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


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.

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.