Monthly Archives: October 2008

Chick or Treat!

Jack Chick, that is. For those not in the know, Mr. Chick is infamous for creating little illustrated booklets (popularly known as “Chick tracts”) that claim you’ll go to Hell if you don’t follow his particular interpretation of Christianity. If you go to his website, which I’m not linking to for obvious reasons, you’ll even see that he advises passing out his tracts with candy on Halloween in order to “save” children from the holiday.

Enterthejabberwock.com has done several examinations of Chick’s work that humorously and informatively tear apart the numerous flaws in his arguments, storylines, and artwork in a NSFW manner. I especially love the dissections of the Halloween-themed tracts, the first of which is called “Here, Kitty Kitty!” and deals with evil knock-offs of the Peanuts gang who want to sacrifice a cat on Halloween.

The next tract is “The Devil’s Night” and Chick’s terrible research skills are glaring in this one. Not only does he completely botch the spelling of “Samhain,” but he also fails to realize that pumpkins weren’t even used the way he claims they were back then. If Mr. Chick can’t even get those simple details correct, why should he expect anyone to believe any of the other “facts” in his work?

The final one is called “Boo!”, a failed attempt at a horror movie parody. It’s slightly more accurate than “The Devil’s Night,” but it still provides a wildly inaccurate take on the origins of Halloween. I’ve heard that Jack Chick recently released another Halloween-themed tract and I can only hope it gets the Enterthejabberwock treatment sometime soon.

UPDATE: The dissection of the newest Halloween tract is now up. “First Bite” is Jack Chick’s attempt at a campy vampire story. As you can imagine, the results aren’t pretty.

Pumpk’n

A little something different here.

Yesterday, I and a few friend of mine went out to a pumpkin patch to pick up some potential Jack-o-lanterns. About twelve bucks and thirty minutes later, I had a pair of pumpkins and was ready to head to the carving table.

My friends had picked up a couple kits with some stencils. The kit was okay for costing four bucks but if I ever decide to be serious about carving the fuck out of a pumpkin (or any other gourd/melon, depending on the time of year) I would search down for a better kit.

What a foolish hand and a serrated edge, I was able to carve a design in the pumpkin I had named ‘Gourdon.’

If you recognize the design, I skipped over the windows of the haunted house and the pair of bats that were flying from it, a decision done out of growing impatience more than aesthetic reasons. I had suspicion that it wouldn’t matter, because Gourdon’s top was rotted away and there was evidence of more rot around the pumpkin’s top. While my friends were lifting their pumpkins out of the patch by the stem, I had avoided doing that and IN doing that, completely missed the clear evidence that Gourdon was a bad pumpkin.

The carving was fun, hanging with friends was fun. I had brought some music that made everyone laugh. Overall, it was a good day and that’s what Halloween is about – doing odd things with your friends. Life is a bit monotonous unless you have holidays where you can dress up and act a little different. Getting some candy for your troubles is a little bit of a physical reward, but when you get older, the act itself is worth more than any bite-sized Snickers bar.

I keep that appreciation for the moment in mind because Gourdon didn’t last the night. We’re having some unusually warm weather here. Warm weather is DEATH for pumpkins, especially those with thin line designs like Gourdon’s. Maybe if Gourdon wasn’t rotten, he would have made it to Halloween but the gross mash that was around his top had spread all around. The house fell in on itself and I had to chuck the pumpkin.

I see it as a metaphor for life. I was careless in initial choice, regretful for discovering my oversight, overambitious in my designs and impatient when my intentions didn’t come naturally. Because of a lack of knowledge and poor decisions made, the project failed. But out of failure came a lesson to learn and an appreciation for those moments shared with friends. It’s better to carve and lost then never to pumpkin at all.

If you’re reading, let us know you’re here. Leave a comment about your own pumpkin carvings, the ones you successfully did or ones that fell apart under the weight of your own genius.

Halloween Horror Nights discount

If you’re a member of Coca-Cola’s rewards program (or are willing to sign up) and are planning on going to Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights in California, click this link. If that doesn’t work, go to http://www.mycokerewards.com and type “halloween” into the search bar. When you get the search results, click on the one that costs 0 points called “Save up to $20 to Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights” and follow the instructions to get your discount.

Sadly, this offer doesn’t seem to apply with the Universal Studios location in Orlando, which also offers Halloween Horror Nights. Offer expires November 1, 2008.

AVOID AT ALL COSTS

Man, forget these guys. If someone whips out a Mannhein Steamroller CD at your next party, be it Christmas or Halloween, then you know that person is NOT YOUR FRIEND.

(and fuck Universal music group for disabling embedding.)

We’re hitting the home-stretch towards Halloween. I’m spending the night with Monster Madhouse and a bunch of candy that needs to be bagged for next weekend. Tomorrow is a Pumpkin Carving Party. I need some suggestions as to what to carve up this year. I’m trying to avoid ZombiePumpkins.com, not because of their stencils. In fact, I’m quite amazed at the variety and think it’s a good investment if you want to have Freddy, Jason or any Tim Burton creation on your doorstep this year.

I’m avoiding it because there’s also a place for diy-pumpkin designs. Plus, they don’t have Lon Chaney from London After Midnight, who would make a good spokesperson for the Union.

Speaking of which, we’re going to keep this whole deal going after the Holiday is over. There’s the dead period between Halloween and Christmas (Thanksgiving, or the ‘Holiday of Pain and Turkey.’) If you have any suggestions as to what you would like to see on this spot of the internet, hit up the Front Office. We’re going to try to have a contest in a week or so, and audience participation is appreciated.

Harvest of Horrors

Location: Tony Andrews Farm, 394 Old Meeting House, East Falmouth, MA (Directions)
Dates/times: Oct. 17, 18, 24, 25, 31, and Nov. 1, 6:30 to 9:00 PM
Admission: $10 per person; credit cards not accepted.
Phone: (508) 563-3378
Website: http://www.harvestofhorrors.com

Starting in 1979 as a maze with craft paper walls, the Harvest of Horrors eventually rose to become Cape Cod’s premiere haunted attraction. So when I visited this attraction back in 2000, I was quite excited based on its reputation. Unfortunately, my visit occurred when they were doing a look back at the history of the Harvest. The problem was that a large portion of the attraction was merely old props and promotional material in display cases, with only a few scares towards the middle and end.

Although seeing stuff from their old days was quite interesting, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought I’d be going to a full haunted house, seeing as all the advertisements only noted the new “Furnace of Fear” part. I would have liked it better if the retrospective was a separate attraction, but I suspect that they didn’t have the space available for that.

Getting back the scares, they were mostly variations of people jumping out and yelling. That said, the “monsters” had very good makeup jobs and were well prepared for calming scared children while in character. Also, the set design for the final “Furnace of Fear” room was very impressive. The best part by far was the stage show that preceded the haunted house. Although it is possible to skip the stage show and go directly through the haunt, this is highly unadvised. The dialogue and performances were hilarious and the pyrotechnics were spectacular. The show changes every year and the one I saw dealt with the Showman and his dimwitted assistant Shredder dealing with Pyro, an insane handyman (with designs on the Showman’s job) who they hired to fix the Furnace of Fear.

When I had originally exited the Harvest of Horrors, I was much more negative about the experience until I learned about the small number of people who operate it. With that in mind and knowing that I wasn’t visiting during the Harvest’s usual setup, I was able to give a more balanced rating. Thankfully, the staff seems to have increased since then. Not only that, but the commercial on their website and the comments on “Nye Manor” seems to imply that the Harvest has grown larger since my 2000 visit. If you have the chance and you’re in the area, you should check it out. If nothing else, you’ll have a blast watching the show.

I should also note that there’s a toned-down, “Kids Fest” version of this haunted house open during the daytime. According to the website, this version is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm starting the first weekend of October and tickets are $2.00 per person.

Final verdict: 3 skulls out of 5

Zombie Bongo Limbo

You might be interested to know that this song was (mostly) written by James Lileks back in 2007. You can hear more songs by the guy who performed this by clicking here.

Local Ghoul Makes Good

Blase Debris

Site.
MySpace

I lived around the Albany, New York region for some-three years. I like Albany. If there was more there for me, I wouldn’t mind living there. But the job prospects sucked and it had the strange cultural live of a town that might be pretty cool, maybe if more bands came by, maybe not. If you’re planning to go to RPI in Troy or Union in Schenectady or even U of Albany, you won’t be stuck in some backwater. There will be something for you to do.

Albany hosts one of the best used music shops I’ve been in, ever. Last Vestige is a good example of how the independent music store can adapt in order to survive in a world of Amazon.com and iTunes. Knowing it’s audience, college students, Last Vestige deals mainly in used vinyl but also in CDs, tapes and the occasional piece of music memorbilia. I was able to find both ‘3 Hits from Hell’ by the Crimson Ghosts and the Minutemen’s ‘Paranoid Times’ there. I also found Blase Debris and Duane “Pinebox” Beers.

Blase Debris is Duane’s band. Duane worked at Last Vestige. He, like most of the staff at Last Vestige, was friend and talked to anyone about anything. He’s a friendly guy who looks like a survivor of the original Misfits, which isn’t that far since he used to be in a Misfits cover band. Blase Debris isn’t a Misfits knock off. It’s a horror punk, but it’s got its own sound. It was hard for me to hear the scratchy voice of the clerk behind the counter where I would pick up choice used CDs switch it up and get this more looping, deep in the throat singing voice.

If you’re in the Albany area, stop by Last Vestige. You’ll be able to pick up a Blase Debris release direct from the source. It would be like buying Misfits gear from Lordi, NJ or catching a Black Flag show in LA. Except you won’t be in New Jersey and have less chance of having your head kicked in.

The Little Monsters 1-900 number

Remember the movie Little Monsters? You know, the one about the kid who befriends a monster living under his bed that starred Fred Savage and Howie Mandel? Anyway, I was surprised to learn that it had a tie-in contest that one could enter by calling a 1-900 number. Said contest was promoting using a mind-searingly awful ad:

According to this Wikipedia article, complaints by parent groups in the mid 90’s stopped these sorts of ads from being targeted at children. Thanks to those brave souls, we no longer have to fear Saved by the Bell-wannabe graphics and poorly-sung rap.

Cold War, Warm Hearts

Messer Chups

Official Site
MySpace

Buy their stuff here.

Can’t recall where or when I came into the Messer Chups. It was a chance meeting with an illegal method but since they still have the mystery of international espionage and that sexy, sexy accent, I think it’s appropriate. If you can afford to, don’t go with illegal on these guys. They’re a duo from St. Petersburg, Russia and their releases flirt lovingly with spooky themes and surf music. I’d love to have them come over and visit and make some cash on the side. It’s time to repair our relationship with Russia and if you go out and buy a Messer Chups cd for Halloween, I think we can do it.

Being from Russia, they had a shitty distribution set up in the States until recently, but it seems AeroCCCP will now hook you up. My favorite of their albums is ‘Black Black Magic.’ Something about listening to that makes it feel like autumn.


It’s Alive! Frankie Stein and his Ghouls

Frankie Stein and his Ghouls

A couple years ago, Scar Stuff introduced me to Frankie Stein and His Ghouls, a band that put out four vinyl releases of instro-horror-surf-frug-goodness that has been in my rotation ever since. A lot of it is really nice late-fifties inspired music meant for people to dance to. Frug. Twist. Stomp. It’s fun. It’s one of those early bits of evidence for how well horror and surf go together, and it would be nice if there was a Frankie revival band to pick up where this one left off.

Someone else has done some research into who exactly was Frankie, and I would check it out for more information. Though Scar Stuff has gone defunct this year, there are other places where you can find the out-of-print LPs. I’m all for preservation in this case. If the band was still touring and making some dough that way, you’d be a rat fink to be swiping that music. But this is, in my opinion, a more humanitarian case. Find some Fankie. Crankie that Frankie and hav some fun.

Though, seems a couple were digitally remastered, though you can try your own luck with that.