Friday, October 30, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite Horror Films To View On or Around Halloween...

The following list is of the top ten horror films that get my blood going in the month of October. Consider these to be my personal picks for AMC's "Monster Fest" lineup. From #1 to #10 I have seen all of these at least three times and continue to love the fear that they instill in me.

(In order)

1. Halloween

The O.G. of Horror films in this particular genre. I watch this every Halloween and it still provides me with the same edge-of-my-seat feeling it did years ago.

2. The Exorcist

Don't get me wrong, I love "The Exorcist" but...this is better left alone.

3. Friday The 13th

The Crystal Lake saga began here with Mrs. Vorhees knocking off sexually promiscuous camp counselors.

4. Donnie Darko

Though not a traditional style "Horror" film, 'Donnie Darko' has become an absolute favorite of mine to watch on Halloween. The film is set in October of 1988 and culminates on Halloween nite...let's just understand that it was not hard for me to fall in love with this one.

5. The Amityville Horror

The grainy film, the overall evil tone and the "based on a true story" factor all combine to make this one a lock for me.

6. Poltergeist

"They just moved the headstones!!!!!"

7. Friday The 13th Part II

Ol' mom might be dead...but guess who isn't? Hands down my favorite sequel in the horror genre.

8. Phantasm

Yes it's cheesy...but the Tall Man is still enough to make me turn my head.

9. The Omen

"Look Damien, look at me. It's all for you Damien"

10. Pet Sematary

Zelda (the green sister with spinal meningitis that appears early in the film) still haunts me to this day! Gage was no joke either.

File Under Creepy: "Friday The 13th" Theme Song...

I've heard it a million times and its still quite unsettling to me

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Geto Boys - "Mind Playing Tricks On Me"...

Not only is it my all-time favorite rap song but it just so happens to be an all-time (non-traditional) Halloween song

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: The Specials - "Ghost Town"...

A classic eerie Halloween tune.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Top 10 Scariest VHS Horror Film Covers...

As a child, a trip to the local video store was a pretty big deal. I knew I would be walking out with no less than 1, and no more than 3 videos. Exploring all corners of the video store often meant a scan of the "Horror" section. This was of course quite terrifying on my young eyes. The following list is a detailed account of the ten most terrifying VHS covers I ever encountered.

(In order)

1. The Exorcist

This cover still scares me. Something about that light shining down on the priest really etched this one in my mind as purely terrifying.

2. Poltergeist II: The Other Side

Carol Anne on a sheet of black, talking on a toy phone. This said.

3. Children of the Corn

That sickle in shadow against the blood red sky explains it all.

4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2

This one certainly wins the goriest award of this list. This photo of Leatherface and family hypnotized (read: horrified) my young mind more than once.

5. April Fool's Day

This is probably my favorite cover on this list. The pony-noose, the knife, the table full of unsuspecting college idiots...I just knew it wasn't going to end well for anyone other than April.

6. Silent Night, Deadly Night

Inside my 9 year old mind: " Santa is out to kill people too?"

7. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

I had to have been about 12 or 13 the first time I saw the orginal "Halloween" but I knew way before then that Micahel Myers was no joke. The all-time creepiest mask, the knife and the little (presumably innocent) young girl dressed as a clown all combined to become a permanent image in my mind.

8. Friday The 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives

Let's get one thing straight, the hockey mask was (and still is) scary. Added to this already unsettling image was none other than a foggy, creepy graveyard with a tombstone that simply read "Jason Lives". This cover came with very simple instructions for how to handle to Jason: "Kill or Be Killed".

9. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn

The skull WITH eyeballs still in it?! This was revolutionary to me...and not to mention, it was titled "Evil Dead" meaning that something evil was in existance.

10. Pet Sematary

By the time this movie came out, I had figured out that Stephen King wasn't fucking around about scaring people and this one right here hit it out of the terrordome. Creepy dead guy on top, super creepy pet sematary on bottom. Leave the lights on please.

File Under Creepy: "Phantasm" Theme Song...

Still one of the creepiest films of all time...the theme song certainly helps to cement that status.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Donovan - "Season of the Witch"...

Donovan is already creepy on his own, even more so when he sings about the practice of witchcraft.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Rockwell - "Somebody's Watching Me"...

Somewhere along the way this one became an acceptable track to play for Halloween

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

File Under Creepy: "Hellraiser" Theme...

I just watched "Hellraiser" for the first time the other nite. I'm glad I waited until I was 29 years old. Not sure if I would have been able to handle it twenty years ago.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Lovebug Starki - "Amityville (The House on the Hill)"...

I just discovered this one a few weeks ago. Odd little number.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - "Nightmare On My Street"..

I can now admit that this really did scare me when I like 9 years old.

20 Years Ago Today: The Oakland A's win the 1989 World Series...

The 1989 World Series was played between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants. The Series ran from October 14 through October 28, with the A's sweeping the Giants in four games. It was the first World Series sweep since 1976, and is best remembered for the Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred on October 17 at the beginning of Game 3 and caused a ten-day disruption in play. Fay Vincent presided over the Series, his first as Commissioner of Baseball after the sudden death of his predecessor Bart Giamatti over a month earlier. This Series is also known as the "Earthquake Series," "Bay Bridge Series," and "The Battle of the Bay." It was the first World Series in which the losing team never had the lead and never had the tying run at the plate in its final turn at-bat.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My 2010 NBA Finals Predictions...

Western Conference Champions:

Eastern Conference Champions:

2010 NBA Finals: Boston Celtics win in 7 games

Halloween Classics: "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown"...

FYI: This is on ABC tonite @ 8pm

File Under Creepy: "The Fog" Theme...

A great example of what I would define as truly "eerie".

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: The Misfits - "Halloween"...

You can't get more "Halloween" than this.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Gerard McMann - Cry Little Sister (Them From 'The Lost Boys')...

It's nearly impossible for me not to listen to this one at least two times in a row.

Monday, October 26, 2009

File Under Creepy: The Amityville Horror Theme...

This one makes me very uncomfortable. Really.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: The Ramones - "Pet Sematary"...

The Ramones + Stephen King...only in the 90's

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Bobby Brown - "On Our Own"...

"Too hot to handle, too cold to hold. They're called the Ghostbusters and they're in control"

10 Years Ago Today: The Dismemberment Plan releases "Emergency & I"...

Emergency & I is a 1999 album by Washington, D.C. indie band The Dismemberment Plan, issued on DeSoto Records. It was produced by J. Robbins and Chad Clark. Reviews for the album were generally very favorable. For example, Pitchfork Media rated it 9.6 on a scale of 10.0, with a short review that read simply, "If you consider yourself a fan of groundbreaking pop, go out and buy this album right now. Now. Get up. Go."

Pitchfork then ranked it #16 on their "redux" version of the Top 100 Albums of the 1990s list. Similarly, its Allmusic review says, "The band's third full album is a firecracker, showing their at once passionate and sly approach to music—take in everything, put it back out, and give it its own particular sheen and spin—is in no danger of letting up."

Suggested listening:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Mr. Hudson - "Knew We Were Trouble"
2. Grizzly Bear - "Slow Life (Feat. Victoria Legrand)"
3. Lou Reed - "Satellite of Love"
4. Princeton - "Martina and Clive Krantz"
5. Teengirl Fantasy - "Portofino"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Whodini - "Haunted House of Rock"...

I don't really get the "rock" part of this song but nonetheless, a Halloween must.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Oingo Boingo - "Dead Man's Party"...

So their name was Oingo Boingo, you can't hold that against them. It was the 80's.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

File Under Creepy: "The Exorcist" Theme Song...

What I consider the second most frightening theme song to any horror film.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Ray Parker Jr. - "Ghostbusters"...

Ray taught us all who to call in the event of paranormal activity.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Alice Cooper - "Welcome To My Nightmare"...

Think about it, this dude got invited to The Muppets Halloween special. Weird right?

40 Years Ago Today: Jack Kerouac dies in St. Petersburg, Florida...

Jack Kerouac (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American author, poet and painter. Alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, he is considered a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac's work was very popular, but received little critical acclaim during his lifetime. Today, he is considered an important and influential writer who inspired others, including Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Robbins, Lester Bangs, Will Clarke, Richard Brautigan, Ken Kesey, Haruki Murakami, Tom Waits and writers of the New Journalism.

Kerouac died on October 21, 1969 at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, one day after being rushed with severe abdominal pain from his St. Petersburg home by ambulance.

His death, at the age of 47, resulted from an internal hemorrhage (bleeding esophageal varices) caused by cirrhosis, the result of a lifetime of heavy drinking. Kerouac is buried in his home town of Lowell, MA and was honored posthumously with a Doctor of Letters degree from his hometown's University of Massachusetts Lowell on June 2, 2007.

At the time of his death, he was living with his third wife, Stella Sampas Kerouac, and his mother, Gabrielle. Kerouac's mother inherited most of his estate. When she died in 1973, Stella inherited the rights to his works under a purported will. Family members challenged the will and, on July 24, 2009, a judge in Pinellas County, Florida ruled that the will of Gabrielle Kerouac was a forgery.

Suggested reading:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

File Under Creepy: "Halloween" Theme Song...

Still the all-time creepiest theme song in any horror film.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Warren Zevon - "Werewolves of London"...

I love this song all year long. An absolute Halloween favorite though.

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Bobby 'Boris' Pickett & The Cryptkickers - "The Monster Mash"...

Delaying the inevitable.

32 Years Ago Today: Lynyrd Skynyrd's Plane Crashes in Mississippi...

On Thursday, October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of 'Street Survivors', and five shows into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd's chartered Convair 240 ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina, where they had just performed at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, to LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Though the pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, the plane crashed in a forest in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact. Medical personnel arrived quickly and began to ferry out the injured and the dead. Victims were taken to the hospital in nearby McComb and Jackson by ambulances and other vehicles. Allen Collins suffered two cracked vertebrae in his neck, and both Collins and Leon Wilkeson nearly had arms amputated as a result of crash injuries. Wilkeson suffered severe internal injuries, including a punctured lung, and had most of his teeth knocked out. Gary Rossington broke both of his arms, his right leg and his pelvis in the crash, as well as sustaining puncture wounds to his stomach and liver, and took many months to recuperate. Leslie Hawkins sustained a concussion (which led to ongoing neurological problems), broke her neck in three places and had severe facial lacerations. Road crew member Steve Lawler suffered severe contusions and facial lacerations. Security manager Gene Odom was seriously burned on his arm and face and lost the sight in one eye as a result of an emergency flare on board the plane that was activated during the crash. Keyboardist Billy Powell's nose was nearly torn off as he suffered severe facial lacerations (as well as deep lacerations to his right knee), and he later caused a controversy by giving a lurid account of Cassie Gaines' final moments on a VH1 Behind The Music special about the band, claiming that the backup singer's throat was cut from ear to ear and that she bled to death in his arms. Powell also claimed that Ronnie Van Zant's head had been smashed. Powell's version of events has been discounted by both Artimus Pyle and Judy Van Zant Jenness, who posted the autopsy reports on the band's website in early 1998 in order to set the record straight. Despite this faux pas, Powell remained on good terms with the remaining band members since the incident, but was castigated in print by Pyle and Van Zant Jenness for needlessly upsetting the Gaines family.

Pyle, the only band member who was ambulatory, crawled out of the plane wreckage with several broken ribs, and hiked some distance from the crash site through swampy woods with road crew members Kenneth Peden, Jr. and Marc Frank. The three injured men finally flagged down farmer Johnny Mote, who had come to investigate. Varying accounts have Mote either firing a warning shot into the air (believing the bedraggled men to be escapees from a nearby penitentiary) or actually shooting Pyle in the shoulder — no report is completely reliable. Pyle claimed in a February 2007 appearance on Howard Stern's Sirius radio program that Mote had shot him; Mote has always denied shooting the drummer. Video of a barechested Pyle at the 1979 Volunteer Jam does not show evidence of a gunshot wound. In 1996, Pyle called Mote to thank him for his help after the plane crash.

Notably, the third member of The Honkettes, JoJo Billingsley, was not on the plane and in fact was home sick; she had been planning to join the tour in Little Rock, Arkansas on October 23. Billingsley claimed that she had dreamed of the plane crash and begged Allen Collins by telephone not to continue using the Convair.

The Convair 240 itself had been inspected by members of Aerosmith's flight crew for possible use in the early summer of 1977, but was rejected because it was felt that neither the plane nor the crew were up to standards. Aerosmith's assistant chief of flight operations Zunk Buker tells of seeing pilots McCreary and Gray trading a bottle of Jack Daniel's back and forth while he and his father were inspecting the plane. Aerosmith's touring family was also relieved because the band, specifically Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, had been trying to pressure their management into renting that specific plane.

It was known that the right engine's magneto — a small power generator that provides spark and timing for the engine — had been malfunctioning (Powell, among others, spoke of seeing flames shooting out of the right engine on a trip just prior to the accident), and that pilots McCreary and Gray had intended to repair the damaged part when the traveling party arrived in Baton Rouge. Cassie Gaines was reportedly so fearful of flying in the Convair that she offered to ride in the band's equipment truck instead; Ronnie Van Zant had talked her onto the airplane on October 20. It is possible that the damaged magneto fooled the pilots into creating an exceptionally rich fuel mixture, causing the Convair to run out of fuel. It was suggested on the VH-1 Behind The Music profile on Skynyrd that the pilots, panicking when the right engine failed, accidentally dumped the remaining fuel. Pyle maintains in the Howard Stern interview that the fuel gauge in the older model plane malfunctioned and the pilots had failed to manually check the tanks before taking off, although it is common practice in all but the largest transport-category aircraft to manually check fuel quantities to verify fuel gauge indications. In his book Lynyrd Skynyrd: Remembering the Free Birds of Southern Rock, Gene Odom makes an unsubstantiated accusation that co-pilot William Gray was impaired because he had spent part of the previous night snorting cocaine; the toxicology reports from both pilots' autopsies had found them to be clean for drugs and alcohol.

Suggested viewing:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ultimate Halloween Playlist: Michael Jackson - "Thriller"...

The defining Halloween cut.

30 Years Ago Today: Fleetwood Mac releases "Tusk"...

'Tusk' is a double album released in 1979 by Fleetwood Mac. Considered somewhat experimental due to Lindsey Buckingham's apparent attempts to allow punk rock and New Wave influence into his work, Tusk did not achieve the level of success of its mega-hit predecessor, Rumours. However, it still went double-platinum in the U.S. (sales in excess of two million copies) and gave the group two top ten hit singles.

The unusual title track, "Tusk", featuring the University of Southern California's Spirit of Troy marching band, proved to be a hit, reaching both the US and UK Top 10.

The project had apparently made some record executives nervous, not only for its million-dollar production budget, but the label had expected a similar formula to that which had made Rumours so successful. The luxurious packaging and product that resulted did top the UK album charts on November 10th, 1979 and reached #4 in the US, and although a commercial success, the album failed to reach the heights of Rumours.

Warner Bros attributed this to the record being "over produced" by Buckingham, making it less commercially viable. However, Fleetwood himself stated that matters were not helped by a major US radio station playing all 20 of the tracks in their entirety just prior to the album's release, thus allowing for home taping. A remastered and expanded version of the album (featuring 41 tracks) was released on a double CD in 2004. The first disc is the complete 20-track album (with the full length version of "Sara", which had been edited for the original CD release of the album due to running time constraints on earlier compact discs). The second disc features a collection of demo tracks, alternative cuts and other rarities from the time of the album. In 1986, the group Camper Van Beethoven re-recorded Tusk in its entirety, publically releasing the project in 2002.

'Tusk' was the first album to employ digital mixing.

Suggested listening:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Grizzly Bear - "Slow Life (Feat. Victoria Legrand)"
2. Billy Idol - "Eyes Without a Face"
3. Big Boi - "Shine Blockas (Feat. Gucci Mane)
4. Chairlift - "Bruises (Passion Pit Remix)"
5. Phil Collins - "Don't Lose My Number"

Friday, October 16, 2009

Next Week: The 13 Days of Halloween...

Starting monday, I will be posting all my Halloween related lists/videos/memories, etc.

Old Music (Still Good Music): Exposé - "Let Me Be The One"...

A little gem from 1987.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Old Music (Still Good Music): Geto Boys - "Six Feet Deep"...

I've watched this video/listened to this song at least 100 times in my life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Birdman/Washed Out - "Feel It On the Southside"
2. Au Revoir Simone - "Shadows (Tanlines Remix)"
3. Princeton - "Martina and Clive Krantz"
4. Phoenix - "Love Like a Sunset (Animal Collective Remix)"
5. Editors - "Walk the Fleet Road"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Old Music (Still Good Music): Cutting Crew - "I've Been in Love Before"...

File under: late night driving music that should be played at high volume.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Music: T.I. - "Hell of a Life"...

Even prison can't stop T.I. from releasing great songs...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Music: Stevie Nicks - "Stand Back" (DJ Eli Escobar Remix)...

Why did I not know about this until now??!!

New Music: Grizzly Bear - "Foreground"

One of the absolute best songs of 2009...and literally one of the best songs I've ever heard.

Monday, October 5, 2009

30 Years Ago Today: The Police release "Reggatta de Blanc"...

Reggatta de Blanc is the second album by The Police, released in 1979. "Message in a Bottle", a Sting-penned song about alienation, opens the album. It is followed by the mostly instrumental "Reggatta de Blanc" (the title being a pseudo-French translation referring to the album's style of "white reggae"), one of the few songs written by all members of the Police. The instrumental piece came from the long instrumental break in the live performance of "Can't Stand Losin' You" and earned the band the 1981 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. "It's Alright For You" is a driving punk-ish song featuring strong guitar and drum parts.

The next three tracks, "Bring on the Night" (about the execution of Gary Gilmore), "Deathwish", and "Walking on the Moon" all have a strong reggae feel to them. "On Any Other Day" features a rare lead vocal from Stewart Copeland, and is a humorous take on a middle-aged man having a horrible birthday. "The Bed's Too Big Without You" (later covered by reggae singer Sheila Hylton in 1981, which became a UK chart hit), "Contact" and "Does Everyone Stare" are three songs dealing with the connection, or lack thereof, between two individuals. The hectic "No Time This Time", originally featured as the B side of the previous year's "So Lonely" single, closes the album.

The album took only a few weeks (spaced over several months) to record, but unlike its successor Zenyatta Mondatta, there was no pressure on the band. As Stewart Copeland describes it, "We just went into the studio and said, 'Right, who's got the first song?' We hadn't even rehearsed them before we went in."

The album continued to build on the success of the band's previous record, Outlandos D'Amour, hitting #1 on the UK and Australian album charts upon its release in October 1979. "Message in a Bottle" and "Walking on the Moon" were released as singles and both reached #1 in Great Britain. In 2003, the album was ranked number 369 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Suggested listening:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Panda Bear - "Good Girl/Carrots"
2. Bob Dylan - "Romance in Durango"
3. Small Black - "Despicable Dogs"
4. Small Black - "Weird Machines"
5. Teengirl Fantasy - "Portofino"

Friday, October 2, 2009

Up Next on the Stage: Built to Spill...

Later tonite I will be lucky enough to see Indie-Rock Gods, Built to Spill perform at the Southgate House in Newport, KY. The last time I saw Built to Spill was on Sept. 9th, 2001 (my last real memory of the pre-9/11 world). I have been a fan of Built to Spill for nearly a decade and they are hands down one of the best live bands I've ever seen.

Songs I most want to see performed later:

Velvet Waltz
Goin' Against Your Mind
Randy Described an Eternity
When Not Being Stupid Is Not Enough
The Plan
Untrustable Part 2 (About Someone Else)
Broken Chairs
Made Up Dreams

Suggested listening:

"Perfect From Now On" (1997)

"Keep It Like a Secret" (1999)

"Live" (2000)

"Ancient Melodies of the Future" (2001)

"You In Reverse" (2006)

"There Is No Enemy" (2009)