A Revisit To The Sorrel-Weed House

Much like a NASA space launch, the Halloween Hell Show had a few delays but the countdown continued and here we are on launch day! A successful one at that. For the next 25 days I will bringing you Halloween fun like guest appearances from amazing people, reviews on all things macabre, movie chats, travel locations and even trying a live broadcast on Halloween! Not sure why I am doing this on Halloween since everyone will be out but my buddy Travis and I are committing.

I recap all of this in one breath at the beginning of this video. I strive for brevity because watching a twenty-minute video of me should include sharks, lasers, a questionable parachute and puppies. I do have puppies, though. (So much poop)

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Tonight, I am bringing you with me as I revisit a location that actually made me change my opinion of what goes bump in the night. I wrote about this particular experience a couple of years ago and ever since I have had this weird fascination to….haunts? I don’t know. All I do know is I had something happen to me, it was witnessed by people and I was able to take a picture of it. Read the original post here to get caught up.

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I lucked out and got to take a private tour with a few people and talk with a young tour guide who knows all too well the dark history that the Sorrel-Weed house has. In fact, just a week before she was scratched while giving a tour in the basement. It was nice being able to candidly speak with someone who not only was an expert in the history of the property but had first hand accounts of what lurks in the basement.

So, now that you think I am crazy, please watch the first of many Halloween Hell Show videos as we travel around the country celebrating the macabre of this 2015 Halloween season. Also, a big thanks to Thomas Boatwright and his incredible artwork. He created and animated the intro video for the VeggieMacabre’s Halloween Hell Show. I also got to hangout with him and he’s a pretty swell guy.

Enjoy the show because this is our time of the year! Add a pumpkin beer while you’re at it.

A Visit To Camp Crystal Lake

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A few weeks ago I took a trip up to North New Jersey for a meeting with a client and was able to tie it into an awesome weekend visiting Jay from The Sexy Armpit and Matt from Dinosaur Dracula. I have been buds with these guys for years and now that I think about it, a whole decade! Jay was such an incredible host and the fun we all had together really can’t be matched. There is some kind of magic that takes place when three Halloween nuts get together with booze and tacos. A lot of tacos.

While getting to see the magic behind Jay and Matt’s genius was something that can keep a long time fan on a high for quiet some time, I want to talk about a trip we took that Saturday. The season had not officially begun but the Purple Stuff podcast was well under way entering its third show that evening. The air was still summer but in our hearts it was cool, gray and a touch spooky. We were on our way to the filming location of a much-loved movie, Friday the 13th which was located about an hour northwest in  a town called Blairstown.

On the way there we listened to Jay’s amazing Halloween soundtrack and I was able to geek-out listening to Matt and Jay discuss ideas, Halloween news and nostalgic stories. Without getting into details, it was a treat for a longtime reader. We took the rental car and Jay was able to fight the notorious New Jersey drivers without incident and got us to the little town unscathed. And looking back, it was a pretty easy drive in comparison to other places I have lived, especially on a Saturday afternoon.

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Right away we started to recognize certain buildings and landmarks from a visual study Jay and I did earlier in the morning while watching Friday the 13th. One of the first spots was the diner which was a biggie on the list. Before we left, we all agreed that pie and coffee had to be eaten there, preferably in the spot where the camp head counselor sat before he was gutted. But that goal proved to be a little lofty. When we pulled in to the parking lot we could see a silhouette of a waitress waving us off. Jay was only trying to turn around but still there was something weird about that diner and although there were definitely people inside, it didn’t seem open.

Pulling out of the parking lot everyone decided we would hit the Diner on the way out and head to the town center to take photos and talk to the locals. But that’s when it started to get even weirder. There weren’t really any locals around to talk to! It was as if there was a huge festival in a neighboring town and everyone went there. It was a few days after I finished reading Stephen King’s Salem Lot and brother, it was almost identical to the description. Walking past the empty little shops and business, I couldn’t help but imagine sleeping vampires covered in musty tarps slumbering in the back rooms. I am sure everyone else was thinking the town was just boring.

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Nothing has changed since the filming back in 1980. NOTHING! The bank is still in stone, the little road that the doomed hitchhiking girl strolled down is there and even the store front Crazed Ralph gummed, “You’re all dooomed!” is still there in an untouched perfection. It was everything a fan of the Friday the 13th fan could ask for.

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While taking an uncomfortably quiet stroll through the fifty yards of the town center we did come upon a thrift shop. Bingo! Well, kind of. It was a weird little shop and only certain things were for sale. Judging from the quality of the stuff, I don’t know what they were holding out for. But it was still neat to see Matt and Jay do their thing which make great future posts we all love.

We got some pictures, I took video but really, within thirty minutes we saw it all. It was time to try the Diner again. As strange as our first encounter was before, it got even stranger when we tried to go in. There were clearly people inside but the doors were locked. It actually didn’t even seem like a fully operating diner but rather a crappy rundown place full of crockpots and hotplates to appease the ragged local. Again, the jerk of a waitress shooed us away from the window. So we just walked across the street to a tavern.

This was a welcome break but when we walked in it felt like the record scratched and everyone turned around to see the “outlanders”. We sat down and ordered a few drinks and fried artichokes while conversing with a sweet waitress. Again, our eyes scanned the surroundings for signs that this place was in the movie and Matt brought to mind that this place could be the tavern from F13 Part 2. A quick search on the phone led to nothing because there was absolutely no service in the bar. So I ventured outside to find out that no, F13 Part 2 was filmed in Connecticut. Bummer.

After a rest we returned to the car in search of the crown jewel, Camp Crystal Lake! The real spot is a boy scout camp called “Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco” and believe it or not, parents send their kids there. All we wanted to see was the lake and possibly recreate the Jason/canoe scene. But there was a problem.

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The winding road through the dense woods soon became littered with “No Trespassing” signs as we got closer to the camp. By the time we reached the camp entrance it was as welcoming as Check Point Charlie dividing East and West Europe. It was evident that if you even thought of getting out of your car, there was a good chance of getting shot, arrested, eaten by a bear or having your arm ripped off and beaten to death by Jason. All things that we were not willing to spoil the weekend with. But we did find a creek that certainly came from the lake! That is something, right?

Did I forget to mention we were quite possibly chased out-of-town by a crazed person in a pickup? That happened too. Jay is a pretty big dude so at least if things turned sour he was on our side. Still, it added a bit of psychopath to a setting that needed one.

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So, we left the sleepy little town of Blairstown and headed back to civilization richer for having seen the location of one of our favorite movies. On the way home we stopped at a dollar store and I saws in person Matt and Jay and their search for Halloween gold. The day was one to remember and started this Halloween season off with a bang.

Later that night, after a few hundred drinks, I tried to film an intro for the video from earlier that day and boy did I muck that up! I could not for the life of me remember the name Blairstown. I kept wanting to say Birketsville or Blairsville or Chicago. Anything but the right name, Blairstown, so Jay came in and saved the day. What a natural.

Big thanks to Dinosaur Dracula and The Sexy Armpit! Fantastic people and great friends. Now watch me fuck this video up six ways to Sunday.

 

 

Summer Evening Storms: Ain’t What They Used To Be

Middle school is a tough time for many kids, especially boys. I say boys because the transition from elementary to middle requires something that we, as a male species hate, and that is results. It’s true, little boys go kicking and screaming when it comes to the period of growing up. I know I did.

The summer of 1991 was a pretty huge change for me. I left the comforts of a cush’ fifth grade life to that of an accelerated sixth grader who, in reality, probably shouldn’t have been. A standard sixth grader would have been just fine. And as if that wasn’t hard enough, my family got transferred to Phoenix, Arizona smack in the middle of the school year. It was a royal suck.

Being the new kid, I didn’t really have any friends besides this kid named Reed, who was the most popular kid in school and lived down the street from me. During school he would pretend not know me but after he would always show up at my house ready to talk me into some sort of mischief. And when I say mischief, I mean stuff that would end up on Fox News today because, lets face it, we live in a shaming society. Let me list a few activities for you because we were complete little assholes.

  • Throw oranges from the citrus trees over the highway barrier into traffic.
  • Get into ROCK WARS in the desert with other kids
  • Snipe small animals with BB guns
  • Roll smoke bombs into garages of those who kept them cracked open for their cats
  • T.P. teacher’s houses
  • Hit golfers with water balloons launched from a water balloon launcher
  • And much more

So, when peer pressure got old I would retreat to the house and build monster models while watching movies that I knew would haunt me as soon as dusk came. I believe that is sort of the way I have always run my life. Sure it feels good now but damn if I won’t pay for it later.

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My love of the macabre would rear its head especially during the Arizona evening storms that would light the sky and rumble the foundations of the house. The heat of the day with a mix of northern cool air would produce some of the most fantastic electrical storms I have ever seen and while most kids probably thought nothing of it, I was buried under my blankets, counting the distance of the storm by the Poltergeist method of seconds between lightning and thunder. And we all know what happens when the storm got closer.

I remember riding my bike home for dinner and staring off into the distance over the mountains and seeing the ominous clouds build in the distance like billowing army, marching closer and closer as the afternoon-evening transformed to night. The wind chimes would clang as the wind slowly increased force until it sounded like a spectral howl, wailing with creepy peaks and valleys. As the sun set, an orange hue set upon the whole house and the distraction of dinner in front of the TV was welcome but in the back of my head, night was coming and soon the storm would be here.

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My Mom hated these electrical storms and would demand the TV be unplugged at the first rumble of thunder for fear of a power surge. It supposedly happened to my parents back when I was an infant and ever since then, no matter what size surge protector we had, the TV was going off. That meant off to bed to dwell in my thoughts.

You see, I didn’t have any brothers or sisters growing up and with my Dad always gone on trips, it was just me and Ma at the house. With a Mom who was as nervous as a dog on the 4th of July, I was pretty much left to my own overactive imagination. And as a horror goon, that was pretty grim. Constantly I would see images of Regan’s horrid face from the movie The Exorcist as she would peer from the window when the lightning lit the sky. Why oh why did I watch that from the hallway when Dad had it on HBO earlier in the year? (That’s a rhetorical question because back then, that’s how every sixth grader saw The Exorcist.)

These nights were pretty tough because every ghoul and spook seemed to creep into my thoughts and cause me to hear and see things that just weren’t there. Even passages of books read for fun at the pool would come to haunt me these evenings. “We dare not look out the back window of the house for that’s where the dead wander and rap upon our door.”- Bell Witch

I really hated myself during those few agonizing nights but as soon as the sun came up, I would completely forget the terrors which plagued me just hours before. Nope, it was a new day with no cares in the world. That is until four o’clock came again.

Today, I am still the twisted little kid who loves to get spooked by movies and stories but I have come to love these evening summer storms. Like Eddie Rabbit says, it washes my cares away and even relaxes me into repose. My dog, however, doesn’t agree but I can be the comfort to whatever he is thinking. I am sure it’s not the Tar Man coming out of the closet but who knows? He watches all these silly movies with me now and I don’t know what damage that has done.

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I hope you get these summer storms and if so have grown to appreciate them as much as I have. Just remember, the little things in life are what makes everything worth it.

FYI, big stuff coming and as a hint, REVIEW THE WORLD is visiting again! Badda Bing! The What The Hell Show begins!

Art, Your House Is On Fire!

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It’s a sad thing when a pop culture icon dies but it’s especially sad to us mid-thirty year olds who quoted their lines in everyday life for laughs and even just a common bond. Such is the case of the Canadian-born actor Rick Ducommun who we lost in early June of this year. If you are not familiar with the name you might be familiar with his character Art Weinberg in the dark comedy/cult classic, The ‘Burbs. I have to be honest, this hit me right in the feels even though we really haven’t seen much of him since the late nineties. I will explain.

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I first saw The ‘Burbs back in 1990, while home sick from school. On the way home from the doctor (who always gave me a damn shot no matter what I was in for) we stopped at the video rental store to pick up a couple of movies for the mandatory bedrest. The two picks for that day were Bedknobs and Broomsticks and of course, The Burbs. BedKnobs because of the obvious ghost armies but I am not sure why I chose The ‘Burbs? Usually my sick movies are the old standbys like Return Of The Jedi or Iron Eagle.

I was adventurous and boy that was a mistake because I hated that movie. The dark themes and bizarre characters where just too much to take for a fever-laden kid. The Exorcist cameo didn’t help, either. No, it wasn’t until a few years later that I gave it another try when it was the CBS Friday Night Feature. Perhaps it was my age or maybe just the mood, but I loved it. Even my Dad, with the one-liners and musical score, became a fan of Joe Dante’s film. Since then on, it was the most quoted movie between the two of us and just about all of those lines came from Rick’s character, Art Weingartner.

The line “Listen to your wife? Who listens to their wife?!?” has gotten my Dad in more trouble with Mom than the time we stained the deck during a ten-mile an hour crosswind only to later notice we also stained her herb garden. We have many common bonds but the movie The ‘Burbs really is a language all our own. Even today I can say, “”Hey Ray, what are ya’ll eating in there?’ and he knows that means “what’s for dinner?”.

So now, fast forward to 2001. I was in a LRS unit, deployed to a little stinkhole of a town in somewhere-Bosnia. I really lucked out in this unit because we were pretty much left to our own accord without much oversight. Our missions were both clandestine and conventional which meant sometimes we were in civilian clothes roaming the urban areas gathering intelligence and sometimes we were doing target acquisition and reconnoissance for Special Operators who did spook operations. It was dangerous, exciting and beat the Hell out of a Korea deployment or large base operations. Still to this day, I take a break to think from the dull daily drudge of my current career and it is hard to believe that was my life at one time.

Sometimes, however, the downtime could get so boring it would drive a person to insanity. With a fire base smaller than my backyard, keeping ones self entertained was almost as challenging as the operations. We couldn’t carry many personal items but we did have a couple of laptops to watch DVDs so when it was snowing sideways or the smell of goat was too much to take we would hunker down and watch one of the ten movies we had to escape.

Our medic was one of my best friends on the planet and we shared a love for my contributing DVD, The ‘Burbs. I swear we watched it at least sixty times that deployment and trust me, that love was infectious. Before we knew it our whole team was dropping quotes like “If I find one more, I’m going to catch him and staple his ass shut!” to “It’s not us, Art! It’s them!”. The locals would look at us and nervously smile when our ‘Burbs talk would start to become more of a theatrical rendition. It helped make everything a bit more tolerable.

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We even took our ‘Burbs obsession a step further by actually incorporating it into a real code for an operation and believe it or not, I have proof. Many times we would use closer range radios when ops would require each team member to be in contact with each other and not have to use Army radio tact. That meant other people could possibly be listening since the personal radios didn’t have the code protection the bigger ones did so our intentions, locations and who we are had to protected. Enter The ‘Burbs quotes which were broken out in every possible communicative need you would need for a mission. And it worked so well, it was almost like pig latin. Once you got used to it, it flowed.

Here’s an example:

The crows are too big for the bird feeder“: Suspicious people or movement

Pop ’em“: Engage

I’d rather chew broken glass“: Do not engage

We broke down specific scenes for scenarios that would or could be experienced outside the wire. Not that we talked in 100% ‘Burbs talk but if an enemy or someone who is a bit nosey were to listen in they would definitely be wondering what the hell we were talking about. And it worked unbelievably well.

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My Grandmother kept all my old military items. From uniforms to awards to paperwork, she has bins and bins of it. Slowly, now that I am settled, I have been transferring them down to the house and when I am feeling a bit nostalgic, I peak inside to remember some great times and some down right terrifying times. That’s when I came upon a few field pads I “forgot” to  destroy when we left country. Usually, you had to burn anything that had sensitive material before you reticulated back to the States but I managed to forget these notes because somehow I knew I would be sitting in my living room showing people that The ‘Burbs actually did play a part of something besides cult film history.

Going back through the history of what this film has meant to me might be silly to most and that is understandable. Maybe that is why Rick’s passing has been a tear-jerker to me?

What am I talking about, of course it is! He was one heck of an actor and we are so lucky he shared his talent with us. I always love the actors who never had any serious roles but somehow managed to be more memorable than the Sean Penn’s and Al Pacino’s of our time. Actually Sean Penn is a bag of dicks but still. I love the ones like Rick Ducommun who made us laugh, and ad-libbed his way into our hearts with lines that you could mumble in an elevator and if someone responded, they were your friend for life.

Goodnight, Rick. Good show.

This Is No Dream! This Is Really Happening!

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Yes, Mia Farrow, this is really happening. Coming this July, The What The Hell Show goes live and soon you will all be subjected to my mind, wit and poor Final Cut skills. This has been in motion since its conception last August and now we are at the final countdown for launch. So what to expect?

Well, the original shows like Beers With Movie Sauce and Spooky Carolina will still be going on (actually better produced and with more people) but it will be under the umbrella of The What The Hell Show. Expanding from there we will be running a weekly podcast interviewing neat people from freelance writers, actors, fellow webmasters to local rock stars and all around fun people. These will be able to be downloaded free and streamed live. Also you can watch reviews, the normal Halloween Countdown and other random fun videos to spend your work hours watching instead of doing your job. I am here for you.

There are other people (much smarter than me) who are helping to make this program a reality and I cannot thank them enough. Especially since they take beer and food as payment. So, sit back and watch  Will, the responsible one and Bill, the irresponsible one, talk about what is happening.

Also, I just learned how to clone so ignore the difference in lighting. Give this old dude a break.

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