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.

tumblr_lo2yeeUCPh1qi4nyc

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.

zzz the storm is coming Poltergeist 11099456_gal

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.

cosmo

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!

Beers with Movie Sauce: Poltergeist & Foothills Brew

Okay, so I have been gone for thirty-two years and okay I have announced the start of a killer project and made everyone wait. I know that was rude but trust me I am back in with vengeance. By vengeance I mean back with some free time to post a few entries before work rears its head and eats time like may dog eats carrots. The life we live.

So you will notice that I have ponied up and purchased a Vimeo account because have found if you are posting a video waxing nostalgia about horror flicks, yapping about beer AND chugging ghost pepper sauce, you need time. The copyright nazis of YouTube and the small space of VideoPress just doesn’t work. So, if you want to browse the hundreds of videos I am doing for “Beers and Movie Sauce” as well as “Spooky NC”, that’s the place to check them out other than here at Veggiemacabre, of course.

Now, on to the show. Tonight we are chatting about the 1982 classic directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist. I loved this movie going up and when it comes to things that goes bump in the night, my mind still questions if people only moved the head stones. A spooky thriller that grossed millions and possibly cursed cast members to their doom, this flick holds up even by today’s standards.

While we chat about why Poltergeist spooked us we are drinking the Winston-Salem’s own, Carolina Blonde from the good people at Foothills Brewery. It’s a good one folks and one I have a little pride in as a Winston local. And finally, we set it on fire with the new Texas Pete XXX hot sauce. A perfect Saturday night.

So sit back and enjoy. It knows what scares you.

Touched By the Ethereal Plane

Life is what you make of it and sometimes you just have to jump at certain chances. This weekend was one of those chances and I could not say no. You’ll see why.

This past weekend I got to hangout with the crew of the show Paranormal State for an investigation at the renown Sorrel-Weed house down in Savannah, Georgia. That alone was a pretty cool thing to do but what happened later into the investigation, I will never forget. It is definitely something that will stay with me for life. Probably should not have power lunged in a provoking nature.

I think every haunted house that is a tourist attraction in Savannah or Charleston seems to have the same premiss; blah blah civil war hospital blah blah slave house blah blah distressed widow’s suicide…and on and on. I guess that all makes for pretty good stories but no matter how many times I visit, I never really get “spooked”. True, a number of years ago I did have an experience in Savannah but so much time has passed, the thrill is gone. I honestly can’t even remember the specifics. This time was different. This time I caught proof. I think.

Before I get into the investigation part I must say Elfie, Serge and Ryan are absolute delights. They are awesome people who truly take their passion to a high level of professionalism in this field. These are not the people who turn a blind eye to very much and it’s very refreshing to see how they rule out all possibilities before turning to the supernatural for an explanation.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 1.38.26 PM

So, I could go on and on about hanging out with the chaps of Paranormal State but I am really wanting to get to the down right creepy. After a tour of a cemetery and a nice dinner downtown it was time to get locked in the Sorrel-Weed house with these guys and try to get spooked. To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to being locked in an old house from midnight to 3am especially with beach and beer just a short drive away. But I committed to doing this and I had to ask myself when would a person get to do this in present company? Not often.

IMG_0163

Inside we gathered and got a little history of the place but I was more drawn to the Robert E Lee painting. It was gigantic and probably priceless. Actually, I just wanted to see if his eyes followed me like an old Scooby Doo cartoon. He didn’t.

Soon we turned off all the lights and broke into groups. It doesn’t matter what you believe, when you can’t see in front of your face, the mind will play tricks on you. Every sound is amplified and every slight movement can be exaggerated. It’s hard to stay focused when you can’t get the movie Poltergeist out of your head.

IMG_0172

We broke into two groups and Serge led us down to the basement. I didn’t think of it but before you start shooting photos with blinding flashes it’s important to say “flash”. I had to apologize…a lot. All these pictures from here on were taken in total darkness. That’s important to keep in mind especially with a certain few that no one can explain.

Of course if you have read any of my older posts about being in notably “haunted” areas, I always break into a power lunge. I can’t explain why but it is a tradition and when dealing with the paranormal and superstition, it’s best not to break tradition. This may have been a maneuver that did not go over well with the permanent residences.

IMG_0175

What followed next, I will say, surprised me. We sat in a small group for a while down in the basement and listened to Serge talk about techniques and reasons for certain team practices. It was pretty neat but I didn’t feel out-of-place or spooked in the least. It was just a house that smelled like mildew.

Then Serge asked if I would feel comfortable sitting in the next room alone while the group left. I agreed to do that. Like I said, I wasn’t feeling weirded out or nervous so sitting in a closed room in the dark wasn’t a problem. Until…

IMG_0183

The first picture is a bit blurry but you can see most of the room from this angle. I was sitting on an old couch and to the right was a chimney with another empty room separated by two back sheets. On the left was another black sheet separating a small storage closet. I didn’t really know what to do because the silence was deafening, you couldn’t see a thing and I knew there was a camera with a voice recorder actively recording so for the first few minutes all I did was sit in silence. After awhile, though, I began to talk and snap pictures feeling just a tad silly. That’s when something started to happen.

IMG_0184

 

 

After I posed a question about our mortality and what it is like to be dead (stupid stupid question!) something rushed from the left side of me to the right, sat on the arm of the couch and it felt like an index finger and thumb squeezed my ear. It was so fast and so violent I jumped up and before I knew it I was out the door in a cold sweat. The team rushed to me and I couldn’t even explain but they saw my reaction from the cameras and knew something was happening.

The next two photos are what I captured right before I experienced…whatever that was. I didn’t see them until the next morning and it was both thrilling and unnerving. It sucks I didn’t think to look at them until then but I was so spun up I couldn’t think.

IMG_0187

 

I looked at this for hours completely dumbfounded. I must have taken thirty pictures in a totally darkened bathroom trying to recreate this photo doing everything from putting my fingers over the lens to blocking the flash. It always comes out reddish or skin toned. Also I was sitting on the couch taking pictures holding the camera at a half an arm’s length away from my body. It is impossible to get a shadow unless the flash is behind me. It’s a dark shadow that moved so fast and fucking touched me. That’s all I can possibly believe. And it’s more than a coincidence after asking such a stupid question.

The rest of the night was kind of a blur. We did EVP sessions and I took more photos but after that happened, I was a little spooked and ready to be in a hotel bed.

I will write more on this after I go through all photos and video but I needed to post this. It was a great time but I think for paranormal hunting, I will leave it to the pros and safely watch it on TV. Like right now!

See? Every time I turn the tube on Paranormal State is on! I am happy to watch it from a far.

I know there are plenty of skeptics that laugh at this and can come up with hundreds of reasons for these photos. They are not dust orbs, though. That shit happened. And I look forward to see what’s on the video. But for now, I will be doing this type of investigating.

Beer hunting!

I’ll write more on this later. Check out the Paranormal State reruns on the Bio Channel and A&E. They are a hoot. A big thanks to Elfie, Ryan and Serge. Thanks for not laughing at me when I ran out of the room like I had a rabid squirrel in my pants.

 

They’re Baaaaack! Fall Beer Review 2012

I know what you’re thinking so don’t even say it; it’s too early. While it is too early to chat Halloween it is not too early to yap about Fall Beer because, shit, it’s already out in the market! I declare this my official duty to tell everyone what is available and drinkable that is orange, black and alcoholic. You can say it’s a silly hobby but I say your haircut is silly. I kid, it looks fine.

The first review of 2012 I bring you Blue Moon’s annual Autumn sample pack. I have reviewed these in the past but this year they did a little something different. Listening to their fan base, the company allowed a select number of Blue Moon drinkers to choose this year’s flagship beer and man, they did good. They did real good. I only review this pick because to review the others would be dull and to be honest, nine minutes of me yapping is too much. Let me present you with this year’s Blue Moon Fall Beer that is 100% Great Pumpkin: Caramel Spiced Apple Ale.

P.S. The new intro song is actually named “Veggiemacabre Reviews” and that makes things a bit more official. Or something like that.

Where Did You Go? Mothers

Man, it has been a while since I have written a “Where Did You Go” post. So, as I sit at the work station for Wake Forrest Medical School waiting for them to redo their entire database I think I will use this time to be productive. Let me pay homage to the ones who birthed some of the cinemas greatest characters. And by moms, I mean the ones I care about and probably no one else does.

Lane Meyer’s mom in the movie, Better Off Dead, is about as amazing of a character as you can get. Her complete absence from reality, alternative homemaking skills and her unrelenting sweetness makes her so enjoyable to watch I just wish she could have had more of a dominating role in the film. Let’s see…she wanted to cutback the grease of bacon so she boiled it, dressed as a reindeer on Christmas morning, bought Lane a stack of TV dinners for his Christmas present, improvised a recipe that was wet from the rain and cooked something to life, and invited the neighbors to dinner to welcome the new French foreign exchange student to America by making French food. You know…”fronch fries, fronch bread, fronch dressing..”? Simply amazing. She was perfectly balanced dumb, ignorant, crazy and sweet. She’s like the buddy’s mom in high school who you could get to buy you beer but never did because the thought of hurting her feelings was not worth the fun. I love her.

Played by actress Kim Darby, she has had a long career dating back to the 60’s and has been in many TV shows like Murder She Wrote (shocker) the 1970’s classic Fantasy Island and films to include a major role in True Grit with John Wayne and was Debra Strode in the hilarious Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers. She has been nominated for an Emmy and a few Golden Globes in her time and has had a long career teaching acting at UCLA. Currently she resides in LA and was married to James Stacy who was the bartender in the evil Disney movie Something Wicked This Way Comes. All in all, I know her best as that wack-a-do Mrs. Meyer who played an amazing role as mother to Lane and Badger Meyer, in Better Off Dead and that is why she is top of this list.

Oh boy Nancy’s mom, Marge Thompson, from the 1984 Nightmare On Elm Street was an inflatable dartboard when it came to being a parent but when it came to handling a child molester, she was got shit done. This chick lit the dude on fire and took his glove as a souvenir. It almost worked too had he not, you know, come back in the dreams of kids and killed them in their sleep. Doh!

The reason she is on this list is because of her complete naiveté and her love of all things vodka. Even when her daughter woke up from a nightmare in a hospital and produced the hat of Freddy Krueger, she was still in denial! Also she taught us the hazards of smoking in bed:

And doors can be used creatively.

The woman who played this drunken, twice killed, and living in denial mother is the great Ronee Blakely who almost won an Academy Award for her role in the movie Nashville, loosely based on the story of Loretta Lynne. She had been in a few films and TV shows through the 1970’s to 90’s but besides Nightmare to Elm Street, I only really care that she was in the Tales From The Darkside episode, “The False Prophet”, appeared in the forgettable 1987 Return to Salem’s Lot and sang back up vocals to Bob Dylan’s song “Hurricane”. Other than that, she will always be the lady who funneled vodka and sort of killed Freddy Krueger.

Diane Freeling from the movie Poltergeist is probably my favorite movie mom for a couple of reasons. One, she is just cool and hip. She seems like the mom who brings cupcakes to Carolann’s classroom, buy’s Robbie the cool sneakers that all the kids are wearing, makes sure Dana has condoms before she goes on a date because we all know she was pretty loose in the movie and remember to keep cold Coor’s beers in the fridge with tightly rolled joints for when Steve gets home from a hard day of work. Two, I love the way she didn’t lose her shit like I would have when this happened:

I would have “Hiesman-ed” over Carolann on my way out the door.

Diane Freeling was played by the beautiful JoBeth Williams and she is no stranger to brilliant acting. She made her debut just a couple of months before Poltergeist with Dustin Haufman in Kramer v Kramer and went on to do a number of big films like The Big Chill, Poltergeist II, and the Tim Allen abortion known as Jungle 2 Jungle. (Never trust a film, music group or insurance company with a number representing a preposition) Also she was most famous in the late 1970’s and early 80’s as her soap career as Brandy in the show Guiding Light. And know you know. Oh! And when I was looking up info on JoBeth the first site that came up was from Wikifeet; a whole site dedicated to celebrity feet photos.

We are going to end this one on a high note, folks! Good ol’ Doris from the movie we all love, Night of the Comet. She is the cliché mom we all hate. It’s obvious that she isn’t the birth mother to the two girls in the movie because she plays the role of a wicked stepmother to the T! Married to their dad who is a Green Beret on deployment to Honduras, she is throwing a comet party and letting every guy in the neighborhood get a free ride (if you know what I mean). Well, the youngest smart-ass girl gets a little pissed off when she sees her stepmom flirting with the neighbor, Chuck, and lets loose with one of the greatest lines in cinema history: “Jesus, Doris. You were born with an asshole you don’t need Chuck.” That line resulted in this series of events.

The lesson? Don’t slap in a punching contest. But don’t worry, Doris gets turned into Tang right after this scene.

Doris was brilliantly played by Sharon Farell and what a ride this lady had! She has been in Hollywood acting since 1959 and has been on such shows as My Three Sons, Matlock, THE VERY FIRST EPISODE OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, Freddy’s Nightmares and Emergency. Her movie roles were pretty extensive too but besides Night of the Comet the only other one I really care about is It’s Alive where she played the mother to Satan. Which, if this was another blog that would have taken the cake for her movie-mother roles. But not this one so go suck one!

I’m sorry. Don’t do that. You know I love you.

The Obligatory List That Needed To Be Listed

In trying to keep with the “Halloween Countdown” that has been going on since August, I suppose that I shall keep on target. The last time I tried to post this a couple Halloweens ago I could not narrow the list any shorter than thirteen-thousand so with careful deliberation I have crowned a lucky five to be THE MOST ANNOYING HORROR MOVIE CHARACTERS. Why five? Why not?


Ellie Creed. Ho boy, it was a tough one figuring out which character to choose from in the Stephen King movie Pet Semetary. The amount of over acting and down right bizarre overreactions throughout the film makes me squirm. Besides Jud, Zelda and the old stomachache complainer, there are no real people of substance. But of all the annoyances the surviving kid, Ellie Creed, takes the cake. If you have seen this movie you know what I am talking about. Don’t tell me you didn’t want her hit by the truck. This kid cried and whined for almost two hours and what do we get? Nothing. Not a shovel to the face nor a zombie bite to the ear. I guess we can take comfort that she had to live with the two dick-hole grandparents.

Judy Rose. Man, it was a tough choice between these two cousins in the 1990 remake, Night of the Living Dead. Both are hillbilly buffoons but her incessant screaming, horrible driving and the inability to understand that a zombie apocalypse  is happening when she goes shit-house-mad after Mr. Greggor takes a 30/30 round to the back of the head, makes her the obvious winner. I also hate two first names. The satisfying part though, is watching her and her cousin/boyfriend explode when they decide shooting off the lock to a gas pump was a good idea.

Pvt. Salazar of George Romero’s Day of the Dead. It is  possible to understand being in a bit of bullocks when the world is being overrun by blue faced zombies and you are attached to the worst national guard unit in the world but Pvt. Salazar is about as useless as giving Michael J Fox a shake weight. He is just a certifiable pussy is every sense of the imagination. He reminds me of the really skinny prick at a restaurant that has an above average wife and he keeps talking about how he hasn’t had a successful bowel movement in almost two weeks. Then he blows his nose at the table and leaves exactly a twelve percent tip. I’m glad he died.

Dana Freeling. I know. I know. The real life character is dead and many believe it was the curse from the movie but this post is not about the actors, it is about the characters. Dana Freeling, in one of my favorite movies, Poltergeist, was a self absorbed teenager that was either eating or snot-slobbering in terror. Oh, and she points out that there was a tornado in the back yard right after the rest of the family was just INSIDE OF IT! A captain of the obvious too. This picture above is a great compilation of her character. The world is coming apart, her family is being tormented by ghosts, they are about to be sucked into another universe and she shows up after, what looked to be, a very vigorous make-out session based on her neck and what is she doing? Screaming “WHAT IS HAPPENING” like a jack hole because she has only experienced maybe five percent of the horror in comparison to the rest of her family. What do you think is happening, Ass? A cookout? They should have listened to Robbie and driven away.

Constable Parkins. The sheriff that is suspicious of everyone in Salem’s Lot and only because they are not a weirdo Maine-inite. I don’t know why but he just gets under my skin and at the end of the movie, he runs away to leave the people at the mercy of “the monsta”. I believe he is also the inspiration for Chief Wiggum. But that may just be me. Actually, that is the entire reason I included him in this post.

So there you have it. I know there are hundreds more but I am in the middle of packing for a spooky trip that I can not wait to show you! So, I left you with five. Five. Five idiots. Five idiot foot long. God shoot me.

The Video Rental That Made Me Weird

I remember a time when a trip to the video rental store was a Friday night must that determined what I would be up to for that night and possibly Saturday night too. The whole process took almost an hour to decide what two hours I would sacrifice my youth on because in a store with nearly ten thousand movies, there was a high probability that you could end up with a doozie. That probably explains why Iron Eagle was rented close to two hundred times.  And Muppets Take Manhattan. And National Geographic documentary on Sharks. Anyway, I had a very particular genre of movies that didn’t leave much room for anything new and looking back, my parents must have really dreaded Friday nights in the living room. Who can possibly take that many volumes of Gallagher stand-up without going a little mad? But all that changed one fateful night in 1991 when I slipped the surly bonds of Blockbuster’s normal selection to touch the face of horror and forever alter my Friday nights…and sleeping habits. This video was True Hollywood Ghost Stories and it terrified me. And perhaps it took hold psychologically because even today in my Youtube search, when I found this on a whim, because everything is on Youtube, I had this overwhelming need to look behind me.

I am not sure why I rented this particular video. My idea of a scary movie back then was Harry and the Henderson’s so it’s a wonder how this ended up in the family VCR. Looking at the cheesy late-eighties graphics, there isn’t much to be too disturbed about but that is where this film takes a turn for the unsettling and really takes on the same creepiness as the popular show, Unsolved Mysteries, with that amazing Robert Stack voice. The cool part about this film is it has a documentary feel to it and it is composed mostly of clips of old to recent horror movies. The kicker, and reason it made my blood run cold, was how it explained the supposed real ghost cases that the movies were based on and behind the scene disturbances while making them. Now imagine, if you will, a young boy who had never seen a horror movie, getting all the scariest scenes grouped together and then learning about how they may be true. Yeah. There was a spike in the utility bill that month from the hall light being left on at night.

Meet the host, John Carradine. He wastes little time in the introduction to shift from zero to one hundred when he begins with how the film, and the scariest thing I have ever seen, The Exorcist  not only had evil happenings on the set but was based on a real event. I had never even heard of this movie until I rented Real Hollywood Ghost Stories so when I first laid eyes on that grotesque appearance and raspy voice of the possessed Regan, I think I just sat on the floor and cried. I’m not kidding, I was a little pussy as a youth. During little league baseball I once dove for cover from a pitch that ended up being a strike. So, seeing the most terrifying movie ever made and learning how it was true all in the time span of ten minutes, I shorted out. And this video rental only got worse from there.

The beginning of The Exorcist part was the author, William Peter Blatty and he described what his inspiration for writing the book that later became a movie many believed actually had the devil imprinted in the film itself. He said he witnessed a phone picking up off the receiver itself and come down onto the table. I am the believer that chairs, dishes, phones, shoes, anything that doesn’t live and moves on their own is so much scarier than a creature jumping out at you. So as a very impressionable kid hearing this account had me captivated. Especially when it was followed by this face:

Even as I type this I hate looking at that picture. It had such a profound effect on my as a child and it was many years later that I finally summoned the courage to rent it during a high school sleep over. But this introduction to The Exorcist  was enough for me at the time. Especially learning it was all based on true events, people died working on the film, it caused audiences to go crazy and not to mention the fact that I was looking at something beyond my comprehension to what I deemed scary. It’s like growing up training ponies and then someone puts you on a bull at a rodeo. I could have used a gradual transition to horror.

The next story was of a real haunting of a house in Hollywood owned by an affluent couple, the Sommer’s and it was so bad they ended up selling and becoming a world-wide media spectacle after their story was published in Life magazine. Even the photographer was a skeptic couldn’t explain why or how his film kept having shadowy figured in motion from frame to frame. I loved the story but of course, as a kid I took it all very seriously and every bump was a ghost and every settling noise was a poltergeist. This didn’t help much, especially when they tied in the story of Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hopper’s, Poltergeist, and how much like The Exorcist, people died from this film and the set even burned down. Great. I don’t think this would have been quite as impacting if it didn’t have detailed accounts from Life magazine and NBC reporters that witness all these events. Even though I was an impressionable kid, I knew the difference between loons and credible people. Especially the next “true” Hollywood account about a woman who was assaulted by what was to be believed to be an entity. Hence the title The Entity.

This didn’t go over well either because learning how the local university recorded and documented this story and it became a constant in the world of parapsychology, even studied at the prestigious Duke University, I did not like learning about rape-ghosts. Nope. It’s as if this video kept trying to out-do itself! Each movie and real case scenario was a segway to the next bone-chilling tale. Like how The Entity was a great shift to the world renown Amittyville Horror. And of course, I got a taste of it by only seeing the most frightening scenes.

Much like the Poltergeist scene, a rocking chair doing what it does best by itself is about as scary to me as it gets. Especially when a kid is interacting with it and when an adult comes interrupts everything goes quiet. That is until the adult goes tot the window only to be met with glowing eyes and pig grunts. From then on I did my best not to look outside at night which proved to be tough because I had an atrium in the center of my bedroom.

Well, this fateful video rental kept up the creeps and went into the legends of Hollywood and their ghostly encounters like Houdini and the original Superman who committed suicide. It’s odd that both the original and the motion picture Superman was named Reeves. Is that a well-known fact? Maybe it is. Anyway, the scares peter down a bit but it is still a pretty good watch, even for today’s standard.  They leave the viewer with a really cheesy music montage of a pretty corny song and truth be told, it’s absolutely perfect. It even manages to leave you with the warning not to take for granted you are ever alone in the dark. I took that warning to heart and kept the lights on almost through middle school.

You can watch the whole series on YouTube and I’ll start you off with the first part. Enjoy this as much as I still do. Sometimes it’s nice to look back and still get the same impression from when you were so very impressionable. Sleep tight!

Movies That Don’t Hold Their Tunes

You know what? I have not done a post like this in some time. I guess I forgot my roots or maybe it’s the fact that Matt from X-E hasn’t updated his site very much. Or at all. I will save that heartache for another day. But for now, someone has to pick up the flag and charge it ahead screaming, “I want people to read my opinions over shit that makes no difference!”. So today as I sit in my office, taking an earned brake from the stresses that stress others but not me, I will write about….movie themes that are scarier than the movie.

  1. “Laurie’s Theme” from the movie Halloween:

I love this theme in the movie Halloween. It had a way of creeping you out in sense that even though it was day, there was a sense of impending doom after nightfall. Well, that’s how I felt when I saw it on Channel 46, mid-October, one Saturday afternoon many years ago. Since then this little piano tune that John Carpenter created has brought many memories of hayride smells, cider, pumpkins and latex masks. The entire mood of autumn is in these few notes. That and the intro to The Great Pumpkin.

2. The Shining

I think I am in the majority that claims the movie The Shining was not as terrifying in the way it has been portrayed. You can ask almost anyone that hates horror movies and they will tell you The Shining is the exception. And it’s the exception because it is smart and tolerable to many cinematric-snobbies. (made both those words up)

The musical score, however, is bone chilling. Perhaps it is the foreboding, heavy brass that paints this picture that a small nuclear family is going face to face with a giant in the form of isolation, impassable roads, unlivable temperatures and a hotel with dark secrets. Or maybe it’s just the damn creepy wailing between the brakes in music. Regardless, it is hard to listen to alone at night and as far as I am concerned, way creepier than the film itself.

3. JAWS

Ok, I have an artistic license to contradict myself here and say that in this case, the music is not a scary as the movie was. But still, I think John Williams deserves an honorable mention for trying because no matter where I am; pool, lake, ocean, tub, sprinkler; this score is playing in my head.This has always been a theme for something or someone that is inevitably about to be devoured. Whether it is shark vs. man, lion vs. zebra, or me vs. broccoli, I owe John Williams kudos for giving predators the ultimate theme song.

And it’s PG?!?!?! We were a lot tougher back in the day, huh?

4. Amittyville Horror

The more I watch this movie the more I realize that this could have been made to be far more frightening. They tried to remake it a few years ago but I won’t even try to trash it because it’s not worth the efforts of my fingers. That being said I will give a standing ovation supported by a golf clap for the theme music. Very disturbing and like the theme to Steven Spielberg’s (Tobe Hooper, really) Poltergeist, kids singing “laa laa laa” is always unnerving. Especially when you have an overactive imagination like mine and you assume those are dead kids singing from your backyard at night.

By the way, the sequel is way more scary. It has possession, Catholic guilt, evil, incest, family violence and murder all wrapped into one hour and forty five minutes. Hooray for boobies. I don’t know…

Well, this was short and sweet but I felt that I needed to get something up and keep it in theme to what I love: all nonsense. And how annoying is it that YouTube redirects you to YouTube when you want to watch a video? Why can’t everything be how I want it?

Oh! And now I am in Moscow. Moscow, Idaho that is. Look it up because it might be the source for more “ripping on Idaho” posts. So far I like it a hell of a lot more that where I was but the other night I was almost accosted by interpretive dancers. No shit.

Where Did You Go? Part 8…Halloween

It has been a while since I have done one of these. But since we are less than a week away from Halloween I figured this would be a good time to add a new one. This time it will be all about October 31st. You see, Halloween is all about the scary movies for me. I can take or leave the candy, costumes and parties but when it comes to normal cable TV dedicating 24 hours to ghosts, ghouls and vampires, I come very close to taking off my pants and doing the Twist. Don’t worry, I watch them alone most of the time. So let us start off with one of my favorites.

“Oh! You’re so cool, Brewster!” Yeah, Charley was quite the hero in Fright Night 1 and 2. Even though he was a little high strung and his choice in a girlfriend was a little questionable. But still, his vigilance as a nosy neighbor payed off and call girls are free of death by vampire. Fear of STD’s, rape, murder, kidnapping and incarceration maybe, but vampires…no. Thanks to the heroics of Charley!

Charley Brewster was played by the great William Ragsdale and unfortunately, after Fright Night his career as the main character in film never took off. Sure he was in The Reaping and Big Momma’s House but William’s main bread and butter is TV. He has been in a number of episodes from different television dramas like “Judging Amy”, “Without A Trace” and “Medium”. I’m still holding out for a Charley comeback in a Fright Night 3 but I maybe alone. Here he is today. Actually, he hasn’t aged too badly. Oh Brewster!

The next star spotlight is a great one. There are plenty of films that have obscure actors who get the opportunity to be involved in the most memorable scenes of the movie. In Steven Spielberg’s film, Poltergeist, about a young family that is tormented by ghosts after they inadvertently moved into a house above a cemetery, one of the paranormal investigators is targeted, bitten by something and he had a delusion about ripping off his own face. You know the scene. And that is why we all love Marty.

“You got bit?!?!? Wow!” I have always had a soft spot in my heart for poor Marty. But think about it. In the famous “face tearing” scene, Marty leaves the safety of the den to go, alone, into the kitchen. And what is he about to do? He is going to cook a steak. Really? In the middle of the night he was going to fry up a steak? Make a sandwich, man, I like to imagine the ghosts that were messing with him because they didn’t feel like smelling fried steak all night. Well, poor Marty got the message.

Marty Casella was played by, coincidentally enough, by Martin Casella. That is him to the right and it is kind of funny that I always assume actors with small parts are beginning artists. Not true about Martin. When Poltergeist was being cast, Spielberg himself recruited Martin Casella. At that particular time Martin was teaching drama at a Santa Monic high school so I would say he knew a thing or two about acting.

Since Poltergeist, Martin has only been in a few films like Robocop 2 and Turner And Hooch. He had small roles in each but that isn’t where he excelled. Martin is a celebrated screen and play write and has been in a number of Broadway shows. The one thing that I loved about Martin is that of all the films he has been in, his character has always been his own name. It’s good to have a quirk.

Little Known Fact: In the famous “face tearing” scene, Martin isn’t doing the tearing. Those are Spielberg’s hands. Funny, eh?

I would like to take a moment to thank Ronnie Scribner who played little vampire Glick boy in the made for TV series of 1979, Salem’s Lot. Because of the three minute scene where he floats to the window and bites his brother, I have missed many nights of sleep. Even today at age 30, when I hear a weird noise outside I immediatley think of his evil little smile. God.

Ronnie had quite a career as a child star from 1978 to ’82 but nothing after. It’s funny to read about his ABC morning specials. Do you remember those? They were the hour long shows that aired about 11pm after all the cartoons were over. I think the last time I saw one was when “The Land Of The Lost” was still on the air. Anyway, Ronnie stopped acting and I can only venture to guess that it was because he either grew out of his cuteness or his parents didn’t want him to have a Hollywood life. Regardless, he now lives in Pasadena with a wife and kids. He is a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker that is still in my nightmares.

“Braaaaiiiiinssss” And this is Tarman. When I first saw Return Of The Living Dead I was about 12 years old. Too young to appreciate the campy humor of the film but old enough to appreciate the choreographed walk of the Tarman. I was both disturbed but mesmerized by his skeletal stride. Was it really a human behind all that gore? I will let you be the judge. Watch and see…

It’s hard to imagine that a person was behind all that in our age of CGI but I will remind you that this was back in 1985. Back when movies were fun.

Well, the guy behind Tarman is the great puppeteer, Allan Trautman. He has been in many films but more notably he has been behind the scenes in such great Henson productions like “Muppets Tonight” and the famous early 90’s sitcom, “Dinosaurs”. He received his BA in both Drama and physics and I say that makes for the right character to portray the Tarman.

“Hey creep, speed kills.” You didn’t think I was going to write a “where did you go” Halloween article without including Halloween, did you? of course not! I think I am going to give a little nod and hat tip to Nancy Kyes (aka. Nancy Loomis) who played the cute and sarcastic character, Annie Brackett. And she did an amazing job proving the smart girls were susceptible to death in  horror movies and that girls in the 70’s never wore a bra.

I think Nancy had a close friendship to John Carpenter because she was in Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween 1-3, The Fog, and The Twilight Zone. All Carpenter’s work. I guess her real life sarcasm got her far with him but after 1992 she stopped working on the silver screen. I always wonder why people make the decision to leave from such a full career but I guess everyone has their reasons. She has a family and resides in LA as a sculpture. I think she is still smoking.

“Dude, you getting a Dell!” Remember this guy? It’s Steve, the boy next door that is always trying to talk his parents into buying him a Dell computer. Actually it is Ben Curtis and his small spot as the main face of Dell lasted right up until he was arrested for possession of marijuana. And that sucks too because if you are going to trash your career, go out with crack.

Ben ended up on top anyway ( so to speak). He came out of the closet and is in a very successful Broadway play. It’s gay play call Joy and it had rave reviews. He graduated from NY University and is now the front man to the band WHALE. I’d say getting canned for smoking weed was the best thing to happen to the dude from Dell.

*I don’t know why I included Ben in the Halloween post.*

Well, that is all I want to write. I think this Halloween edition was a little light but I still learned a little. And I hope you did too. Happy Halloween, deary.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: