Thursday, December 31, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmassacre (and Happy Horrordays)!

I originally wasn't sure what I should call this post. Gravedigger's Local 16 strives to be all-inclusive and not promote one holiday over another (save for Halloween), but I already used the title "Happy Horrordays" last year and didn't want to repeat myself. So I decided to do three separate posts devoted to the holidays that get the most focus: Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Although I came up with pun names like "Killwanzaa" and "Hanukkill" (or should it be "Chanukill?"), I couldn't think of anything horror-related that would properly fit either of those holidays to my satisfaction. Maybe some of you out there in readerland could give me a few suggestions?

Then came the issue of coming up with horror pun names (and content) for holidays like HumanLight, (HumanFright? HumaimLight?) Festivus or any of the other holidays observed in December. In fact, it's became more and more obvious to me why people opt to just stick with "Happy Holidays."

So I just gave up and slapped together something involving clips from some Christmas-themed slasher movies I found on kennethjohnali's Youtube channel:



Those of you who don't get the joke should read this. And since that (reedited) clip from Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 so short, let's follow it up with more clips from the film:



And seeing as I already linked to some clips from that movie in July, here's some stuff from the original Silent Night, Deadly Night:



Happy Horrordays!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

'tis the season...FOR HALLOWEEN SHOPPING?

It's well known that November 1st is one of the best times to load up on Halloween goodies at bargain prices. But did you know that after-Christmas sales are also a good way to stock up on stuff for Halloween? Or that some decorations can be used on both holidays? The GdL gang has put their heads together and came up with two handy lists of ideas to help explain it all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Horrorday Gift

Remember how I mentioned Redbox last month? For those not in the know, Redbox is a video rental service where you can rent (and even buy) DVDs from a kiosk located at your local supermarket, convenience store, or even certain fast food establishments. What makes Redbox so interesting is that they regularly give out free rental codes. To use the code, you need to insert your credit card into the machine and press a button labeled "Rent with a Promo Code" before entering in the code.

You can get free codes mailed to you by signing up for their online mailing list. You can also get codes by following them on Twitter or by visiting their blog. Also, one of AMM's friends is also known to give out codes he's gathered on his Twitter account.

For more information on Redbox and their rental service, I recommend visiting their Wikipedia entry.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cybernetic Ghost of Chanukkah Past from the Future

[fog machine]

THIS IS THE CYBERNETIC GHOST OF CHANUKKAH PAST FROM THE FUTURE AND I HAVE COME FROM THE DISTANT FUTURE TO DELIVER AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO YOU. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE RELEASE OF A CERTAIN HOLIDAY ALBUM, NOR WAS IT SPONSORED BY TURNER BROADCASTING.

WHERE WAS I? OH YES...I WOULD HAVE COME SOONER, BUT MY PROGRESS WAS DELAYED BY THE CHICKENS. WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT? AS IT IS WRITTEN IN THE CHANUKKAHNOMICON...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Krampusmas

Many of you probably know of the Krampus from its appearance on The Venture Bros. Christmas special. For those that don't, I'll explain:

The Krampus is a type of legendary creature (some accounts claim it's a type of incubus) that is said to act as a companion or counterpart to Saint Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) during his travels to the Alpine regions of Europe. Instead of being a jolly elf like one might expect to travel with Santa, the Krampus is large hairy monster with massive horns, sharp fangs, and cloven hooves. "Krampus" is derived from "Krampen," the Old High German word for "claw." That's right, "Santa Claws"-style jokes are nothing new. Whereas St. Nicholas would give out presents to well-behaved children, the Krampus would punish naughty boys and girls by beating them with a birch rod. Sometimes the Krampus would even steal away children in the large sack he carries around; a kind of bizarro version of Saint Nicholas bringing and leaving presents from his sack! The threat of being given coal on Christmas for being bad seems quite desirable in comparison to being throttled and carried away by a horrible monster for who-knows-what.

But the Krampus tradition involves much more than spooky stories and threats to make children behave. Chase's calendar of events 2009 notes that in countries where the tradition is celebrated, many young men will dress up as Krampuses (Krampi?) and roam the area to scare people and swat at them with sticks. Their costumes are made from various types of fur, hair, or rags topped off with masterfully-carved wooden masks. It is also not unusual for them to carry warning bells or clanking chains as well. Thanks to the magic of Youtube, we can see this tradition in action:





The Wikipedia entry on the Krampus, my source for several of the above facts, has a wonderful gallery of Krampus costume pictures that I encourage you to visit.

There are also other European Christmas traditions involving Krampus-like beings who give out punishments (and sometimes gifts) to children during the Yuletide season, ranging from hairy beings of varying temperament to shabbily-dressed older men.

Although Italy has a tradition involving a hairy creature, it isn't all that comparable to the Krampus since the Badalisc is a good creature that is captured by townspeople and forced to tell gossip. The only similarities are the furry nature of the beasts and the "person in a costume" aspect of both traditions.

In short, Europeans have way cooler Christmas traditions than Americans do. Well, except for the variations on the "Black Peter" companion, whose sooty face and hands are uncomfortably close to racism and blackface...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pyggy Twylyte

Here's a little something my younger brother discovered while looking for the now-famous "Muppets sing Bohemian Rhapsody" video:



I like the cut of daretobestupidshow's jib...

Team Doesn't Care

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Study In Emerald

Since it's December, the traditional Christmas colors of red and green are everywhere. And wouldn't you know it, I figured out a way to capitalize on that without resorting to a "color of blood and gore" joke!

Fans of the great detective will undoubtably be familiar with A Study in Scarlet. But what they might not know is that famed comic book author Neil Gaiman has put up a .PDF version of his short story, A Study In Emerald, on his website. Said story, which originally appeared in the Shadows Over Baker Street anthology, combines elements of Sherlock Holmes stories with the works of H.P. Lovecraft (and is filled with plenty of horror references). So break out Adobe Acrobat and get readin'!

If you want a horror-related Sherlock Holmes story that isn't a fan-created work, then check out The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire. It's best known for a reference to another Holmes case that may or may not have actually been written by Doyle.

Monday, November 30, 2009

How It Should Have Ended

I first discovered "How It Should Have Ended" while searching Youtube for a funny video to post on the Facebook page of a friend who was a Superman fan. So, straight from their official Youtube page, here's how the HISHE crew thinks The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and The Blair Witch Project should have ended:



Friday, November 27, 2009

Reading Suggestion

I'm close to Providence, so it makes sense to bust out the Lovecraft this time of year. Everything is soggy, gray and cold. I suggest you to do the same. Granted, history will show that he was a racist, classist and misogynistic. We can't forget that. But he died in near poverty so take that a bit of justice when you read (or listen to) some of his stories.

Do you have a particular horror author you'd like to suggest? Algernon Blackwood? Some from the Splatterpunk set?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Fangsgiving!

Want to go trick-or-treating in November like the kids in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? Although you're bound to only get strange looks and bewilderment, I thought I'd help out by pointing you in the direction of some free printable vampire masks. Michael Grater's Cut and Make Monster Masks in Full Color brings us a two part "Varney the Vampire" mask, along with another multiple piece mask that depicts "Vilma the Vampiress."

Here's to a happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers! Well, all the American readers, as Canada's Thanksgiving is held on October 12th.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

News 'n Stuff

Normally, I stick to the "four posts per month" format I developed after GdL returned from its unintended hiatus. But, seeing as how Strange Jason is having a little trouble, I figured I'd change my rules and do an extra post. Come to think of it, Strange Jason and I both doing five posts a month would be a good way of providing several updates without us running out of ideas. Personally, I'd let Atomic and N. Oremac pop in and out whenever they wanted to, as they have other (big) things going on that're eating up their time. Besides, I think that posting nearly every day would take away of of the specialness that the Halloween countdown has. I'll have to talk with the others about this so we can figure out a schedule that works for everyone. If any readers would like to make a suggestion, they are more than welcome to do so.

Our first bit of news is that Legendary Pictures, the people behind Batman Begins and Superman Returns, are supposedly trying to license the rights to Godzilla for a new American movie. I can't say I'm 100% thrilled with the idea. Although Toho has rebooted the Godzilla franchise numerous times, they've always maintained that the original 1954 movie was part of each continuity. I fear that an American reboot wouldn't do that and would thus cut off Godzilla from his roots, rob the character of his dramatic power and weaken the character's warning of the dangers of nuclear weapons. Tristar's "reimagining" also has left a bad taste in my mouth (and probably those of other members of the movie-going public). Although it would be pretty cool if they remade King Kong vs. Godzilla...

Speaking of things I learned about on Wikipedia, there's an Addams Family musical coming soon. In fact, it's already started its trial run in Chicago (November 13 2009 - January 10, 2010). The plot is an all-new story about Wednesday Addams being grown-up and falling in love. Wait a second, wasn't that plotline part of that Addams Family Values movie from 1993?

Blockbuster Video recently announced that it (and Hollywood Video) would being offering a new movie rental kiosk service using movies stored on...SD cards? I can't see this being a lasting service. Other kiosk services that use DVDs, such as Redbox, offer rentals for the same (or lower price) and use a format that most homes already have. Sure, a digital camera can read SD cards and be hooked up to a television for playback, but why go through that when you already have a DVD player or gaming console set up? Besides, many devices that can read SD cards are already DVD-compatible, so there's little incentive to try a new format.

I've saved the best news for last: Kellogg's is offering horror DVDs as part of the latest installment of their "Movie Lovers" promotion. However, presumably to keep kids from ordering those movies, the tokens needed to get the movies are found on "bran" cereals (Raisin Bran, Oat Bran, etc.) rather than the usual assortment of cookies, crackers and cereals that other Kellogg's DVD promotions had been included on in the past. The horror titles offered are a double feature of Ghoulies and Ghoulies II, Swamp Thing, When Good Ghouls Go Bad, and Goosebumps: Attack of The Jack O'Lanterns. Presumably, these DVDs will come in small square paper sleeves (with cover art and a summary on the back) like other "Movie Lovers" titles have in the past, rather than plastic amaray cases. If this is correct, then the Goosebumps: Attack of The Jack O'Lanterns DVD might contain some other episodes of the Goosebumps TV series. For more details about the promotion, click here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November

This November's quickly become a throwaway month. Heads have been kept low for the last couple of weeks and here we are, halfway finished. Halloween has left most of us here at the Local tired and things have popped up to keep us busy. Mainly, we're keeping warm and keeping the calorie count up before the ground turns to rusted iron.

This coming week, we're shooting for a M/W/F update and we'll get back to a five-day schedule next week. Both Weird Jon, the Atomic Mystery Monster and myself have been caught up with new holes to dig. But the dirt is settling and we should be back on track soon.

So here's the "Cold Graves, Warm Hearts Music Gift Drive 2009." This December marks the fifth year that I've compiled an annual Christmas mix to help me and a friends get through the holidays. Though the pockets are a little lighter this time around, I still like to share and give back with the season. If you would like a copy mailed to you, send your mailing address to me at Strange Jason AT gravediggerslocal dot com. Also, if you have suggestions for this year's mix, I'm always open to new music.

I'll take requests until Midnight on November 30th. If you want to receive something in the mail this Christmas, send away. Your address won't be given over to any solicitors - we at the Local won't do you wrong like that. This is about giving gifts and helping each other through what is often both a joyous and miserable time of year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

TGIF13 III: The Beginning

Have you ever wondered why Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky? If so, then today is (ironically) your lucky day! Not only does Snopes have an article on the matter, but I found a sample version of Nathaniel Lachenmeyer's 13: The Story of the World's Most Popular Superstition.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Time to end this.

Weird Jon’s gone for a bit, technical difficulties and what not. Drop him a line wishing him to ‘Come Back Soon’ ‘cause dirt knows I can’t do this job alone. Each hand holds the shovel in its own way and it takes more than one to dig a hole.

Here’s a question: Do you root for the monsters in horror films?

Do you want Jason to get the campers? For Freddy to get those teenagers on Elm Street?

I do, sometimes. When the story introduces a character that’s clearly meant to solicit the audience’s scorn and hate—the snooty rich girl, the jocko homo in the Letterman’s jacket, the arrogant and the obnoxious—these are the ones that are meant to bring about a hell, yeah! reaction when the blade falls down upon their head.

Of course, all of these characters are fake and exaggerated, some over-the-top representation of an idea. We root against the rich because we’re not rich, against the obnoxious because we are not obnoxious.

I think about monsters when I listen to GG Allin.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It comes down to this.

Vampires are the ruling class. Zombies are the working class. Werewolves are the middle class.

Zombies, creatures of the dirt, eating flesh and whatever they can. They overwhelm in their masses and are usually depicted as mindless and violent. Their uprising usually demolishes society as it's known. Think of Zombies as the working-man's monster, the 'working stiff,' as it were. Once you're a zombie, there's no where else to go. Zombies. Ghouls. Majority of the flesh-eating undead are working class. Lower class.

Vampires, on the other hand, have been portrayed as alluring, beautiful and graceful. A vampire doesn't get its hands dirty. A vampire is known as being royalty, of looking down on humans and other monsters. Vampires are the aristocrats, the Yacht club of the night. Trust fund bloodsuckers. They revel in their monsterdom. A vampire loves being a vampire and would choose death rather than to live any other way.

Werewolves, I see, are middle class, only mildly inconvenienced by their monsterdom. They're middle management, telling others to protect nature. A lot of hippies in Volvos. Hipsters would be more werewolves than Vampires, despite dressing like zombies. Werewolves are often with good intentions but full of horseshit. Suburban Werewolves. A lot of Werewolves would be socialists, faux-American Marxists. A werewolf in a Che t-shirt made in China would bitch at a Gucci Vampire while a Zombie mops the floor.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tales From The Crypt


Though its initial run on HBO ran from 89-96, I didn’t catch ‘Tales from the Crypt’ until syndication since I didn’t afford the premium cable. But when it finally was distributed among the networks, I lived far up north that I caught it on a Canadian station that played in hour-long chunks every weekday at midnight.

I didn’t make the connection then, but I had come across, not Tales specifically, but the Tales format through those old comic books once given to me by a family friend. In between the superheroes and mutants, there was a plethora of ‘House of Mystery,’ ‘Grimm’s Ghost Stories’ and ‘The Witching Hour’ issues.

Similar to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the Crypt Keeper popped up at the beginning and at the end. Much like Afred Hitchcock, the Crypt Keeper had a corny sense of humor and a macabre use of puns. I’m a sucker for outlandish punnery, especially when it’s supposed to be so groan-inducing.

Much like horror hosts, the segments before and after the feature presentation took the edge off. Groan inducing punnery will take the sting out of any scare. Though most of the episodes weren’t terribly frightening; in fact, some very hackneyed, with the twist being either straight out of nowhere or seen from a mile away. 

Though stripped of its nudity and profane language, the whole attitude of the show remained intact when I watched it for the first time. Lately, I’ve been going over the old episodes, seeing the ones I’ve missed and revisiting the ones I saw before. On a whole, I would say that it’s a series that has aged well. I’ll have to do some digging to see the history behind the show before I put up any episode reviews. Personally, my favorite episodes aren’t those that deal with the supernatural. I like the ones that deal more with the monstrosity of the human condition. Though the ends are gruesome, they’re not that far removed from the realm of possibility. They’re usually the episodes that are written better (and much easier to watch.)

You can get all seven seasons for under two hundred bucks (less if you purchase used) on Amazon. Definitely worth the rental.

Also, if any of you readers out there can do me a favor - when it didn't run in an hour's chunk, there was a sorta-news program that ran before/after Tales From The Crypt on CBC 6. It dealt with a lot of paranormal activity, weird shit 'round the board. Trying to remember what the name of that program was and track down some episodes of it. Any clues can be sent over to me or the Front Office. Thank you kindly.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

American Scary

American Scary

‘American Scary’ is the documentary from John E. Hudgens and Sandy Clark covering ‘the popular [horror] hosts of the golden age of television.’ Consider it the ‘Greatest Hits’ collection of television’s spooky set – Zacherley, Vampira, Ghoulardi, Marvin, Bob Wilkins. All of your favorites and some of the lesser-knowns come together for this presentation, this love letter towards the role of the horror host.

Overall, I think it’s a good documentary. It’s very informative about the early stages of television that led to the birth of the horror host. Universal, in licensing their movies in the Shock Theater bundle, gave local stations all this scary programming. Either local personalities created scary alter-egos in looking for new work, or station managers offered a host to take the edge off of some legitimately scary movies.

Friday, November 6, 2009

TV Casualty

featuring Ted Leo from Ted Leo & The Pharmacists on vocals, Atom Goren of Atom & His Package on guitar, Andy Nelson of Paint It Black on Bass, Brian Sokel of Franklin and AM/FM on the other guitar and Chris Wilson of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists on drums, the show was performed as a benefit for the West Philadelphia Family Advocacy Group



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dead Leaves and Cold Ground

Seems all the dead leaves about are a good indicator that it's time to thin out the spooky on the playlist. The next two months are the low periods for myself, spooky-music wise. Figure the mood has shifted, away from being charmed by songs of werewolves and Dracula's daughters. It's getting colder, getting darker soon. It's time to button up the jacket or slip a hooded sweatshirt under as an extra layer. The cold brings quiet and stillness.

It's a bad time to bury a body. The earth becomes uncooperative sometime right around the middle of the Month. Have to use the big machines which always seems a way to cheat a client out of a good service, but now is not the season for shovels.

No, it's a time to take a break from pumpkins and dancing skeletons. Not a time to break away from the overall feeling. A cold mist is as scary as ever during this time. And a lot can happen when it starts to snow. Though I mentioned I have no love for vampires, that '30 Days of Night' movie wasn't bad (from one who hasn't read the original source.) Plus, as the snow flies, we'll talk about all the different spooky movies and stories and what not that can turn your winter's nights into winter's frights.

But until then, let us rest. And remind ourselves that things can be frightening even if they're not about bloodsuckers or howling at the moon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Godzilla Day!

Let's celebrate good old Godzie's birthday by looking over my favorite Japanese monster movie sites:

Toho Kingdom - This exhaustive site not only covers Toho's non-Godzilla/kaiju films, but also has sections devoted to kaiju concept art and movies that were planned, but never made.

SciFi Japan - Some of the most in-depth news and reviews you'll ever find.

HenshinOnline - Although this site has stopped updating, the archives are a wonderful resource for reviews and information on Japanese science fiction.

The Good, The Bad, and Godzilla - A blog run by the information guru of daikaiju, August Ragone.

Speaking of Mr. Ragone, I'm going to reclaim my title as King of the Google Books links by pointing you towards some selections from his book Eiji Tsuburaya: master of monsters : defending the earth with Ultraman.

And while we're on the subject, I recommend reading through the previews for Steve Ryfle's Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G" and A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series by David Kalat.

Monday, November 2, 2009

El Día de los Muertos

El Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is often referred to as the Mexican version of Halloween. Although that's a rather inaccurate description for the most part, there is an element of truth in it. You see, both holidays involved a belief that, on a certain day, the dead were free to return to earth and should be given offerings. Although "El Día" has stuck with that tradition, such aspects of Samhain mutated into trick-or-treating when the holiday became known as Halloween.

To learn more about the holiday (and why it's so much more than "Mexico's Halloween"), visit Palomar Community College's special website on the holiday. Also, the "Dead of the Dead" and "Halloween around the world" Wikipedia entries are also worth a look.

On a related note, I thought I had discovered a Day of the Dead-themed CD called El Día De Los Muertos! on Amazon. However, it's actually titled Halloween: El Día Del Muerto! and appears to be a Spanish version of tracks from Black Cat Halloween! and Halloween Demons And Vampires!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Saint's Day

We here at the Local don't have any official religious affiliation. With a lot of spooky imagery of skulls and devils and blood-wrenching sights of destruction and gore, it's that slippery misconception that just because we're ghoulish, we're not spiritual. We might not be. Who knows? It's not a requirement on the Union application.

But since everyone's wishing a happy 'Saint's Day' today, I figured I'd look up to see if we've got one. Lo and behold, we do.
Saint Anthony - Patron Saint of Grave Diggers,
Feast Day: January 17
Interesting. Granted, I would have preferred a day off in the Spring or Summer. But a man takes what he can get.
Saint Anthony was born in Egypt in the year 251. His parents were wealthy Christians. They died when he was a young man, leaving him in charge of his younger sister and a large estate.

Nice cat. Doing some charity. I can get behind that.

About six months later, he heard the Gospel 'Go sell what thou hast and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.' He decided that this Gospel was talking to him, so he gave away most of his land and money to the poor. He only kept enough to take care of himself and her sister. Later, when he heard the Gospel 'Be not solicitous for tomorrow' he gave away the rest of his estate, placed his sister in a convent, and became a hermit.


GET THEE TO A NUNNERY! Seriously? A guy hears a B-side of a record and flips his shit? Maybe that's why he's the gravedigger's saint, since he took 'You Can't Take It With You' to heart.
He lived in the wilderness for many years. The devil tempted and tormented him while he was living in the desert. But Saint Anthony persisted in his prayers and fasting, and finally Satan gave up and stopped attacking him.

From another account, Ol'Scratch got so pissed off at the boy that he beat the tar out of Anthony's hide. He got saved from some villagers and he tried the hermit schtick again. Hung out in some cells, tried to be a martyr, converted some heathens. The whole rock-star Saint thing back then. Today, we have Criss Angel doing some wacky shit and headling Vegas. Saint of MINDFREAKING doesn't really have a ring to it, though.

When Saint Anthony was very old, and he knew he was going to die, he visited his disciples one last time and asked them to bury him in a quiet and private place. He went back to his cave, where he died on January 17, 356. He was one hundred and five years old.
He went back to his cave. Dude was committed. What can I say?

So, there you go. If you rock that way, the saint of Gravediggers is Anthony the Abbot (and Costello.)

Looking about, some fool asks the following:
Now this sounds a really depressing job to me, and why do gravediggers need a Saint of their own to pray to, what do they ask him for, more graves to dig? Not good news for the rest of us if he decides to answer their prayers!
A gravedigger never has to worry about work, my friend. But there are days when he or she prays that the grave they did isn't their own. It's not a depressing job, either. Work with your hands. Get a lot of fresh air. Peace and quiet. Not to mention all the nice people you get to meet. Plus, job security. Once you're in, you're set for life. And even afterward.

As for Saint Anthony, turns out, he's also the Patron Saint of Bacon. Huh. Don't know what to thing about that.

Also:
against pestilence; amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers; brushmakers; Burgio, Sicily; butchers; Canas, Brazil; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy; epileptics; ergotism (Saint Anthony's fire); erysipelas; gravediggers; graveyards; hermits; hogs; Hospitallers; Lost items ; monks; Mook, Nederlands; pigs; relief from pestilence; shingles; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds
Finally, the common link between basket weaving, scabies and gravedigging! Thank you, St. Anthony.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Scream Concert

Although I ended my contribution to the 2008 Halloween countdown with a cover of a Frank Zappa song, it hadn't dawned on me how appropriate it was to do so until now. At the time, I just wanted to use it since I'm a Zappa fan and wanted a video that ended with someone saying "Happy Halloween." But now that I think about it, the choice was doubly appropriate, as Zappa was known for his yearly Halloween concerts and the mask-wearing musician with a KFC bucket on his head would have undoubtedly appealed to FZ's love of the bizarre.

In fact, that love of his resulted in the creation of "Cheepnis." The song is a loving tribute to the low budget monster movies, with a title which both refers to the budgets of many such films and his name for the cucumber-looking monster from It Conquered the World (said creature was dubbed "Beulah" by its creator, Paul Blaisdell). It was also this love of both monster flicks and general weirdness that led to him trying to make a musical tribute film about a giant spider with Best Brains, the company behind Mystery Science Theater 3000. Apparently, Mr. Zappa was so impressed by the weirdness of a particular sketch he had stumbled across that he immediately contacted the company. Despite the Brains being big FZ fans, the project was sadly never realized (although I seem to recall that the songs prepared for it were eventually released).

Since GdL shares that love, I thought I'd post a video of the song itself. Like last year, it's a cover, but it isn't an ordinary cover song; it's done by Frank's eldest son Dweezil and some of FZ's old friends/band mates. So, thanks to zappaplayszappadvd, here's a little "Cheepnis" for you all:



My other reason for posting this is that I wanted to pay tribute to another band known for Halloween concerts and for a love of the bizarre: Oingo Boingo. I only got into them fairly recently, but here's what I know: Originally founded as "The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo" by Danny Elfman (yes, that Danny Elfman) in 1972, the band eventually changed their musical style and shortened their name (along with band size) in the 1980's. After many hits and membership changes (along with a brief change of name to "Boingo"), the band left the music world after a "Farewell" concert held on October 31st, 1995.

Here's a homemade music video for "Dead Man's Party" (the song that first got me into Boingo), created and uploaded by vash81888:



I don't know if Oingo Boingo ever tried doing a concert with Frank Zappa, but I doubt it. It's a shame, as I think they'd both appreciate each other's love of the weird. Boingo's cult film Forbidden Zone would definitely be up FZ's alley. But since Zappa passed away in 1993 and Oingo Boingo probably won't ever reunite officially due to Danny Elfman's concern over hearing loss, such a team-up can only exist in our minds. To aid in the process, here are some quick Halloween-themed song lists I came up with for each band (in no particular order):

Frank Zappa:

Cheepnis
Goblin Girl
Zomby Woof
The Torture Never Stops
Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch


As Zappa often did numerous versions of each of his songs, I'm going to recommend my favorite versions to you (with the exception of "Cheepnis" since I've only heard the "Zappa Plays Zappa" version). I enjoy the live version of "Zomby Woof" and original version of "The Torture Never Stops" from Cheap Thrills, the You Are What You Is version of "Goblin Girl," the You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Volume 3 version of "Drowning Witch" and the You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Volume 6 variant of "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance." I know that last one might seem like an unusual choice for a Halloween tune, but I've always felt that particular version of the song has a "harvest dance" quality to it.

Oingo Boingo:

Weird Science
Dead Man's Party
Heard Somebody Cry


As I'm a bit of a Boingo newbie, I can't really make any recommendations on any song versions. I do know that their Dead Man's Party album has all three songs on bit, but I've heard that they might use a different version of "Weird Science" than the one heard in the film. Oh, and "Heard Somebody Cry" totally needs to be the theme for a Ghost Hunters parody.

Now that I think about it, we've been making an awful lot of music recommendations this year. Maybe Gravedigger's Local 16 could make a Halloween song list for the next countdown. In the mean time, be sure to keep visiting the site come November.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween

From all of us here at Gravedigger's Local #16, we wish each and every one of you out there a safe and Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Stay tuned! (and Oh boy! A bonus, Billy!)

Well, tomorrow is the big day. I imagine that many of you readers will be too busy to read any GdL posts made on Halloween, which is why I'm posting this notice now. I want to stress to you all that Gravedigger's Local 16 will stay open (and active) after October 31st ends. We won't post every single day like we do for the Halloween Countdown, but we won't vanish into thin air like in 2008.

Returning readers might remember that we had attempted to do this last year, but this was cut short due to certain issues keeping the gravediggers from posting. By the time everything was resolved and I was doing several updates a month, most of our audience was gone and many of the new entries went more or less unnoticed. So if you're wondering why so many posts made for the 2009 countdown reference (and link to) older GdL entries, now you know. My sincerest thanks goes out to those of you who stuck with us doing those times.

So please keep visiting come November. At the GdL, the spooky stuff doesn't stop after October. We've got a lot of cool stuff waiting in the wings and you definitely don't want to miss it. See you then!

Horror Trivia

Some prints of Tombs of the Blind Dead were given a new title card (Revenge of the Planet Ape) and opening narration in an attempt to pass the movie off as a Planet of the Apes-style science fiction film!

Not unlike how Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster was initially written as a vehicle for Toho's version of King Kong, Mind Ripper was originally intended to be the third entry in the original The Hills Have Eyes franchise, with one of the Jupiter clan wreaking havoc at a government installation (instead of the suicide-turned-bioweapon we see in the finished version).

Similarly, Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor originally went into production as a sequel to The Deadly Spawn called The Deadly Spawn 2: The Transformation.

C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D. is rumored to have originally been a rejected sequel script for Return of the Living Dead. It certainly would explain why the C.H.U.D.s suddenly look and act like comedic zombies in it.

Pamela Springsteen, who played the murderous Angela Baker in Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland, is Bruce Springsteen's sister. Not only that, but she currently works as a still photographer.

Fans of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 will undoubtedly remember the twisted character that is Chop Top. Chop Top was supposed to appear in a short spin-off film called All American Massacre, but the project has been languishing in development hell for years.

Abbott and Costello actually met The Creature from the Black Lagoon in a television comedy sketch.

The costume used in The Monster of Piedras Blancas was reused in an episode of Flipper called "Flipper's Monster."

The female protagonist in Night of the Demons was originally supposed to have a black boyfriend. That aspect of the script, along with a planned gay couple, were removed for being "too controversial." Remember: the film was made in 1988!

Inspired by the success of their Mr. Vampire franchise in the 1980's, Hong Kong film company Golden Harvest started production of a remake targeted at English-speaking audiences called Demon Hunters. Jack Scalia and Michelle Phillips were hired to act as the American "name actors," but the project fell apart after a few days due to their difficulties working in a non-Hollywood studio environment (The differences between making movies in Hollywood and Hong Kong are more than just a change of languages). I can only hope that the shelved footage will be made available one day, either as an extra on a DVD for one of the Mr. Vampire films or included as an injoke in another film (such as having the footage appear in a theater or on TV).

Some of you might be aware that Attack of the Mushroom People is based on a story by William Hope Hodgson called The Voice in the Night. However, I bet that most of you don't know that the same story was adapted as an American made-for-TV movie long before Attack of the Mushroom People went into production.

Have you ever wondered why Frankenstein's monster is usually depicted with green skin? You see, Boris Karloff had to wear green makeup in order to achieve a pale-skinned look on black and white film. However, there were some behind-the-scenes publicity photographs of Karloff in costume that were taken in color. As soon as those pictures were released, the idea of the monster having green skin was cemented in the mind of the general public. The fact that the monster’s skin was colored green on the first Universal Frankenstein film’s poster and how some reissue prints were tinted green didn’t hurt, either.

DEAD (Milkmen)

Correct me if I'm wrong. Not a lot of songs out there for guys named 'Jason.' There was the blow-up in the eighties (there's like, a MILLION of us just walking around) of the name, but it's not a name to inspire. You have Jason and the Argonauts, Jason Priestley. But there's the big one, the main man - Mr. Camp Blood himself.

Growing up, it was always 'Jason,' not 'Jason Voorhees.' Freddy Krueger had the scary-sounding last name. Jason was entitled to the single-word moniker. Don't know how it happened, but it did for me. Perhaps you got a kick out of going 'Voooorheeeeees' but hey, you dig your own grave.

Thankfully, the Dead Milkmen decided to do the un-do-able and write a song about Jason. Could be about me(no), could be about the Camp Crystal Lake legend (yes). It's a song for Jason everywhere (like Moose, the plural of Jason is like the singular. If someone named Jason Moose RSVPs to a party, you can't be sure if he is coming by himself or is bringing a guest.)

Off of 'Not Richard but Dick," the song 'Jason's Head' is a catchy beat. The bass-line reminds me of 'Boys Don't Cry' by the Cure. Jason vs. Freddy vs. Robert Smith. Coming Summer 2011.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Attack of the Anime Adaptations

Animation is not always for children, and the two films I'm going to discuss are definite proof of this.



The slice of insanity you just witnessed is from an anime called Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned, a Japanese adaptation of Marvel's Tomb of Dracula comic book. In fact, it was produced as part of the same Toei/Marvel deal that was responsible for Battle Fever J and the infamous Japanese Spider-Man series. You can find out more (and see proof that Dracula loves burgers) at the Anime Bargain Bin's highly informative review. The Anime Bargain Bin also covered Toei's Frankenstein anime, which was put into production due to the success of Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned. Despite rumors to the contrary, this was not an adaptation of Marvel's The Monster of Frankenstein series.

It came from Wikipedia II

According to this article, Godzilla made a licensed appearance in an audio drama spin-off of the Idol Defense Force Hummingbird OVA series.

Color me surprised: Dracula's Daughter was created as a result of Universal getting the license to adapt Dracula's Guest.

As many of you all know, King Kong Lives was the sequel to the 1970's remake of King Kong. But you probably didn't know that it inspired two Japanese video games: King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch and King Kong 2: Yomigaeru Densetsu. That movie would've been so much more tolerable if it had Kong battle giant robots and blobs like he did in King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch.

Speaking of King Kong, the old "Kongfrontation" ride once had a crossover of sorts with Darkman and the now-defunct "King Kong Encounter" ride will be replaced with a new Kong ride in 2010.

While we're on the topic of amusement attractions based on horror movies, the UK-based "Alien War" attraction (based on the Alien franchise and once featured a cameo by a Predator) has since been rethemed as "Alien Wars." The use of xenomorphs has been dropped in favor of a generic "extraterrestrial attack" theme, presumably in order to save money on licensing fees.

Here's a shocker: the movie A*P*E was originally advertised as The New King Kong in America, in a presumably desperate attempt to sucker people eager to see the then-current Kong remake into seeing the shoddy Korean rip-off. Unsurprisingly, RKO sued and the title had to be changed. I'd love to know how the hell they thought they could have gotten away with that. As a special bonus, here's an older version of that Wikpedia entry where they link to a picture of the original poster.

If this is to be believed, William Peter Blatty once said that he considered The Ninth Configuration to be the true sequel to The Exorcist.

Wow, Universal's Creature from the Black Lagoon musical attraction sounds awful. The article has plenty of spoilers, although I can't see how one could "spoil" that piece of crap.

This claims that one of the entries in the Bloody Murder series is set at the same camp as the other two films, but doesn't mention Trevor Moorehouse or any of the killings from the other films. That's almost as surprising as how the filmmakers weren't sued over their blatant Jason Voorhees rip-off.

Mystery on Monster Island is advertised as being based on a Jules Verne novel. What they don't tell you is that the novel in question didn't have any monsters in it!

Finally, check out this article on the great and noble profession of grave digging.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's a countdown without a count?

Count von Count, that is.

I know these mildly NSFW videos are old news, but I immediately thought of the "censored Count" videos after chancing upon a Sesame Street segment parodying Mad Men (what's next, a Breaking Bad parody?).

According to uploader mrmagoo312, Lemon Demon (aka Neil Cicierega) was responsible for the audio while wattamack4 provided the video for the following:



As is the case with other successful Youtube videos, the popularity of "The Song of the Count - Lemon Demon Version" led to a slew of imitators. In my opinion, the vast majority of them "ran out of steam" fairly quickly due to the weakness of the material used. However, there is one video which didn't fall victim to that pitfall:



According to creator MrNick01, the vacation video was based on an idea by one noodles347. It's almost frightening just how well the innocent songs about counting become hilarious songs about an insatiable sex drive with only some choice bleeps. To quote Strange Jason, "the Count's prowess is unrivaled!"

Doo Wop and Ghoulish Things

Poor weather to be working outside these past few days in this part of the world. In the break rooms of life, it’s good to have something warm to drink, eat and listen to while waiting for the rain to fade.

Two releases that seem to work best when the weather isn’t working at all are ‘These Ghoulish Things’ and ‘Do Wop Halloween is a Scream.

Released on ACE Records out in the UK, ‘These Ghoulish Things’ is a collection of some noted and forgotten songs. Ace Records has spent the last twenty-five years dealing with licensing and releasing old recordings. Weird Jon would have better ideas about legal copyrights regarding international law. The way Ace present themselves, they look like that Ace might be on the up-and-up. Buyer beware, always.

‘These Ghoulish Things’ is a collection of fun songs, and you can tell when you get to The Verdicts “The Mummy’s Ball.”  The mock Dracula breakdown shows that this record was really to make someone laugh, get a few plays on the radio and make the group some money. Novelty records, but more innocent in nature. The release has some ‘serious’ songs, like a cut from Zacherley the cool Ghoul and Buddy “Boris” Pickett’s ‘Monster Mash.’ 

‘Screaming Jay Hawkins is on here with ‘Feast of the Mau Mau’ as well as Virgil Holmes with “Ghost Train” and Bo Diddley’s “Bo Meets the Monster.” The whole record has a throwback feel to it, harking to the heyday of the classic monsters. It’s light listening, making for a good pick-me-up when your bones are soaked and heavy.

Similarly, ‘Doo Wop Halloween is a Scream,’ a release on WANDA and that’s as much as I can tell you right now. Might have been a release effort to collect more novelty singles, getting cuts like Chotalls’ ‘Queen of Halloween’ and Pete & the Bloodsuckers ‘My Baby Likes Scary Movies.’ Anyone with more information is invited to contact me here. Would love to get more info on this release.

Consider it a short rest before the big night. Three days and counting. Ha-ah-ha-ha.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Maximum Carnage

The time was October 2002. Universal Studios Florida had decided to integrate their "Islands of Adventure" into their "Halloween Horror Nights" celebration. Not only that, but the event would be moved to the islands for several years. To play off this, the event's theme for the year ("Islands of Fear") was that each island would be "taken over" and altered for Halloween (with one exception).

So, who would be taking over Marvel Super Hero Island? Traditional Marvel supervillains like Dr. Doom or Magneto wouldn't be scary enough and the gliders used by Halloween-themed villains like the Green Goblin and Jack O'Lantern would be too difficult (and dangerous) to utilize realistically. Eventually, somebody hit on the idea of adapting the "Maximum Carnage" story arc that appeared across several Spider-Man comic books in 1993. The idea of a super-powered serial killer and his freakish helpers inciting riots across a city certainly must have sounded like a good idea for a haunted attraction on paper. In practice, it was a very different story.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Witch Dungeon Museum

Location: 16 Lynde Street Salem, MA (Directions)
Dates/Times: April - Nov: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (Extended in Oct)
Admission: $8 per adult, $6 per child (4-13) and $7 per senior aged 65 or older.
Phone: (978) 741-3570
Website: http://www.witchdungeon.com/witchdungeon.html

No, this isn't the similarly-named horror movie museum in Connecticut. Instead, it's a Salem, MA-based museum devoted to the Salem Witch Trials. I visited the Witch Dungeon museum as part of a school field trip back in the early 2000's, probably since my English class had studied The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible. All I knew about the museum at the time was that it had a reenactment of one of the infamous Salem witch trials, using an actual transcript from 1692. Little did I know was that it would be one of the oddest museums I would ever go to.

The Witch Dungeon Museum is the only museum I know of which doesn't have any "artifacts" on display (or placards, for that matter). Even the now-defunct "Terror on the Wharf" haunted house in Salem tried to live up to its "Museum of Myth and Monsters" subtitle by having some horror movie memorabilia in the waiting area and some placards placed in the first few areas of the haunt itself.

I remember being surprised both by this and how my classmates and I were immediately herded into a small theater. I expected that the reenactment would be the last part of the of the museum, not the first. After all, it would be a natural climax to an hour or so of looking at old historical items about the trials. But there were no such items, just a small theater with a courtroom set up onstage (and some papier-mâché supporting cast dummies). Soon the costumed cast came out and performed their little five minute reenactment. It wasn't destined for rave reviews, but it wasn't terrible either.

After the trial ended, we were ushered into the "dungeon" located in the basement of the museum by our factoid-dispensing tour guide. The winding dungeon contained displays showing things like Giles Corey being pressed to death, the incredibly small cells the accused witches were kept in (complete with dummy captives) and innocent people being tortured and hung. There was much surprised muttering amongst the group upon passing a display where some people in Spanish Inquisition-style pointed hoods were uncomfortably close to the hanging victims. This brought uncomfortable thoughts of racial prejudice and the Klan to mind. All of the previously-mentioned displays were rendered using the same type of (as far as I could tell) papier-mâché dummies from the play. Thankfully, the dark lighting and moody atmosphere made them slightly less laughable than they would have been in regular lighting.

While a friend and I were debating whether or not a figure in a dark cell was a live person waiting to jump out at us, we heard a piercing scream from a girl in the group ahead of us. Word quickly spread that she had seen some kind of ghostly figure; the consensus being that it was just part of the museum and not a "real" ghost. This would be eclipsed later in the day during our trip to the House of Seven Gables, where someone caused a screamfest by making a joke about a bat attack when a long line kept us stuck in a dark hidden staircase.

Later in the tour, not long before the exit, I (barely) noticed another ghostly effect going on beside me. Or perhaps it was a repetition of the same effect from before, I'm not 100% sure since I never got to ask the girl what she saw. Due to the limited nature of those scares, I am not going to spoil anything for potential visitors by telling what I saw. If you walk slowly and keep your eyes peeled, you should have no trouble seeing the dungeon's ghosts. Although those effects would not make the basement tour "hack it" as a standalone haunt, it was a neat little surprise for a haunted house junkie like myself. After the tour ended, we were cleverly dumped into the gift shop. I remember a lot of knick-knacks, postcards and books, along with hilariously named "Witch Balls" (standard hanging glass ornaments with a new name and back story slapped on to cash in on Salem's reputation).

Not having been to any other witch museums, I can't say where the Witch Dungeon ranks among them. I'd definitely like to check them out before seriously vouching for visiting the Witch Dungeon Museum. Although if you're a teacher looking to give your students a little surprise while you're all in Salem, a trip to the Witch Dungeon Museum isn't a bad way of going about it. As for non-academic trips, I can't recommend going there solely for the dungeon tour. There are much better haunted houses in Salem to spend your money on (Hint hint).

It's nothing personal against the museum itself, as it's not like they're in business as a haunted house. In fact, I greatly appreciate their throwing some haunt-style touches into the mix. It's just that the museum doesn't really impress me enough to recommend it highly. If the museum was longer, the effects/dummies were upgraded and/or the prices were lower, I would feel differently on the matter. Being a fair man, I won't rate it using the system I use for haunted attractions. Having said that, it is worth visiting if you get an off-season urge to visit a haunt or if you purchase the special combination ticket. Said ticket is good for the Witch History Museum, the New England Pirate Museum and The Witch Dungeon Museum and the savings works out to a discounted savings of about $5 per person. You can find more information about the ticket here.

Final verdict: Exempt from rating

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dub Like A Zombie

There’s a moment of parity ‘tween us here at the Local and the world of Hip Hop in the movie ‘Scratch,’ a documentary about Turntablism and the rise of such hip hop mad scientists like Q-bert, Kool Herc. DJ Shadow stands in an underground reserve of vinyl stacks, talking about the importance of ‘digging,’ or searching for the perfect beat. Digging for DJs involves a constant search for the next beat, seeking out the next great hook, the right sample.

If yours is the romantic eye, you can see them as urban Templars always seeking out the next Grail. Or, if you adhere to a different philosophy, these are the evolved insects in human-suits, rifling through the mountains of discarded plastics to make something worthwhile. What eyes you sport matters most when digging dirt. Only worms dig without eyes.

Similarly, I keep digging for new spooky music (as should you.) I came across something different than usual – Tino’s Breaks Vol. 6.

Released on the Tino Corp. label, “owned” by the mythical Tino, the releases are developed by Ben Stokes (Dimensional Holofonic Sound) Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto) and Mike Powell (Bo Square). While they create albums full of sounds and beats for other turntablists to use, sample and build, there have been a few Tino’s Breaks that have been dub albums. Instrumental reggae. Or in this case, instrumental hip-hop.

I fell into some dub something in 2004, finding it more enjoyable than reggae itself. Living in an old industrial providence somewhere outside the capital region, there was Sir Walford broadcasted on the college radio every Monday and Saturday. Driving around to grab a cheeseburger, playing some dub while the sun shone down on a cold Fall afternoon remains a constant and favorite memory. He’s still out on the air, every Saturday afternoon. If he ever played from this album, wouldn’t know.

Vol.6 is the Halloween release. You’ll find on this release some really laid back music, as is the case with dub. It’s a lot of funky beats, deep bass; definitely much different than death rock or psychobilly. My favorites on this are ‘Wolfman is Everywhere Dub’ and ‘Zombie Walk Dub.’  The music is very playful. It’s easy to groove to it, while doing what you need to in preparation for the big night. It could also be a good way to break up some monotony of your evening’s music if you need something a little low-key. Check it out here and wherever you can.

Links I like

Interest of fairness, I'm only going to be covering links that I haven't highlighted on this blog in the past:

Teleport City - Yesterday's Tomorrow Today. I've been a fan of this movie/literature/travel review site for the better part of a decade. The reviews, which often mix information about a movie with anecdotes about the reviewer's life, have been a big influence on my writing style. I can't say that I'm all that good at mimicking the style of a Teleport City review, but it's still an influence.

Lost in Schlock - A blog devoted almost entirely to prop-making, be it for Halloween or movies.

Retroslashers - News and reviews of slasher films from the past and present, along with an insanely awesome title banner.

Weird Boston Events - A must-read guide for any resident of Massachusetts who's into the weird and wild.

Joe Bob Briggs - Film critic. Drive-in king. Horror host. Just click the link already...

Bogleech - Home of one of the lesser known Halloween countdowns. There's also some very interesting articles on insects and monster/insect-related toys. Oh, and the webmaster is probably the only person on Earth besides me who's ever heard of "Scratchees."

Head Injury Theater - Movie reviews, hilarious articles and a Halloween countdown full of cool paintings by the guy behind the site. What's not to love?

Bleeding Skull - An excellent site that reviews films (on both DVD and VHS) and contains numerous in-depth articles about various things pertaining to horror movies. Trust me, the site is much better than my description.

The Agony Booth - Home of some of the most in-depth movie reviews I've ever seen. I especially like how the KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park review details the various differences between the original American version and the extended European cut.

Gorillamen - A website devoted to the oft-neglected art of gorilla suits. I love it!

Monster Kid Online Magazine - Cool online magazine devoted to old-school horror. Be sure to check out the article about the Three Stooges and monsters.

Laff in the Dark - Everything you ever needed to know about dark rides.

1,000 Misspent Hours and Counting - Tons of well-written (and often humorous) movie reviews. I especially like the fact that, even when he tears the film apart, the writer always makes the most meager of awful movie seem exciting.

The Astounding B Monster - Home to numerous interviews with the people behind the old horror movies we know and love.

The B-Masters Cabal - Your guide to (most of) the premiere bad movie review sites on the planet.

Tomb of Anubis
- NSFW movie reviews, for both vintage and recent films. The screencaps (done in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000) never fail to make me smile.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Your Face

Facebook fast becoming the way that old boyfriends and classmates track you down, it might be safe to go back onto MySpace so that you can follow your favorite independent band. Or not. Who cares? Here's a bunch of bands currently on there who you could easily add if you still had an account. 

List after the break.

Click the post title for further details.

News to me

Fearnet is showing the unrated director's cut of Return of the Living Dead 3 both online and on its cable TV service until November 30, 2009. Why is this a big deal? Back in the days of VHS, there were two versions available: the rated version (R) and the gorier unrated version. However, the DVD release only contains the R-Rated version.

It has come to my attention that a British horror magazine called "The Dark Side" has been accused of numerous acts of plagiarism. In fact, the webmaster of Naschy.com has made a website devoted to providing evidence for the allegations of literary theft.

The people behind Winterbeast are currently working on a new horror movie called Hooked. I even managed to find some cast and crew hiring information online. I sincerely hope that the filming goes much smoother than it did during the making of Winterbeast and that this won't be a "bad on purpose" film.

AD Vision, often known as ADV Films, has announced it is going to sell all of its assets to Japanese company Sentai Filmworks and a group of corporations registered by their former senior vice president of business and legal affairs. One of said corporations, Section23 Films, seems to be getting the most attention in the stories on the sale.

Although primarily known for their anime releases, I'm sure that many readers will remember when ADV had quite a library of live-action science fiction and horror films, from classics like Destroy All Monsters and the 90's Gamera trilogy to relative obscurities like Pulgasari and Lady Battlecop. In fact, I had always hoped that library would have carried them through the recession and the (in my opinion) eventual crash of the anime market. Especially since they survived what many viewed as a "near death" experience by selling off their old office supplies. "After all," I had thought at the time, "if they can survive that, they can survive anything!" ADV will be missed.

UPDATE: It turns out that I was mistaken and ADV isn't technically dead. Go here for more details.

The Fright Haven (previously mentioned on GdL) is closed for 2009, but will reopen in 2010. Happily, another Connecticut-based haunt called Rails to the Darkside appears to still be in operation.

Music Choice has recently started playing Halloween music on their "Sounds of the Seasons" channel. FINALLY!

Finally, there's a company called "Frankenstein's Recycling." It's not major news, but I thought they had a cool name and needed some more recognition.

Friday, October 23, 2009

All Hail the King


My memory can be as rusty as an old shovelhead sometimes so forgive me if I retread old ground here.

Metal.

Ah, Metal.  Metal Documentaries have covered why metal is the music most likely to lend itself to darker themes (tuning, the perfect fifth, Black Sabbath etc.) and I encourage you to seek them out on your own for further explanation. Metal is the music that I listen to when I want to feel like I am made up of broken glass, atomic explosions and righteousness. It appeals to a different chemical balance.

I haven’t covered much metal on site. Partially due to that I don’t listen to much metal on a regular basis, partially because a lot of that I listened to during my metal wasn’t spooky. Spooky music like The Crimson Ghosts, Lugosi’s Morphine and The Cramps are of a different flavor of fun than Iron Maiden. 

And, I don’t listen to that much metal all that often. Even when my hair was at its longest, I was never that deep into the Metal sphere. I was the casually dressed at the headbanger ball while my teenage friends blasted out the heavy from car stereos and bedrooms alike. I picked up two albums that I sincerely enjoyed: the live Emperor release and ‘Beneath the Remains,’ by Sepultura (which I find appropriate for a gravedigger, no?) 

Emperor is as black metal as I go. I try to keep to the Americas and the classic UK bands if I ever listen to them now. Mastadon. Strapping Young Lad.  Sabbath. Call it some hometown pride.

But, if there’s someone who I can say is king of spooky metal, it’s the great Dane himself, King Diamond.

From my novice perspective, Metal takes its horror seriously. A lot of bad metal takes its horror way too seriously.  But for my tastes, Diamond gets the balance of sincere horror, spooky and theatrics down right in his music. From his opus ‘Abigail,’ to 2007’s ‘Give Me Your Soul…Please?”, Diamond’s flair for dramatic storytelling in his music makes him a good  addition to your spooky library.

Problems I can immediately see with having him as an addition to your Halloween mixer: No singles and his falsetto. Chances are that King Diamond album you just bought is a concept album, each track a different piece of a longer story. The first Diamond record is more like the traditional album, home

Plus, though he has relied less on it over the later releases, Diamond is known for one of the stronger falsettos in Metal.  King can hit a high pitch.

Can’t say I know him personally, but from posted interviews and interaction, he comes off as a humble and gracious person. It’s a strange life to live when you make your living wearing make-up. I get the impression that he knows that. There’s a visible gratitude for each and every fan that helps him continue with his art.

Throwing on a King Diamond record in between the Misfits or your Psychobilly comp is a nice way to keep your ears feeling fresh. I highly recommend it.   ‘Abigail,’ ‘Them’ and ‘Give Me Your Soul…Please?’ are my suggestions for this season. ‘The Puppet Master’ is a good album but it’s more for Christmas. Seriously.

If you have any metal recommendations, post a comment.





Son of shameless cross-promotion

As was the case last year, our friends at URBMN have put together a humorous article devoted to oddball costumes and masks. I'm bringing this up both to let readers know that "Costume Crazyness" wasn't a one-off article and that the series is continuing despite URBMN's shift of focus toward television reviews.

Speaking of cross-promotion, I want to give credit to some sites that have given our readership a boost as of late:

Monster Rally
Countdown to Halloween
Secret Mountain Laboratory

Thanks for all of your help!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tales of Uncialle

Back when I originally started looking for Halloween stuff online, Uncialle's Halloween Darksite was one of the first few of my discoveries. I was both intrigued and amazed by her instructions on making a homemade pond monster and mummy and faithfully visited the site every month hoping for new prop instructions. But one day, the updates stopped coming. Disappointed, I eventually moved on and mostly forgot about the site.

Years later, I was thrilled to find that Uncialle had merely switched over from Geocities to her own hosted domain rather than abandon the site and that all of the my favorite how-tos were still there.

To celebrate my rediscovery, I thought I'd share Uncialle's "Tips for Fast Haunting" and some directions on making two fairly easy props with you all. They're perfect for any "Oh no, Halloween is almost here and I haven't done anything to prepare" moments you might experience in the week to come. Happy haunting!

Headstone City

http://www.headstonecity.com/gravediggers.html

Gravedigger's Local 552:
n. Based in North Carolina, Local 552 was first formed in 1826. Originally consisting of 5 members, the union has reached over 50 members throughout the 19th and 20th century. Gravedigger's Local 552 is responsible for all graves that are dug in and around Kill Devil Hills. In 1926, Local 552 celebrated its centennial. To mark the occasion, the members held an anniversary party at the first cemetery the union first dug, back in 1826. The members drew straws and whoever drew the short straw would spend the night in the cemetery alone. Henry Walker was the unlucky winner and slept on the grave that was first dug 100 years prior. The following morning, the other members arrived at the cemetery and found no sign of their friend. Instead, Henry Walker's name was carved on the tombstone and Henry was never seen or heard from again. There have been claims that Henry's ghost still haunts the local cemetery and you can hear him laughing among the tombstones.

Great shirts on their main site. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't discount these deals!

GdL favorite Barrett's Haunted Mansion is once again offering a discount admission coupon on their official website. However, some restrictions apply (see coupon for details).

Visit Borders is the official coupon site of Borders Booksellers. The coupons change regularly, so don't fret if the coupon you see today doesn't suit your needs. I was at Borders a few weeks ago and they had some markdowns on many horror DVDs, including Phantasm for $8.99. Slap a coupon on top of that and you've got an even better deal!

Speaking of Halloween sales, Amazon has an entire section of their website devoted to their various Halloween promotions.

For any New Englanders reading this, I highly recommend subscribing to the various Newbury Comics online newsletters if you haven't done so already. Not only will you get a lot of cool news and contests, but they often throw in some handy coupons. Of particular interest is the "20% off any Halloween item" they sent out this week. Well, 20% of any Halloween item that isn't on sale and isn't a CD or DVD. See coupon for further details.

Finally, Union Fellow Halloween Forum has an entire folder devoted to various sales, discounts and coupons. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Sometimes, I just love my town.

The Grove Street Cemetery has a wonderful entrance, with the words "The Dead Will Be Raised" carved across the gate. It adds a little spooky to the town, which can be kind of a bore. 































Of course, the locals also contribute. This is a husk of bark that bears a resemblance to a horned demon (or you could see your favorite uncle) that one of the locals decided would look great hanging off of a steel bolt from a telephone pole.











































Fantastic.

Mask-Making 101

Ah, latex masks. Halloween and horror movies simply wouldn't be the same if they didn't exist. In fact, it was once thought that such masks could replace makeup entirely! But although many of us drool over such masks, sometimes the price of one is scarier than the creature it depicts.

So why not make on yourself? If you (or someone you know) can make a good-looking clay sculpture, you're already part of the way there. Although the initial investment in obtaining all the necessary materials might seem expensive now, the end results could potentially save you money normally spent on masks in the long run. To learn more, please visit the mask-making tutorials at the following linked sites:

Haunters Hangout Mask Making
Spooky Blue's Halloween Haunt Projects
The MonsterMakers: How to Make a Monster!

Pages 14-21 of the Google Books preview for The Monster Makers Mask Makers Handbook by Arnold Goldman also give some great mask-making tips.

After you finish making your own latex masks, you're going to need to know how to store and care for them. Thankfully, the Mask Dr has a handy online guide available.

Or if all that seems too complicated and time-consuming for you, there's always paper masks.

As noted in yesterday's "How-To" post, 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 any links on those sites (or constructing a project that's detailed on them). Attempt at your own risk.