Elevator Music….FROM HELL!!!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. This is my travel week at work. At least once a month I have to travel to some part of the country and remind people why they do business with me. A little less Godfather and a little more Ned Ryerson. (BING!) This week lands me at a trade show in a city known for a rowdy pool hall and an Applebees. Tonight I will commit to a huge post as long as I can escape from clients at a reasonable time without guzzling four 64 ounce beers and my weight in jalapeno poppers.

So, before I slap on the suit and wander around a medical device show for the next six hours, I would like to share some music. It’s seriously spooky music. The kind that is played in the elevator to Hell.

I was watching Insidious last night and couldn’t help but wonder where director James Wan’s inspiration for that blood-curdling violin soundtrack came from? I am taking a wild swing here but I would bet a dozen apples and a moon pie it was inspired by the composer, Krzysztof Eugeniusz Penderecki. If you are unfamiliar, I don’t blame you. I usually do not commit names with eleven constants which are together to memory either. But you are familiar with his composition if you watched films like The Exorcist or The Shining.

The word that I can best describe a lot of his work is shrill. It gets under your skin in a way that could probably lead a person to madness. It builds a tension so thick you honestly can not listen to this in the dark without the feeling a cold dead hand will probably rest on your shoulder.

Listen to the second part of the work, “Cello”, that I have downloaded for your listening pleasure. It’s a mess of insanity but if you are the impatient type and need to get a quick grasp of what I am talking about, skip to 1:20 and listen for thirty seconds. At 1:31 you will get goosebumps. I have never heard sounds like that from instruments. It’s indescribable but it is pure, pure, pure horror.


The Banshee Flash Fun

I love spooky stories and I especially love the spooky stories that have been told for hundreds of years.  It’s like a provocative way to pass superstitions and family stories for generations to enjoy around a fire or scare their kids as they are tucked in for the night. Folklore and legend make for wonderful lessons and childhood memories.

A good example would be when I was probably seven or eight my Great Aunt Margret was tucking me in bed for the night around Christmas time. She was straight off the boat from Ireland just a few years before I was born and I always remember her shrill tone and pure Irish wit as she chastised us for watching TV or late for dinner.  It wasn’t until much later after her death did I learn she would smile when she was really angry. My entire childhood I believed she was only kidding when she yelled, confused by her facial expressions.

I’ll never forget the story that she told me while tucking me in, warning that I needed to be asleep before the Banshee arrived and that every night she could pop in to see if all children were asleep. If they weren’t she would let out a horrible scream and steal their soul. If that story wasn’t terrifying enough, she imitated a Banshee-like scream at the top of her lungs, raising her hands in grabbing motions and that terrible, terrible look on her face as she finished to a growl still sticks with me today.

That’s an excuse to piss the bed if ever there was one. Oh, and I forgot to mention, Great Aunt Margret didn’t have any kids.

To this day the legend of the Banshee is one of my favorites like the Headless Horseman or Dracula. The thought of a horrible female ghost coming in a house at night to collect souls really had me quaking under the sheets as a kid but now that I am an adult, it’s a fun story. That’s why this amazing flash animation of The Banshee by Ed Bain at the site, Darkartsmedia.com, is so great and unbelievably well done.

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This short animation has such an eerie feel to it. You listen to the ghostly winds and the lack of music adds to the dreary and melancholy effect as a woman tells her story of the Banshee coming to reap the soul of her grandmother.

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The story has a bit of everything that makes the hairs stand on the back of the neck from the graves to the skeletons creeping behind the Banshee. The narrator tells of farm hands who report seeing a young girl walking alone in the woods and when they call she disappears. That is pretty creepy, I will admit.

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It ends with the Banshee screaming out at night from the roof of the house of the narrator as she took her Grandmother’s soul. The moon turns blood-red and skeletons creep up the yard towards the house.

She did, however, fail to include the part when she shit her pants. I guess that would detract from the story but I wouldn’t lay blame for something I would absolutely do.

This is a cool little piece of the internet that I like to visit when the days get a little shorter and the air is crisp. Please take a gander and turn the speakers up high. Ed suggests visiting between the hours of 3am and 4am.

It requires Adobe Flash so unfortunately iPads and iPhones aren’t able to play this but everything else should be A-OKAY. Truly a love of mine.



Sally Kirkland Scared And Smoking

Back in the early nineties I saw a made for TV movie that creeped me out so bad I didn’t sleep for a year and even today as an adult, scenes from that silly dramatization of supposed true events still gives me the shivers. Thanks for the nightmares, Sally Kirkland, you sexy high-pant wearing beauty.

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This little gem from 1991 is based on a true story about an ordinary family that has to deal with extraordinary events. With an over abundance of paranormal movies, Discovery Channel documentaries and ghost hunting shows today, it’s easy to pass this movie off as lame and outdated but it couldn’t be furthest from. This has some genuinely creepy scenes that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. So let me tell you in 3,000 words what it’s about. If you don’t want to read it let me sum it up: evil spirits in a house and Sally Kirkland chain smokes.

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I love films that begin with a quick blurb explaining how it’s more than just ghost story but a well documented true story. Very “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in the way it sets up the film and provides a creepy atmosphere. Shit, this movie could be about growing carrots and if it started this way, I would turn on the closet light.

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Starring the great Sally Kirkland as Janet Smurl, we begin the story as the family moves into a duplex in West Pittson, Pennsylvania and the future looks bright. With two kids and their parents living in the other side of the duplex, this is a happy family and they quickly became active members in the community and their Catholic church. But there are strange happenings afoot and soon they will be in a battle with forces from the beyond.

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Holy cats! I completely forgot that Jeffery DeMunn (Dale from The Walking Dead) was Jack Smurl and his personality is the exact same. I venture to guess that Jeffery is the same person as the characters he portrays. It seems that most male roles in a haunted house story are pretty similar; the guy doesn’t believe it, forced to finally confront the situation and then tries to throw a rock at a ghost. Keep reading.

Little things start to happen as they settle in and begin to renovate the house like tools disappearing and then reappearing, stains on the walls that bleed through the paint even though they had put thirty coats on it already, scotch tape found in the fridge, toaster fires, ect… Over all, not malicious but more mischievous in nature and just enough to have them believing they might be a little nuts. The proverbial shit doesn’t hit the fan until years later. Years later and male rape. What?

Now, this whole story is told in first person by Janet (Sally Kirkland) and as bizarre events begin to happen she is the only one who notices. Things come to a head when she is doing laundry in the basement. It is, in my book, one of the creepiest scenes that I can think of. While she is doing laundry her mother from next door calls her from the top of the stairs. Well, she thinks it’s her mother. As she responds and walks upstairs the same mimic-ed voice calls her name again. FROM BEHIND HER! 

When she ran upstairs and to the other side of the duplex she was met by her mother and pissed off father, believing they overheard Janet and Jack sharing extreme profanity. Confused, Janet explained her husband is at work and she could not have possibly heard them talking.

I don’t know why, but that whole scene gives me the chills. It’s the little things that get me.

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This is when Janet begins to fall apart and the stock for Virginia Slims skyrocketed. Her husband can’t understand why she looks like a victim in an episode of “Cops: Crazy Bitches of the Midwest” and her requests to move because of ghosts were met with a “no way, José”. She was alone with some pretty spooky happenings. But, the rest of the family was about to join the party.

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Soon the malicious spirit gets bored enough with Janet to start picking on her mom. When they both acknowledge that a pig-snorting vaporous black mass has been hanging out in their living rooms, a sense of relief comes over Janet. That’s good news but the tough sell will be the husbands. The men are always the problem, am I right girls?

Janet needs not to worry because one of the…the…you know what? I am just going to get say it. Jack gets raped by the demon. I am serious. It’s a male rape scene that defies my understanding of mechanics. If he wasn’t into it, I don’t think it would have happened. Especially the morphing fat-girl trick the demon seemed to pull on him. Jack might have issues.

At their wits end, Janet and Jack finally seek help through the church and invites their local pastor to come bless their house. Much like Amityville Horror, the priest gets a brutal brush with the devil and he quickly decides that being a complete pussy is the answer. He leaves and later when asked to return he pretends to be a Walmart greeter.

With little help and their family under attack, Janet seeks out demonologists to investigate their problems. Which is pretty funny because all they did was confirm that they have a problem with ghosts. Another day and another paycheck in the life of a demonologist, I suppose.

With screams and flashing lights, cabinet doors slamming and beds flipping, the family needed a break. They went camping. No shit, they are facing extreme life threatening circumstances from unseen evil forces but taking a break to make s’mores and sing songs by the campfire seemed like the right thing to do.

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You know what? Ghosts like to go camping too! While they are enjoying their fire and NOT TELLING GHOST STORIES an unexpected guest floats up. Jack did the only thing he could.

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Jack threatens to throw a rock at the specter. I guess shit always seems to happen when you don’t have a proton pack, right? Rocks are the logical second choice.

Meanwhile, the scene cuts to their house going bat-shit crazy and the neighbors seem concern. I don’t know why, but that also sticks in my mind from years ago and has severely creeped me out. Something about a house that’s suppose to be vacant and…not? I don’t know. It’s a me thing.

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Finally they get a priest to exorcise the house. Not really sure why they didn’t do this to begin with but then again, this would be a short movie. And it seemed to work! For a while.

Actually, it didn’t do anything but make it worse. With no other option and already Jack raped, it was time to go to the media. Because when you go to the press saying you have ghosts, what’s the worst thing that can happen?

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Yeah, you turn into a pariah. I don’t know why they decided to do that but long story short, it wasn’t the ghosts who finally drove them from their home but the constant harassment from media and ghost enthusiasts. They moved and yet again there was hope that life would return to normal sans the evil entities.

We end the movie with the family leaving their town and the house that was built on satanic worshipping ground. They move into a non-haunted house this time and everyone seems to be just swell. And then…

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The damn ghost follows them and pulls the ol’ “pretend to be mom” move that creeped me out from before. We fade to black as Sally Kirkland stares in disbelief and sounds of pig growls lead us to believe that they are forever screwed might as well get used to having an invisible father-raping ghost that hides scotch tape in the fridge.

I know this was a terrible review of a surprisingly good made for TV movie from the early nineties. It has some genuinely creepy scenes that will stay in your head especially when you have to pee at 3am. It’s late and I finally am not concerned about letting people know about The Haunted. The whole movie is available on YouTube so I highly recommend giving it a whirl. You’ll lurv it.

I give it four pants out of five.


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!

Ghosts: Maybe?

Ok, let me throw out a disclaimer before you read this. I am normal and I put science and reasoning before all oddities and paranormal conclusions. BUT, it is fun to think the things that go bump in the night might actually be spooky. So, read this with a level of skepticism, as I only believe what I see. I just find it fascinating.

Have you ever watched the show Ghost Hunters on the SciFi channel? I love this show and it’s not because of the scare factor. Really, it’s neat to watch blue collar folks take a hobby to an epic scale and then get thrust into celebrity status by doing what they love. Jason and Grant, the founders of TAPS (The Atlantic paranormal Society) and plumbers for Roto-Rooter, travel around the country with a few other members “debunking” claims of paranormal happenings. Sometimes they are able to do so but at times they can not. There is nothing cooler than watching their evidence of paranormal anomalies. Check this out from the St. Augustine Lighthouse. INSANE!

Yikes! I have been to that lighthouse and I can attest to the fact there is no way to fake this video. Unless of course everyone is in on the hoax. But that isn’t likely. I like to live in a world of blind naivate’ so let me believe in that.

The next video is also from a Sci-Fi show called Ghost Adventures. Now this chilled me to the bone. I like to think that I am an even keeled person and all that is on TV should be looked at through an eye of skepticism but what these guys film had me believing. I don’t know what’s going on in these south western ghost towns but jumpin’ Jesus it was frightening. Mainly because you can hear the sheer terror in their voices that you know is legit. I have been in real life situations where I have heard grown men scream in a way that I have never heard in any movie by any actor. I heard them scream that way in the documentary and that alone frightened me very badly.

You can’t believe everything people tell you and I understand that. I don’t understand why people would make up stories though. Personally I would be embarrassed if I was dealing with a problem of no specific origin. I mean, who would you turn to and what would people think? It’s not like you can walk into a church and fill canteens full of holy water. Plus, the people who dabble in the occult and paranormal, for the most part, can be eccentric at best.

The next couple of videos is from a British documentary and I must say it is creep as hell. You be the judge but I can’t say that it is hooky. The dude being choked in the beginning looked kind of funny but the ninth minute of the first video was just cool. I’m sorry, but that looked as ghostly as anything I have ever seen. And the pictures at the beginning of the second one just gives me the heebs. I’m glad I am writing this at night, alone on a mountain in a rainstorm. I think I just saw Scuzzlebutt.

Sorry about that last part. I hope you didn’t spill something on yourself. Fuckin’ eh, I did.

So if you are asking yourself, “why is this dude writing about such a ridiculous thing”, I will answer, “because I want to assmaster!” Just kidding. But seriously, I have had an experience and it has had me thinking for sometime. But most of all, it has been comforting. Do you think that is crazy? So here is my story.

I have been to Savannah, GA no less that one thousand times. Shit, I used to live there when I was in the Army. But it has only been the past few years that I have taken interest in the history of the old city. And it is a dark and macabre past. Did you know that most of the city is one giant grave yard? They just buried people where ever back in the day. Only the rich were given Christian burial privileges. So Savannah is known to be the most haunted city in America and it was there that I became a believer.

It happened here at The Pirate House. I knew about this place and the fact real pirates used to drink here as well as the ghost sightings but as many times as I had been there before, no luck. Only a fat bill and over priced beer. I dragged my poor ex-girlfriend there every time we visited and she had to put up with my dumb questions about peoples’ experiences.

But last year I went on business and I was able to pop over there at 10pm for a quick few Ghost Ales (excellent). They close at 11pm so I was the lone person at the long bar. I kept my dumb questions to myself because the bartender was busy closing down and didn’t seem like the chatty type. I couldn’t blame her. So, I half payed attention to the game on the flat screen at the opposite end of the bar and flipped through my Blackberry.

Then I heard someone running down the steps, very fast and loud, just out of view where the TV was. The figure stopped smack infront of the screen. I didn’t look right at him but kept flipping through old messages on my phone, quite aware that this rude figure made a better door than a window. Finally I put my phone down, picked up my beer and looked to see who was blocking the view and there was no one there.

I felt like I was floating. Finally, I have touched the ethereal plain. I can’t remember if I was holding my beer or I put it down but just as I was about to close my open jaw the bartender kick the double doors open from the kitchen, holding a glass rack. I about jumped out of my skin. She saw my face and just ginned.

“You saw something, huh?” Her candor towards the matter was about as shocking as the experience itself. I told her what happened and she smiled and nodded the whole time. When I told her about the loud noise of running down the stairs she stopped me and asked me to follow her to the end of the bar. I did so and when I turned the corner every hair stood on end.

There were no stairs at all. It was just a wall and an old wine barrel with a model ship on top. She explained that before the kitchen expanded there used to be a staircase to the upstairs but that had been removed years ago. I think she felt that I needed another drink so she and I went to another bar and proceeded to get drunk. I needed that.

The more I thought about my experience the more comforting it felt. Maybe there is something beyond death? I am hard pressed to believe that when we die there are pearly gates and a list but maybe we do go on? The thought that is disturbing is whatever came down the stairs, stopped for a good five minutes and I don’t think it was looking at the TV. It was looking at me. Goooood God that is creepy!

Do you think I’m crazy? Have you had any experiences?

Sleep tight!

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