Lydia Kavina, the grand-niece of Léon Theremin, joined the band on the instrument her great-uncle invented. Some of the songs might sound caustic at first but give them a shot. Send your love to Russia.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's Alive! Frankie Stein and his Ghouls

Frankie Stein and his Ghouls

A couple years ago, Scar Stuff introduced me to Frankie Stein and His Ghouls, a band that put out four vinyl releases of instro-horror-surf-frug-goodness that has been in my rotation ever since. A lot of it is really nice late-fifties inspired music meant for people to dance to. Frug. Twist. Stomp. It's fun. It's one of those early bits of evidence for how well horror and surf go together, and it would be nice if there was a Frankie revival band to pick up where this one left off.

Someone else has done some research into who exactly was Frankie, and I would check it out for more information. Though Scar Stuff has gone defunct this year, there are other places where you can find the out-of-print LPs. I'm all for preservation in this case. If the band was still touring and making some dough that way, you'd be a rat fink to be swiping that music. But this is, in my opinion, a more humanitarian case. Find some Fankie. Crankie that Frankie and hav some fun.

Though, seems a couple were digitally remastered, though you can try your own luck with that.

It's time to meet the Muppets...

Not only has the fansite spent a week with Halloween-related Muppets stuff, but they also have an semi-annual "Halloween Parade" of Muppet costumes:

First Halloween parade
Second Halloween parade
Third Halloween parade
Fourth Halloween parade
Fifth Halloween parade

Some are good, some are bad, and others defy description, but the comments are all great. Here's hoping they'll do it again this year.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Barrett's Haunted Mansion

I'd pay to see this movie if it were real.  Seriously.
Location: 1235 Bedford Street (Rte 18) Abington, MA (Directions)
Dates/Times: Sept. 26-27, Oct. 3-4, 10-11, 12-13, 17-31, 7:00 to 10:30 pm
Admission: $17 per person (Credit cards not accepted)
Phone: (781) 871-4573

Although many would assume the best haunted house in Massachusetts would be located in Salem, they're wrong. Based on my late 90's visit, Barrett's Haunted Mansion in Abington deserves the title. Why? Simply put, Barrett's goes above and beyond the call of duty in all aspects of operating a haunted house.

Let's start with something that can be neglected in haunted attractions: Line entertainment. When visiting a popular haunted attractions (house, hayride, etc), there's bound to be a lot of people who want to go through. This leads to long lines and waiting times, which can get really boring really fast. In order to make the waits more tolerable, Barrett's provides outdoor displays (I loved the skeletons in a rowboat) and "monsters" who terrorize those waiting in line. For 2008, they've added a separate attraction that simulates what it's like to be buried alive in a coffin. If it's anything like the "buried alive" simulator described here, it'll also provide entertainment for people waiting in line as well.

The mansion itself is absolutely amazing. They set up a realistic zombie-infested swamp, complete with a shaky bridge, running water, and a shack owned by a deranged redneck...INDOORS. The talented staff and high-quality props will constantly leave you guessing whether or not they're people in costumes waiting to scare you or just inanimate objects. More often than not, you'll guess incorrectly. This is not to say that all the "monsters" just leap out at you or stand still and suddenly come to life, though. The rooms all look great and several of them used creative methods of entering and exiting them. They also offered a great twist on the mirror maze concept that has to be seen in order to be fully appreciated. Also worthy of note are the expert use of lighting effects. Not only do they provide an appropriately dreary atmosphere, but they were also used to enhance certain scares. I especially liked the twist they put on the standard "dark maze"-style room. Plus they even give you candy when you exit the haunt. What's not to love?

Barrett's Haunted Mansion changes the rooms every year, although my casual research on the matter seems to indicate that selected rooms reappear every year or so. So while I can't be sure that you'll have the exact same experience that I had if you visit, but I can be sure that you'll have a great time. I'd imagine that some of you are balking at the ticket price, but trust me, it's worth every penny. Besides, you can knock five dollars off the price of a ticket if you use this coupon (Only good Sunday through Thursday; discount doesn't apply to the "Buried Alive" attraction).

Final verdict: 5 skulls out of 5

Special thanks to Barrett's Haunted Mansion for use of the picture.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Give me some light!


The first thing taken from Richard Scrivani's 'Goodnight, Whatever You Are' is a sincere appreciation for both the classic horror films of his youth and the television host who made them a little less scary and a little more fun. That admiration is undeniable throughout his chronicle of his life alongside John "Zacherley" Zacherle.

While not a strict biography of the horror host, 'Goodnight, Whatever You Are' gives a first hand telling of Zachereley's experiences early on as an regular actor before adopting the 'Roland' undertaker role that would morph into 'Zacherley.'

Working with full cooperation from the 'Cool Ghoul' himself, Scrivani recounts both Zacherele's experiences establishing him into Philidelphia television, which lead him from
hosting 'Shock Theater' to his tenure on New York's 'Disc O-Teen,' a show that featured both The Lovin' Spoonful and the Doors.

Coming into this book thinking it was a biography of the famed horror host left me a bit surprised to see Scrivani use his experience as a foil. But as earlier stated, it becomes aptly appropriate considering the subject. Scrivani notes that Zacherley is a private man, and details about family life in the Zacherle household are scant. One of the few pre-Zacherely pictures in the book shows the host in his uniform when he was in World War II.

The display of reservation is visible in one scene, where Scrivani invites a friend of his to visit the Disc O-Teen set. Scrivani's excited for friend to meet Zach. While Zacherle is courteous to everyone, he only shows interest when he finds out he friend is a merchant marine on home leave. It's an instance that stands out where John Zacherle overshadowed his bigger persona.
However, Zacherley never comes off as a rock star. Scrivani goes to show Zach as a down to earth, grateful for the fans man who never let his position go to his head.

Scrivani relates with strong detail the experience of growing up with the Cool Ghoul, giving a good picture of the Disc O-Teen regulars as well as those involved behind the camera. Those looking for complete biography will have to settle for the space left between themselves and the television screen.

Dracula's Castle

I bid you velcome...

Location: 59 Wharf Street, Salem, MA (Directions)
Dates/Times: October 1-31, 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm
Admission: $8 per adult, $6 per child under age 12.
Phone: (978) 745-5888

Dracula's Castle was first haunted attraction I went through when visiting Salem in the late 90's. With that in mind, my rating for this haunted house only applies to my original visit, as I as sadly unable to visit it this year. The haunt has changed since then, so please use my old visit to gauge whether or not you should check it out.

Unlike at some haunted houses, the monsters at Dracula's Castle don't simply jump out of dark corners and yell "Boo!" Instead, they'll charge at you, block your path, and some of them relentlessly pursue you throughout the haunt. Although I've heard horror stories of haunts where you'd catch the "monsters" in obvious hiding spots or having conversations with their masks off, that was not the case at here. The employees all stayed in character and were always prepared.

Dracula's Castle also goes the extra mile by utilizing other types of scare tactics, such as misdirection and psychological-based scares. Although I enjoyed the ones involving misdirection (my favorite use of this involved spikes), I wasn't impressed by the attempt at a psychological scare by having disembodied voices call out your name. This effect was hampered by the fact that you'd be asked your name immediately before the voices began, making the whole thing quite obvious (and resulted in my deducting half a skull from the rating). In my opinion, it would have been better if they had tried to get peoples' names in a less obvious manner, like having the ticket seller secretly gather the names and send them to the "monsters" shortly after customers enter the castle. However, I've been assured that this is no longer done at Dracula's Castle, which means my sole complaint about my 90's visit would not apply to the attraction this year.

The props and set design were all very well-done; I was particularly impressed by the detail in the graveyard scene. There were some rather interesting touches in the layout of the haunt, such as placing a levitating vampiress in a spot that your eyes are drawn to or having to duck under sections of a cave. These, and the different types of scares, all combine to form a unique experience. Speaking of unique experiences, Dracula's Castle changes its setup and scares ever year.

Interestingly enough, I learned that Dracula's Castle was briefly renamed the Nightmare Factory a few years ago. Now it's back to its original name and the owner has opened another haunt using the Nightmare Factory name. I mention this because both attractions (along with two other attractions) are part of the "Witch City Adventure Pass" program, in which you can buy a ticket ($24 for adult or $16 for a child under age 12) that grants you access to Dracula's Castle, The Nightmare Factory, Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery, and The Witches Cottage. That roughly breaks down to paying the standard admission price for three attractions and visiting the fourth for free. For more information about obtaining the pass, please call any of the previously named attractions or ask the ticket-sellers for more information.

Final verdict: 4.5 skulls out of 5

Special thanks to Dracula's Castle for allowing use of the picture.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Gremlins Return...Again!

While browsing the Halloween countdown at the blog, "Lost in Schlock," I found a link to a fan-made film showing the Gremlins interrupting a "video on demand" (VOD) showing of Gremlins 2: The New Batch. You see, the theatrical version of that movie had a segment where the Gremlins took over the projection booth of the theater and stopped the movie. Then Hulk Hogan showed up to stop them so the film could continue. For the home video version, they replaced that with a bit where it looked like your VCR was messing up due to the Gremlins. Instead of Hogan showing up again, John Wayne had to make them knock it off. So the idea behind the fan film is what would happen if Warner Brothers took the same approach when preparing the film for VOD showings. You can see the video, along with a behind-the-scenes video, here.

I've also discovered that, according to the Gremlins novelization, the Mogwai/Gremlins were genetically engineered by aliens! This site offers more details on the matter.

But wait, it gets weirder! In Germany, there's a Gremlins ride that features guest appearances by Alf. Yes, that Alf. I rank it right up there with Hello Kitty's appearance in a Godzilla motion simulator ride.

Savage and Looney

Screaming Lord Sutch

Another well-known unknown to me, David Sutch is in the history books for his political career as well as his music. He featured lo-fi horror show antics, involving making an entrance out of a coffin, alluring female audience members to the front of the stage with a handsome member of his band only so that he could drop maggots down their shirts, and bashing the head in of a monk with a rubber club.

The Guinness Book of Records lists him as standing for British Parliment more times than anyone. His party, the Official Monster Raving Looney Party, defeated the much more serious Social Democrats in 1990.

David Sutch would take his life in 1999. It's sad. With the recent lo-fi revival going on, I think Lord Sutch and the Savages have aged well. Though, a supposed 1998 poll named his first album the worst of all time, but this is the British. They said Oasis wrote the best album of all time. They can't be trusted.

He has two books out - one, an autobiography 'Life as Sutch' and a second, written about him by a close friend, 'The Man Who was Screaming Lord Sutch' by Graham Sharpe. You can find the latter on Amazon, but it'll take a search to find his former. Wiki lists it as being 'recalled' but I got a copy. Good read, so far. More concerned with his politics than his horror business, but from reading it, David Sutch always had a political mind. He claims that he met Winston Churchill and the Prime Minister used his cigar to give the young David a scar on the what would become the boy's voting hand.

Horror and politics being connected makes sense. Both are show business and usually involve romanticizing wicked people into thinking that they're misguided. 'I love the monster,' et al.

Think of Sutch during this Halloween season. His song 'Jack the Ripper,' presumably his biggest hit, is a nice one but songs like 'Dracula's Daughter' and 'All Black and Hairy' are good additions to this year's soundtrack.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Half pint of snakebite.

A quick pre-review preview.

I've noticed that the main problem with with writing a biography, or any non-fiction, is the separation of author from the subject, specifically maintaining that distance so the biography remains impartial and in such, pure. When the author and the subject are intertwined, the bias is unavoidable. It's impossible for one of the characters of the story to judge whether or not the entire account is told, since they're partial to their own side.

'Goodnight, Whatever You Are,' the official John 'Zacherley' Zacherle book, written by Richard Scrivani and published by Dinoship Press. A third-of-the way in so far and I've noticed that this isn't a straight up biography of the former horror host. The book's biline, "My Journey with Zacherley, the Cool Ghoul" aptly sums the book up. Zacherle gave total cooperation and the book does provide a good visual history of the Cool Ghoul from start to the near present.

It doesn't start with Zacherle's birth. In fact, the earliest we see of him is a picture of him during his WWII period. But we do know of Richard Scrivani growing up with Zacherley on television and the author's love of monster movies. I don't know much of Zach's father but I do know that Richard Scrivani's father passed away due to cancer. It's probably in the book, which I haven't even finished yet. I'd make a poor reviewer for the New York Times.

It's a good dynamic between author and subject, with the distance between the reader and the subject created with the author acting as a filter. Or, to put it simply, because Richard Scrivani has a natural distance between him and Zacherley, that distance is reproduced in his biography. The distance between him as a television viewer and Zacherley's program is in this book. It's kind of frustrating because I want to see the screen but I have to shout 'DOWN IN FRONT.'

But, as I said, only a third through. It's a pretty fun read. You can find a copy here or on Amazon.

The Gremlins Return!

Although it's not a third Gremlins movie, fans of the franchise will be interested to learn that the Gremlins appeared in a 2008 TV ad for British Telecom. The special effects are 100% "old school" puppets and no CGI appears to have been used. You can check it out here.

Wikipedia claims that "[a] 'Gremlins consultant' was brought in to assist with the BT Gremlins commercial. Matthew Delieu who is considered to be the movies biggest fan provided original Gremlins blueprints and an original puppet during the production of the commercial and also puppeteered Gremlins in the 50 second advertisement. Delieu lives in the UK and owns many original items from the first movie including some original blueprints for Gizmo and original puppet designs."

Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time the Gremlins have appeared in an advertisement not related to the films or merchandise. Back in the 80's, Gizmo and co. showed up in a public service announcement about drunk driving. You can find out more at this site.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Visiting Godzilla Island

Godzilla Island was a Japanese tv series about Godzilla and other monsters battling invaders from Planet X that ran from 1997-1998. What makes this show so interesting is how each episode was only three minutes long and that most of the monster scenes used toys being moved around. Okay, technically they were figures made from the molds of various Godzilla-related toys, but I think you get the point. From what I understand, the show was apparently intended for children to watch before heading off to school (and to advertise Bandai Godzilla figures). has several episode reviews, complete with screencaps and video clips. You can check out a look at the first story arc here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Graveyard Smash

Bobby 'Boris' Pickett

A grand Halloween favorite, 'the Monster Mash,' created by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett. Two versions here, one with John 'Zacherley' Zacharele and one in color back in the heyday. In addition, some Mr. Show.

Looking for horror flicks?

Latenight Wingman has you covered with its list of horror movies playing on cable this month.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Is All

Screamin' Jay Hawkins
"I learned all about roots from living in the forest without no blanket and no food. I learned how to eat certain bark, plants, and flowers, how to get certain stones out of ponds and rivers and make rock soup and how to cure pains and cuts with certain plant - strictly old home remedies. If my Blackfoot Indian mother was from Africa, you would call her a witch doctor; if she was from New Orleans, you'd call her a voodoo priestess. I just put it to music."
Discography here.

I get a lot of my
info from biographies. Books fill my shelves with the lives of people I should know about, dead people who existed before me. These are history books to me -- books about punk rockers and writers, about bomb builders and mutants. It's sad that there's not a book about Screamin' Jay Hawkins, that I know of, but thankfully someone has an extensive site up that does more than his Wikipedia entry. He's known for three hits, mostly 'I Put a Spell On You,' though I admittedly don't know much more about him.

There's something about Screamin' Jay Hawkins that makes him seem important to our current affairs in the Horror Business. He started to do his act back in the mid-fifties, thirteen years before Alice and thirty years before the Misfits. He's dubbed as the 'orginal shock-rocker' but that's such a weak brand to put on him.

Screamin' Jay, born in Cleavland, given up as a child and raised by Blackfoot Indians, boxing his way into World War II at age 14 and becoming a champion of Alaska, turning to music and from that, bringing coffins, snakes and canibals to showbizness. Aligator wine. Feast of the Mau Mau. He was singing about horror and spooky before everyone else. Rocket From the Crypt dressed up like him for their final appearance because they wanted to go out as kings. Screamin' Jay was a king. He wasn't a shock rocker. 'Shock' implies a lack of 'substance,' a firework or a loud noise that burns away with little or nothing remaining. What of Jay Hawkins? Is he forgotten? I don't know. I would hope not. There's parts of him I want to know about that aren't clear.

The site writes this:

The time until 1962 includes a prison sentence of 22 months for whatever reason...
22 months of prison for whatever reason? FUCK.
1984 -Before a Boston show he tells the Boston Herald, "I am going to reach into ... [spectators'] chests, grab their hearts, fumble with their emotions, and have them walking sideways and eating chop suey with chopsticks out of their ear[s] while wearing a gas mask."
Jay's been dead for eight years now. His death was overshadowed by Tom Landry and Charles Schultz. I think that's an example how comic strips and football made everyone look past the dead wild man. I want to think there's a good amount of people out there that know about him and could answer my questions, write his story down in a book. I think he needs something like that. I'm also talking without knowing, which makes me a fool.



This amazing Frankenberry picture was drawn by Mark Poutenis, creator of the "The Thinking Ape Blues" and these awesome costumes.

Special thanks to Mark Poutenis for allowing use this picture.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Vintage Halloween Insanity

Here's a scanned article from a 1934 issue of Modern Mechanix called "Thrills and Chills for your Hallowe'en Party." Emphasis on "chills," because there's no way you could get away with 99% percent of those ideas without getting roped into a personal injury lawsuit.

Go Ask Alice

Alice Cooper

Discography here.

Next year marks forty-years since the first Alice Cooper album, which makes him a prime candidate to kick off a Blood of Your Father's theme for a couple of days. Alice Cooper, in music and performance, has been a stalwart of spooky for over four decades.

We don't need to go much into Alice Cooper's life - he was born Vincent Furnier in Detroit, moved to Phoenix, started a group and got signed to Frank Zappa's label. After hits with 'I'm Eighteen' and 'School's Out,' his career took off and got out of hand where his alcoholism nearly killed him. He's sobered up, learned to play golf (and got a good score) and he currently performs, records and hosts his own syndicated radio show. There's a lot of biographical information you can find about Alice. If you want to get that back issue of Rue Morgue with the piss-poor write up of the great 'Earth E.P.' I talked about, it's got Alice on the cover and you can get a crash course in the man. Or find the VH1 'Behind the Music' somewhere on YouTube.

Music wise, Alice has never been pigeonholed. He's always been refining himself with the passing of time. Listening to his seventies albums is as efficient as any time machine. Same goes with his releases for the eighties and the nineties. He's always had that signature voice and songwriting but he's never been confined to a specific decade. Alice has been able to adapt, to change his appearance so he doesn't come off faded or irrelevant. It's probably why he's still performing today with not the jaded dismissal usually reserved for Led Zepplin or The Rolling Stones.

I prefer his earlier albums, though having not heard them all, it's hard to say. He just released a new one and I will give it a listen. Even a bad Alice Cooper album isn't that bad of an experience. I would relate to it as pizza. Pizza and Alice Cooper are rarely so bad that they're inconsumable. I do like 'Man behind the Mask' and not just because it's the theme to 'Friday the 13th VI.' (Careful, that link contains massive amounts of codpiece.)

Though, Vincent Price yesterday sort of started BoYF, which--if you can follow--had Weird Jon lead me to the discussion of 'evil' over at Tough Pigs, which then had me think about what was said of Alice Cooper's appearance on the Muppet Show:
"There's a kind of cheerful teenage nihilistic savagery behind Alice's act -- like he's taking all the fears of mainstream 1970's America and saying, yup, we're gonna destroy everything you hold dear. We'll seduce your daughters and blow up your schools, we'll sell drugs and wear ugly clothes and we don't care what you think about it, because we're beyond your bourgeois rules and laws."
Admittedly, the author (Matt) reads a little too much into the episode. While his write-up is an accurate description of the impressions of Alice Cooper at the time, a zeitgeist of the time when he was considered dangerous, it seems to ignore that such sentiments embodied by Alice were nothing terribly new. Old v. New, young & wild v. tried and established. Blah, blah.

While I think that he read a little too much into the Muppets episodes, I think that's his job. It is, after all, a Muppet site and if he wasn't going hog wild about it, he might as well not try at all. But I think he missed the point. The eighties brought about the sanitation of our media, and that's such a horrible thing. Alice, god bless him, came about before then and was able to plow right through. Sure, he was thought of as a devil and a deviant. But he wasn't the first.

He was taking on a different medium, though. Alice was a horror show rock star, and he had/still has a great show. The man admitted that his whole act was 'vaudeville,' and it's exactly that-vaudeville, a performance. It would also explain why he, along with Vincent Price, appeared on 'The Muppet show.' Imagine any of the shock-rockers of the mid-nineties, and ask if Marilyn Manson, Slipknot or the ilk would show up alongside a felt-puppet and sing? It's a ludicrous thought. Those bands took themselves entirely too seriously, and in that lies their fatal flaw.

Alice has been dangerous, but I don't think he's ever been scary. He's been serious, and he remains talented in my opinion. A man doesn't perform for forty years without a modicum of talent or at least the intelligence to maintain a steady fan-base.

But if not scary, Alice Cooper has, in my opinion, been spooky. His songs like 'I Love the Dead,' 'Teenage Frankenstein' and 'Devil's Food' have captured some of the best spirits of the season. But he's always been there for some fun along with the music. I think you can laugh at an Alice Cooper show. You couldn't laugh at a Manson concert and that's what done him in. For when it's hard to laugh, it's easy to say 'fuck you,' and that's what was said to Manson. I'd be rather distressed to see someone say 'fuck you' to Alice. Why? Because Alice knew the difference between spooky and scary. Scary was alcohol addiction that threatened his life. 'Scary' was buying too heavily into the performance and not maintaining the health of the actor. 'Scary' was taking it too seriously. There were real scary things in life and 'Black Widows' and 'Cold Ethyl' didn't do it - but spouse abuse in 'Only Women Bleed,' well fuck. That is scary. Alice has always been one to point that out and I'm grateful for him.

I think Alice Cooper set a good example for many horror-based musicians and acts to follow. I think the ones starting out today could follow his path as they forge their own. He's a saint, that Alice. God bless him.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Price To Pay

Vincent Price, that is.

Printable Halloween Décor

Economic woes eating up your Halloween budget? If you've got a well-stocked color printer and some glue, then we've got you covered!

If you have a lot of spare time and patience, you might want to try making the "following portraits" of Frankenstein's monster and Dracula available at Frankenpaper.

Haunted Dimensions offers papercraft versions of tombstones and other things associated with Disney's Haunted Mansion.

The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society offers up toe tags, death certificates, and a Miskatonic University diploma that are perfect for haunted houses.

You can spook up any non-digital clocks in your house using the "13 hour clock" images from the Monster Maze or the Ghoul Skool.

The Halloween section of Canon's papercraft site has a small assortment of kid-friendly masks and cards. Those who want more serious decorations can try assembling the realistic papercraft snowy owls (Great for Harry Potter-inspired setups) and a cat that I'm sure can be easily modified into a black cat.

I've saved the best for last: Ravensblight has printable games, masks, paintings, and other cool stuff (like this creepy little fellow). There's even free music! As always, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting or downloading from any links on those sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). Attempt at your own risk.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Powered by the Dead: Gein and the Graverobbers

Gein and the Graverobbers

Humanoids from the Deep, Necro-Tone Records 2000
Hang Ten, Necro-Tone Records 2001
Songs in the Key of Evil, Necro-Tone Records 2002
Passion of the Anti-Christ, Necro-Tone Records 2005
Gruesome Twosome, Necro-Tone Records 2007

Gein and the Graverobbers found me through MySpace a few years back, right around their ‘Passion of the Anti-Christ’ release. The few songs on their page led me to an easy purchase. I hadn’t gotten that involved in either spooky or surf music. I had seen Los Straitjackets a few months earlier when they played in Albany, where I was living at the time. But that was about it – the Ghastly Ones were still on hiatus and I hadn’t really bothered with finding anyone else. Gein and the Graverobbers rekindled what The Ghastly Ones started.

Gein and the Graverobbers were seriously frightening when I first saw them play. They were the reason why I hit up Drop Dead, which led me to The Crimson Ghosts and a couple other good bands. But I was there for them and man, they did not disappoint.

There’s something intimidating about the group when they get into it, like that deep-fear I felt when I saw ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ for the first time. There was fear tempered with adrenaline and a sense of respect for the natural order of things. Those kids had to die, and this band had to play. The music of Gein and the Graverobbers are, in a way, as natural as death and that’s what made that first impression so powerful. Ever since then, they keep getting better.

Gein, when he gets in his mood, will walk right up to you and stare you down. Back then, they had a bassist named Kemper who seemed to hate breathing and all those who did it. Sloth, the drummer, comes off as the opposite, as a man who is happy that everything dies. And Myra, the only word that pops to mind is ‘vicious.’

Outside of the characters that they play, the band comes off as really nice and friendly. Times that I’ve said ‘hi’ to them, they’ve been extremely grateful for any and everyone who has shown up to see them play.

Currently, The Rev plays bass for them. He’s also in the band Mongrel, which makes him a great fit for the Graverobbers. Gein plays in The Crimson Ghosts but also in Black Pyramid. Myra has her band Ghoul’s Night Out, which I’ll cover in this month since they’re awesome, but she also does all the layouts for each Necro-Tone release.

Funny thing about the entire Necro-Tone family: they kind of introduced a sense of reality to my ignorant ass. When the Crimson Ghosts played 4th Street in Troy, I went up to talk to Gein for the first time. I told him that I was a fan of his work and that I thought both ‘The Haunted House’ and ‘Transylvania’ were some of the best sounding songs I have ever heard. Both cuts were from their ‘Songs in the Key of Evil’ album, but I didn’t know that one was an Iron Maiden cover.

It was that at that same show I was surprised to find out that these guys still had jobs. The reality that these guys were doing this as what they loved but still spent forty hours a week at a straight job smacked me right in the face. I don’t know if that’s still true today, and I would hope that one day, everyone in the band can rely on their art to pay the mortgage.

The early Gein and the Graverobbers releases have been out of print for a while. Necro-Tone records recently produced ‘The Gruesome Twosome,’ which is more of a ‘Terrible Three-Way’ since you get ‘Humanoids from the Deep,’ ‘Songs in the Key of Evil,’ and ‘Passion of the Anti-Christ.’ Bargain Deal on Evil. Hit them up and buy a CD. See them if you can.

Ghoul Log

According to the uploader, packratshow:

"This clip is from Drew's Famous Ghoul Log DVD. I've only captured the first 25 percent becuase they basically gave up after 8 and half minutes. The rest of the video is still frames of the pumpkins and mask for 30 minutes. I feel ripped of even though I only paid 2.99 for this piece of crap. There is also another video on the disc which has the same soundtrack but with three shots(again, repeated for 40 minutes) of the same 3 pumpkins with poorly animated flames keyed in the the mouth and face holes."

To see more Drew's Famous Entertainment suckage, I highly recommend checking out his other videos.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where was I last night?

I was getting my ass kicked by these guys -

Dressing up in rubber suits and latex for a living is one thought most extravagant. To consider that this group has been doing it for about twenty-five years is wonderful. Perhaps we can view GWAR as an example of the different attitudes of horror, especially in today's market. Sometimes, a horror movie needs to get down to the base essentials of the genre: over-the-top gore, a plotline that is as much an appeal to your blood thirst as it is to your pleasure centers, and an underlying sense of 'this is fucking ridiculous but I love it anyway.'

Good showing. Tons of blood. Had a blast. Got brutally mutilated. Wish you were here.

The weekend will be spent boning up on material for next week, something I'd like to call 'Blood of my Fathers." A little tribute to those who made Halloween today what it was (or at least, a week's worth of posts of older spookshow masters so I don't write more about surf and post youtube videos at the last moment.)

Also, the Front Office is looking for opinions. It's debating where the Local stands on the new Elvira.

Robot Monster: Special Edition

I think the person who uploaded this, backobeyond, summed it up nicely:

"The following is a clip from a 1982 MTV special. Before MTV had enough music videos to fill their day they scheduled with specials and events. In this TV special Videography Studios and 3D Video pooled their resources and shot new 3D footage to wrap around the 1950s Sci-Fi classic, "ROBOT MONSTER". The rock group, SPACE CADET star as the guys in silver lamet.... and that's Bob Burns in the famous Tracy the Gorilla suit from the kid's TV series, "The Ghost Busters"!"

That's right, MTV didn't always play music videos 24/7 back in the day. So can we please put an end to all the "back when MTV actually played music" jokes?

You can order some free 3D glasses here. Don't sweat the wait, though; the 3D effect isn't very good. The problem with the anaglyphic 3D process is that it works better with still images than it does on moving footage. Also, 3D looks its best when projected onto a silver screen and you have to play around with color settings in order to make it look somewhat decent on monitors and TV screens. But, all in all, this video is a nice little curiosity.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Redneck Dracula

Elmo Shropshire (aka Dr. Elmo), the man who inflicted "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" upon the world, seems to have milked Christmas dry and set his sights on Halloween. Sadly, this seems to be a growing trend among those who specialize in Christmas music. Originally appearing as a song on his 2005 "Sings the Boos" release and later getting its own album with the same name, "Redneck Dracula" is (in my opinion) a trainwreck of a song.

Obviously made to cash in on the "Blue Collar" craze, the song amazingly doesn't do much with the concept. It's as if he thought that just calling Dracula a redneck in the title was enough to get the point across. Other than that, it's limited to the occasional awful pun, like "...drove a chicken-fried stake through my heart," and having the title character ride a mechanical bull. Not that the song's concept wasn't terrible to begin with, but you'd think that Dr. Elmo would've at least tried a little harder. In the end, Dracula has been lowered to awkwardly hitting on truck stop regulars in order to suck their blood, thus making this the most depressing Halloween novelty song ever recorded. Coupled with the poor attempt at a "scary vampire" voice and music that sounds like a demo selection from a Casio keyboard, it all adds up to one crappy song. The music video only makes it worse, as they decided that farts and having Dracula look at a stroke mag would make things "funnier":

The rest of the album consists of cover songs and more painfully unfunny original material, including another carry-over from the previous album and yet another variation on the "Grandma" concept.

Some might say that I'm being too hard on a man who primarily records material aimed at children. All I can say is listen to the samples on these pages. No matter who your target audience is, there's no excuse for poor quality.

Besides, Unknown Hinson offered the definitive take on redneck vampires ion his song "Undead Blues," so Dr. Elmo best step back. Hell yeah. You can check it out for yourself on his Myspace page or by watching the following music video:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

From what I understand, this song is from the television series, 30 Rock. Happy Yom Kippur to all our Jewish readers!

Left for Dead

The Independents

Getting away from the surf for a quick update, here are the Independents. They're going to release a new album next week. Hit up your local independent music store if you got one. If you don't, buy it from them direct (decent package deal. Twenty-five bucks gets you a CD, a shirt, and both a button and a patch.) Since Ska is Dead, it makes a great foil for spooky.

Not much else to write about since I've just picked up their 'Back from the Grave' album. Good shit. But here's a couple vids.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The "Ultimate Haunt"

Chances are that you've heard stories about a haunted house with 13 floors somewhere in your state. You know, the one that nobody's ever been able to complete since it's so scary and has trapdoors that drop you out of the place? In fact, the management is so confident nobody can finish that they'll give you a partial refund for each floor you complete and will give a complete refund to anyone who finishes the entire house. Only a select few have made it to the 13th floor...and they all died of fright before they reached the exit.

As you've probably guessed, this house simply does not exist. It's just an urban legend kept alive by stories of friends of friends who know the location and the occasional hoax or two.

Despite stories of such a place in every state across the nation and countless people searching the internet, nobody can ever provide its exact location. This is a dead giveaway that the house doesn't exist. This article explains about the impossibility of such an attraction and notes some haunted houses that have cashed in on the legend by offering refunds if visitors are able to complete certain tasks. In fact, I have actually found some of these houses online. The Urban Legends haunted house in Michigan apparently offers a refund if you're able to find a secret room inside the "Pitch Black" haunted house. Another Michigan haunt, the Realm of Darkness, offers to double your money back if you can defeat the wizard. However, you supposedly have to choose the correct items out of ridiculous amount of other items to get the gems to defeat a wizard, whose secret location in the haunt must also be found. Finally, the 13th Floor haunted house in Colorado offers a refund to every 113th person who goes through the attraction.

But how did the legend get started? Leonard Pickel, editor of "Haunted Attraction" magazine, suspects that it started in Kansas City and spread across the nation. His idea seems quite credible, as he apparently was introduced to an earlier, lesser version of the story that only involved two floors and a time limit. Some have suggested that Raven's Grin Inn could've sparked the legend. After all, it does offer multiple levels and a long slide that spits out customers. However, the house's owner has stressed that he only has 7 levels and notes that he doesn't offer any refund for completing the house.

Another haunted house that might've sparked the legend (and most likely helped it along) is Britannia Manor. Created by Richard Garriott, video game designer and creator of the "Ultima" franchise, this massive haunt is based out of his mansion (and takes two months to get "back to normal" after the haunt has run its course). The admission was free, but only a limited amount of people could go through. Said people had pass a fitness test in order to enter, due to the various challenges of crawling through tunnels, swinging over ropes, and the like. Visitors also had to be on the look-out for secret passages, solve puzzles, and contend with surprises like collapsing walls. You can read more about this amazing haunted house at these three sites.

Although we'll probably never know for sure where the story was born or what house (if any) sparked it, we can all rest assured that the legendary, money-back haunted house with 13 floors doesn't exist. However, it's almost guaranteed that the legend will never die, no matter how many debunkings are written.