Aug 25 2014

SJTV: Rock the Vote

I don’t watch a lot of television, especially compared to what I used to. My teenage self is envious of my adult self, because if fifteen-year-old Strange Jason had access to Netflix and Hulu and all these other troves of shows and content, he would be in heaven. He would not be going outside AT ALL. But fifteen year old me had a lot more free time on his hands than I currently have, so a lot of new and old television shows have just passed on by. I haven’t watched a single American Horror Story or checked into Bates Motel. I’ve given advertisements for Hemlock Grove, Penny Dreadful and The Strain an ambivalent shrug. I know of certain Twilight Zone and Outer Limits episodes, but mainly due to the day-long marathons some cable channels run during those holidays when I’m visiting my family.

I figure it’s time to 1) start writing back here again 2) watch some television I missed 3) write some commentary on these shows. What I watch is up to you. Pick an option down below and sometime in September/October, the first entries in the season will start to pop up.

The choices are Tales From The Crypt, The Outer Limits, Kolchak, American Horror Story and Masters of Horror. As you can see, most of these are anthologies so it means each viewing offers a different experience. I’ll randomly pick a season of the winning entry unless it’s Kolchack, which I’ll just start from the beginning. If none of these entries are suitable, pick SOMETHING ELSE and leave a comment. If the Outer Limits gets picked, I’ll flip a coin if the season I watch comes from the original run or the mid-90s series.

Why these? No reason. I’d pick something current except everyone and their mother has an opinion about The Walking Dead, Hannibal, True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files. And I do not have the commitment level to start Supernatural. Seriously – those fans are a special breed of hardcore that inspire both my fear and my respect. I’ll run the poll for two weeks until September 7th and I’ll then reacquaint myself with an old friend called television.

Which Television Show Should Strange Jason review?

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Aug 31 2014

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion

Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion
Official Site
The Legend Of Goatman’s Bridge, Scorpi-O-Tone Recordings 2011
Five After Midnight, Scorpi-O-Tone Recordings 2011

So if a red sky at night is a sailor's delight, what does a yellow one mean?

While there are many horror bands who wear masks and perform under aliases, none are nearly ass mysterious as Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion. One would think a band based in Massachusetts would be from that state, right? But the group claims to be from Denton County, Texas. There have been numerous hints the band is actually a group of teen delinquents called the Fishercats, who allegedly died in a car crash in the 60′s. Their Facebook page notes this live performance was their first since 2005 and yet they did not join Facebook until 2010. Whoever and whatever the band’s exact origins are remain shrouded in mystery. Only the following people know for sure and I doubt they’ll be telling any time soon:

Vince Vance DeLambre: Guitar
Professor Coyote Science: Guitar
Naughty Bobby, The Bitchin’ Witch Boy: Bass
Glotch: Drums

The Legend Of Goatman’s Bridge was their debut album and they made one hell of a first impression. “We Welcome the Living (But Only If They Come Here To Die)” combines classic surf sensibility with raw punk grittiness. If there’s such a thing as “subdued bouncy,” then this is it. “They Won’t Stay Dead!” is the perfect blend of guitars and drums. Having a Night of the Living Dead reference for a name is also a plus. “Heads Will Roll!” is fast and furious; I especially love the atmospheric second half. Speaking of atmosphere, the slow guitars and evil laugh that start off “Goatman’s Bridge” are incredibly effective, which makes the transition to rollicking surf even better. It’s a great finish to both the song and the album itself. And get this: Not only does the bridge tie into their origin story, but it’s also a real place!

Now I'm having Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. flashbacks.  BEWARE SCORPIO!

While some might give themselves a year before putting out another album, Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion released Five After Midnight the same year as their first album and there is no drop in quality. Percussion and reverb-heavy guitars immediately kick off “Denton County Casket Company,” which packs in a surprising amount of style changes. I don’t know if I should describe it as “crunchy” or “fuzzy,” but I know what I like and boy do I like this! The super speedy introduction of “Unforgettable Skull Deformation” grabs you by the throat and never lets go, not even for the brief slower paced interlude. The band’s surf influence is at its strongest in “Red River Tombstone Hustle,” but there’s still some punk feel. A mysterious voice whispers the title of “The Lurker” and its slow pace adds to its lurking feel. The moody saxophone work by guest performers Jess Fox and Scott Miller gives it an extra kick. Finally, “North Texas Cobra Squadron Theme” blazes right out the gate and beats you over the head with its greatness.

Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion offers a great combination of horror surf and punk delivered through tracks that never overstay their welcome. In other words, their stuff is definitely worth picking up. You had better believe there is plenty of pick up, as they been quite busy since 2011. 2012 saw the release of their live EP Trashy Bullshit and their first full length release, Blood Drinkers Only, came out in 2013. They recently appeared on the Monsters of Surf compilation from Ding Dong Records and unleashed a new EP called CAUGHT DEAD. So keep an eye on these guys, as I’m sure they have more great stuff planned for the future.

Special thanks to Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion for use of the images!

Aug 29 2014

6′+ Episode 120 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Nate the Psychobilly Gardener is joining us for this week and fears that he has accidentally gotten Strange Jason killed. Sherlock Foxxx, the world’s only consulting fox detective, gets on the case with Undead Elvis. Nate tries his best to keep you entertained as they race against the clock.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes, Stitcher and Spreaker. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

Aug 26 2014

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Creepxotica

Creepxotica
Official Site
Creepxotica, Dionysus Records 2011
Haunted Bossa Nova, Dionysus Records 2013

This logo is being shown because the only boobs showcased on Gravedigger's Local 16 are our writers.  Hey, wait a minute...

Creepxotica has a rather interesting history. It’s actually a side project of the horror surf band The Creepy Creeps, which is in turn made up from former members of bands like Struggle, Tarantula Hawk and The Locust (among others). Hailing from San Diego, the Creepy Creeps’s first album was 2006′s The Creepy Creeps LP. But since it was released on a U.K. label, most American fans are probably more familiar with the 2009 album Fink About It. While I can’t quite pin down when Creepxotica started, I do know their first release was a self-titled EP in 2011.

Creepxotica starts off with “Haunted Hula,” in which spooky storm sound effects take us into spooky guitar work and bongos. There’s plenty of percussion and vibe work and it’s simultaneously lively and eerie. I love the bongo work in “Creeping Kilauea,” which is perfectly paired with a vibraphone and guitars which seem to moan softly. “Enchanted Lagoon” is both speedy and sneaky in tone and has a very light feel to its use of vibes. “Murder on Molokai” mixeslight vibes, spooky guitar touches, guiros and super soft piano work. Said piano picks up for a great interlude with drums at one point and I love the use of spooky sound effects in this track.

In Haunted Bossa Nova, a reverb heavy surf opening soon gives way to eerie exotica in the energetic “Head Huntin.” “Bali Hai Bossa” offers ever-present guiros and light music provided by drums and vibes (plus a little guitar work). There’s a happy feel at first, but takes on a more serious tone later one. It’s also somewhat “Middle Eastern” in feel at times. Tiki fans will immediately notice how the title is a South Pacific reference and is the first of many references sprinkled throughout the album. This album’s take on “Haunted Hula” isn’t as creepy as the EP version, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. I actually prefer this take on it! Its heavy surf influence is on full display and contrasts nicely with the soft vibes and guitars. The opening of “Hotel Street Blues” echos that of the previous track, but quickly asserts its own identity with the group’s saxophone talents on full display. Bongo fans are sure to love this and I couldn’t help but notice how the title seems to refer to part of Hawaii’s Chinatown. Similarly, “Pig Ana Poi” pays tribute to some of Hawaii’s famous foods. Where do I begin? There’s dreamy vibes and other exotic percussion, along with a little chanting. There are some soft guitars as well, but vibes are the main attraction here. Vibes quickly give way to reverb goodness in “Creepin Kilauea,” which is similar to the EP version. There’s plenty of guiros and bongos and you can learn more about Kilauea here. As providing background for each reference to a part of Hawaii would take up too much time and space, I suggest using that link to search for any other Hawaiian names used in this album.

“Kaimuki Kraze” is light and sneaky, but thankfully stands out from tracks with a similar feel on the album. Its surf side is in full view, but still has exotica bits. Wood blocks open “Hanalie Hoopla,” which is lower key than other the tracks so far. In addition to enjoying its use of piano and insectlike guiros, I appreciated it offering a new variation on Creepxotica’s standard beat. More on that later. “Enchanted Lagoon” is longer, slower and much more suspenseful this time around. Is that a bad thing? Hell no! Its unique vibraphone introduction and eerie backing tones conjure up a sense of magic and mystery. It’s the perfect balance of spooky surf and exotica. The musical equation for “Waimea Witch Hunt” is drums plus guiros plus sax equals great music. The organ interlude is also a nice touch. “Murder on Molokai” is more energetic this time around and is shorter than the EP version. The sound effects may be gone, but they’ve been replaced with a tambourine and other unexpected musical surprises. “Incident at the Luau” has its mysterious and mournful opening music draped over a bongo beat. Said beat is very different from the other tracks and the use of a sitar is a great touch.

Earlier in my review, I made a comment about Creepxotica having a “standard beat” in Haunted Bossa Nova. This is a reference to how several tracks seem to use the same basic feel with new music layered over it. While I am not necessarily opposed to the idea, I do wish they had somehow been able to swap some tracks from Creepxotica EP with ones from this album so there would be a little more variety. This happens around the middles of the album, so the later tracks make up for it. But this might not be an issue for many listeners since this is the age of listening to random tracks and homemade mix compilations. Especially if said mixes utilize tracks from both Creepxotica releases. I only bring this up because I’m wild about Creepxotica’s fusion of exotica and surf music and hope they avoid the issues in future releases. Speaking of which, there’s a new live album from Creepxotica out now! But don’t head over to Amazon or iTunes just yet, because it’s available exclusively through Belly Up Live! Keep an eye on these guys. I know I certainly will! And I swear it’s not because of their NSFW album covers…

Special thanks to Creepxotica for use of the image!

Aug 22 2014

The 6′+ Summer Special is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Strange Jason is still on vacation (or whatever he’s calling it.) In honor of H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday this week, we’ll put up this formerly NecronomiCon 2013 exclusive episode for one week only. It’s got music from Zombeast, White Flag, Alex K. Redfearn and the Eyesores and more.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes, Stitcher and Spreaker. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

Aug 21 2014

Movie Review: Mesa of Lost Women (1953)


Mesa_of_lost_women

Zombos Says: Poor (but hilarity abounds)

Leering dwarf faces keep intercutting at inappropriate times, producing an effect not unlike the subliminals in Terror in the Haunted House. The spider women, with the notable exception of Tarantella, all dress like extras in She. Adding to the Woodian confusion, if you look quickly enough, you will see Mona McKinnon (Plan 9) and Dolores Fuller (Glen or Glenda?, Jailbait) among them. (Bad Movie Report)

There are movies that act like ridicule magnets. Anyone who has watched enough television or eaten too much popcorn at the cinema can easily name at least one special instance of ignominy felt from being spectator to a cinematic catastrophe, or feeling resentful from having time, better spent elsewhere, sinfully squandered and ticket money regrettably wasted.

Then again, there are people like our neighbor, Paul Hollstenwall.

“Wasn’t that a hoot,” said Paul, pulling up the collar of his raincoat and pulling down the brim of his hat.

No, wait a minute, I was only imagining he was standing in front of a sleazy theater. I adjusted my mental eyesight better. After watching the movie he brought over, Ron Ormand’s Mesa of Lost Women, I needed to do a lot of adjustment. We were in Zombos’ library and Paul was sitting on my left, dressed in his usual brown tweed sport coat, faded jeans, and worn Pumas. Zombos was sitting on my right and—wait, where’d he get off to?

“More like a howler,” I told Paul. “I’m not sure what jarring close-ups of leering dwarves, non-speaking hoochie cooch-dressed women, and a hairy spider with eight legs that doesn’t move them–the legs I mean–much, has to do with the title. No, wait, come to think of it, just about everybody was lost most of the time, including me and Jackie Coogan as the mad scientist Dr. Aranya, hanging out in a cave and doing what I’m still not sure of.”

“He was mutating spiders into giants and mutating women with his spider venom,” supplied Paul.

“Why? And why were those women and dwarves constantly underfoot? It doesn’t make sense.”

“He’s a mad scientist. What’s to make sense? Don’t they always mutate, create, or destroy things in horror and sci-fi movies? Because they’re crazy, I mean. The movie’s definitely a double-biller for a drive-in, so adding some feminine pulchritude kept eyes peeled on the screen more than Aranya or loopy Dr. Masterson (Harmon Stevens) would have.

Paul had a point. And he actually used the word pulchritude in a sentence.

“What surprises me is how good the cinematography is compared to the rest,” I said.

“That is because the directors of photography were too good for this dreck,” said Zombos, entering the library. “Ice cold mint juleps should be arriving just about…now.”

The bell on the library’s dumbwaiter buzzed. I headed over and extracted the drinks. Chef Machiavelli’s mint juleps would have even satisfied Tennessee Williams.

“The photography,” continued Zombos, “was done by Karl Struss and Gilbert Warrenton. More than adequate for this otherwise incompetent opus." He took the glass I handed to him and sat down on my right. "All that desert photography made me thirsty.” He took a sip then continued.

"Judicious use of dissolves, wipes, and recall the first meeting between Dr. Masterson and Aranya in the cave laboratory. That set was the size of a walk-in closet. Yet look at how they moved our view left to right, from in front of the lone lab table. It gave depth and liveliness to a tight and narrow space."

"Shame they couldn't clip the cantina scene with Tarantella (Tandra Quinn) doing her endless tarantella," I quipped.

"No!" Paul said. "She's so dark and mysterious. Don't forget she's really a spiderized woman."

"Well, she certainly had the legs for it, even if only two of them. Now, maybe you can tell me what Masterson going all loopy and weird was about?"

"He goes dopey after Aranya injects him with a drug," said Paul, "to stop him from interfering with Aranya's nefarious work—"

"—Making dwarves and spiderized woman. Okay then, what about the cantina scene? He shows up, sits down with a couple of perfect strangers, watches Tarantella dance—how'd she get there in the first place?—and dance. And dance some more. Said spiderwoman glares at him while he talks to the couple, a man and woman who don't know him from Adam. And he talks, and talks some more. And then they leave the cantina. He insists on them all taking a plane ride, with a little persuasion from his gun, the plane engine catches fire and conveniently they all crash land on Aranya's mesa." I stopped to take a breadth.

"Did you notice how the pilot did not turn his steering wheel at all during the flight," said Zombos. “He must have graduated from the Plan 9 school of method acting."

I continued. "Now they're all on the mesa, along with that giant spider that doesn't move much, and assorted dwarves and pretty women who stand around like a chorus in a Greek tragedy, only they don't say a word. We even see them, most of the time, standing a scant few feet away from everyone else, but everyone else doesn't see them at all. Then Wu, the token Chinese guy, buys it in the woods. Of course he has to mutter a proverb or two before getting killed about being killed, which is why they needed him in the first place I guess. And I think the mesa set was even smaller than the lab." 

"Indeed," added Zombos. "When the pilot takes out his penlight to light the way through the woods, everyone keeps moving back and forth through the same narrow path, holding hands."

"Then more close-ups of grinning dwarves and pretty women ensemble standing around an
arm's length away while the pilot and the woman from the cantina hit it off by the campfire. Out of the blue he's telling her what kind of woman he likes and they kiss." 

"At least much humor ensues with one fellow jumping TOWARDthe nearly comatose giant spider when he sees it, and let us not forget the effusive potential for derisive commentary throughout," said Zombos.

"So," I summed up, "we've got a music score that runs rampant from the get-go, ignoring the action on screen much of the time, a confusing triple bypass flashback going on between characters to tell an already incoherent story, and a crummy script that opens up a world of mirth in the viewing, not to mention some bizarre scene cutting and papier mache mise-en-scène. Oh, and I shouldn't forget the ponderous Criswell-styled narration to aid in our understanding of this nonsense."

"And deliciously potent mint juleps to make it all go down agreeably," said Paul.

We all drank to that.  

This article originally appeared at Zombos’ Closet of Horrors.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.

Aug 19 2014

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Tsultry Tsounds of Go!Tsunami

Go!Tsunami
Official Facebook
The Tsultry Tsounds of Go!Tsunami, Deep Eddy Records 2013

Some of the failed auditions for the Freaky Tiki Surf-ari logo.

What can I say about Go!Tsunami that I haven’t already said in my first review of their work? As you may have guessed, this means I love the band and their follow-up to 2009′s New Wave Order is awesome. Let’s look at how I came to that conclusion:

“Tabonga!” is a name any fan of bad movies should recognize. Not only is it a reference to From Hell It Came, but the track even starts off with a sample from the film. There’s plenty of rockin’ guitars and soft, often (but not always) eerie organ work. Speaking of references, “Bad Day At Diamond Head” is named for the famous Hawaiian volcanic cone. Although things quickly pick up after the somewhat mournful guitar opening, the track’s overall serious tone remains the same (even when it goes from mournful to suspenseful). A sample of sirens and a call to dive kick off “Depth Change,” whose rollicking drums and guitars make for an exciting listening experience. The low key opening of “Siren Song” quickly revs up to give the listener a very catchy tune. There’s also a vaguely “Middle Eastern” feel at times. “Come in Xb-13″ has a spacy opening and repeated calls of “Come in Xb-13.” I thought this was going to be about spies at first, but it appears to be a reference to a type of bomber plane. Which is appropriate since the guitars and drums really take off in this!

“Matador’s Revenge” offers a great combination of guitars and organ work. In addition to its overall Latin vibe, the closing has a classic surf feel to it. The soft and low key opening in “Cove of the Blind Fisherman” sets the pace for its relaxed and soothing feel. “Spies from Space” features fast paced and exciting guitar work backed by organs, along with the obligatory space sounds. There’s also an amazing guitar interlude and an overall sense of both intrigue and adventure. The circus music at the end flows nicely into the jaunty surf tune “Mole Men On the Midway,” “Return to the Cove” is quite the surprise due to its heavy use of Spanish guitar and whistling! But said surprise is a pleasant one, so I have no complaints. Although primarily a surf band, Go!Tsunami always has a Tiki shout-out. This album’s is called “The Moai Stomp” and it’s fast paced and heavy surf easily makes it one of my favorite tracks.

There are some people put there who argue a band’s follow-up album will never be as good as their first. The Tsultry Tsounds of Go!Tsunami is proof those people are wrong. The CD-R is also notable for being the last time Go!Tsunami member “The Fury” performed on an album. Although he has since parted ways with the band, the drum duties are now handled by one “Mr. Tentacles.” I look forward to hearing his work with the band. It’s been said they have been playing a new song called “Cthulhu Beach Party” at live events, so I doubt we’ll be waiting a long time for a new release.

Special thanks to Go!Tsunami for the review copy!

Aug 15 2014

6′+ Episode 118 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Monstermatt Patterson has taken control of the program! With Strange Jason still missing, listen to the Man of a Thousand Bad Monster Jokes play some classic ha-ha-horror songs from Screamin’ Lord Sutch, The Ghouls, Gene Moss, Elvira, Tomb Dragomir and more!”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes, Stitcher and Spreaker. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

Aug 14 2014

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Hello Little Olives

Ding Dong Devils
Official Facebook
Hello Little Olives, Tiki Tunes Records 2012

Those aren't olives, he ripped out that poor Tiki idol's eyes!

The Ding Dong Devils are back! While the songs are all new, their unique brand of playful exotica/surfabilly/fuzzy rock is still the same. Hello Little Olives is loaded with musical shout-outs, which ranges from Don Ho to GG Allin!

“Meet Me At the Hula Hut” kicks things off with a laid back Hawaiian beat. As the Ding Dong group sings about an amazing sounding (and most likely fictional) Tiki bar and how they want you to join them, some exotica legends get name checked. References to other musicians also pop up in “We’re the Ding Dong Devils,” which features a “Quiet Village meets Iron Butterfly” segment that is simply not to be missed. Fans of the “Ding Dong Devils Theme” from their first album will definitely enjoy this. The retro rock and tambourines of “BBQ Tiki Ribs” set the perfect party atmosphere for your barbecue (or any other get together)…so long as you have ribs on the menu. Long before Guardians of the Galaxy made Blue Swede’s cover of “Hooked on a Feeling” popular again, the Ding Dong Devils paid tribute to it in “Hula Hula Hot Rod.” It’s a tale of how someone who bought a hot rod online and, unsurprisingly, it has issues. Issues that make for an entertaining song! In “Weeki Wachee,” the band sings about an island with swingin’ mermaids. The wild instrumental break seems to be intended to simulate what it’s like to be underwater. The title “Yes, Master!” might make you think of hunchbacked lab assistants and brain transplants, but the sound of a cracking whip which opens it makes it very clear what this track is about. This is a cover of the 1958 song by the Whips and Julia “Nepheria” Devine provides both the vocals and whipping! It’s a bouncy tune and has a lighter feel than the original. But you know what? I like it! “Tiki Caliente” means “hot (as in attractive) Tiki” and its use of guiros add to the track’s classic exotica feel with Hawaiian touches. Light drums and cymbals bring us into the mysterious sounding surf guitar work of “From Vine to Vine.” I particularly loved the brief bongo interlude with “native” chattering. “Dance of the Tsetse Fly” is a cute and catchy song, which is pretty impressive given how its subject is a blood drinking fly best known for spreading disease. Fans of Spongebob Squarepants are sure to love this (along with anyone with good taste in music).

“The Lonely Bultaco” has quite the back story to it. In addition to both referencing a type of motorcycle and Herb Alpert’s “The Lonely Bull,” it’s also a cover of a song from Brent Walker’s old band Del Noah and the Mt. Ararat Finks. As for the track itself, it has a great road trip feel. The lack of vocals add to the lonely feel. There’s plenty of reverb and a little exotic percussion thrown in for good measure. It’s longer than the original, which had a heavier feel, but I like them both. Although I do miss the saxophone work somewhat, it would have admittedly clashed with the percussion. The organ-based opening of “Yummy Yummy Rummy Rummy” sets the tone for a jaunty song about drinking rum. Oh, did I mention the song is sung from the point of view from a kid who’s sneaking his parents rum and sharing it with his friends? “Room Crawl” asks why should you go all over the city on a bar crawl when you can go from neighbor to neighbor’s apartment to try each tenant’s specialty drink? I love the descriptions of the fictional drinks and their serving settings, especially due to the numerous amounts of freaky stuff. “Rum Snob” has an opening based on “The Streets of Cairo,” although we knew it under a different name as kids. Great great guitars and percussion back the vocals of a man throwing a party with only finest specialty rum. The instrumental track “Congo Glide” has a wonderful “oddball Hawaiian” feel. In addition to the soft triangle and steel guitar, there’s a healthy dose of sci-fi “woo” noises! “Mooka Mooka Island” is a soft and soothing song about a tropical romantic paradise. Bongo beats and touches of humor abound, along with some excellent steel guitar work. “Cat Nap” mixes a soft triangle and guitars with the sounds of crickets, birds and a sleeping, growling cat. As as the case in many old school exotica works, the some of the animal noises (the cat’s) are done by a human performer. It’s delightfully goofy and always brings a smile to my face. Even if I heard this without seeing the artist’s name, I’d know it was a Dingo Dong Devils ditty.

Just like their last album, this is pressed onto a glass-mastered CD to ensure the highest quality. Artist Derek Yaniger has once again provided the cover art and has even done work for Tiki Oasis. Why do I bring this up? Because the Ding Dong Devils will be debuting their third album at this year’s Tiki Oasis! It’s an outer space-themed album called Space Fezcapade and attendants of the event will be able to snag a copy long before its general release in September. Judging from how well their last two releases have turned out, I’m confident the new album will be just as amazing.

Special thanks to the Ding Dong Devils for the review copy!

Aug 12 2014

The Emotional Vampire & Passive Aggressive Werewolf

SMBC Theater have been making tons of hilarious online comedy sketches since 2009. Here are two loosely related ones that I think you will enjoy:

Just like the last time I linked to an online sketch comedy troupe, the people behind the above videos have made a feature length motion picture. It’s called Starpocalypse and you can learn more about it here. Also like last time, it should also be noted that SMBC Theater sketches tend to be of the NSFW variety. You have been warned!

Aug 08 2014

6′+ Episode 117 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Strange Jason is missing on this episode that features the Gdl16 Intern hosting, along with The Monstermatt Minute, Heather Buckley’s Oddscurities, Killer Kuts from Kraig Khaos and music from The Mad Doctors, The Hamburgulars, The Phantom Rockers, Haunted George and more!”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes, Stitcher and Spreaker. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

Aug 06 2014

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Return

Guess who?

I started the Freaky Tiki Surf-ari four years ago and find myself pleasantly surprised by how the exotica genre seems to embrace its freaky side more and more each year. Hopefully you had similar feelings about our surprise foreshadowing on the podcast. This year is no exception and I think you will find the albums selected for this year’s installment to be quite fascinating. So as we await the future, let’s look to the past with last year’s Freaky Tiki Surf-ari:

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Return
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Crafts and Cocktails
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Volcano Kings
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Hans Karl
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Coffin Daggers
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Les Baxter
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: 6′+ Episode 73 is Up!

I have also received word of an upcoming Kava Kon EP called Virgin Lava. In an odd parallel with this year’s Surf-ari, it contains both remixes (or in the FTS’ case, sequels) and new material. Exotica fans will also appreciate its retro-style cover. Best of all, it’s only the tip of the iceberg since Kava Kon has other new projects in the works! While we wait for those projects, you can enjoy the numerous free downloads available at both of Kava Kon’s Soundcloud pages.

And of that isn’t enough free musical goodness for you, we also have the all exotica episode and the all surf episode of our podcast as well.

Aug 04 2014

Stop the Countdown!

Over the past weekend, I walked into a Party City to kill some time and see if there was any creepy-Birthday related supplies as a last minute celebration of a particular bat-winged DJ I know. And, despite it not even being August, there was a section that had been cleared out, plastered with orange wallpaper and adhered with a sign that read HALLOWEEN IS COMING. I had to roll my eyes.

In the past, I’ve talked about how the song “Halloween” by the Dead Kennedys is inappropriate for a song for the actual holiday, but I have been proven wrong thanks to some overeager retailers.

Take this lyric:

But what’s in between
Where are your ideas
You sit around and dream
For next Halloween

That bit comes towards the end of the song where the subject of the story has shed his or her costume and is now planning for the one time of the year where they can dress up and act exactly the way that makes them the most happy. Instead of waiting for one single night throughout the whole year, the Dead Kennedys song argues that WHY NOT JUST BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE WHENEVER YOU WANT. This is sometimes easier said than done if you’re living in a highly restrictive town who might look at you weird when you go out to pick up some groceries while dressed like a Mummy.

If you’re counting down to Halloween, just stop. Knock it off. Clearly you want to celebrate or being weird and creepy. Congratulations – you’re part of this certain part of the populous. Go find some awesome stuff to hang on your walls from Etsy and join in. STOP COUNTING DOWN TO HALLOWEEN. If you’re that excited about the day, CELEBRATE IT EVERY DAY. Be like Al Jorgensen back before he discovered heroin.

There shouldn’t be any kind of Halloween merchandise showing up in stores until the latter half of August, if not at the start of September. I love creepy shit but seeing Halloween start in the middle of the summer feels out of place. Halloween is associated with a certain time of year and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, that’s around the time when the leaves start to fall and the temperature follows along. Halloween stuff being on sale along with Tiki and barbecue party supplies is akin to the Misfits bikini – two thinks you love independently that go GREAT together in theory, but the actual execution is horribly, horribly wrong.

I think my main problem is that I love Halloween, but I also hate* Halloween. I’ve got a lot of issues with the holiday, specifically certain retailers stocking costumes that perpetuate racist stereotypes and misogynistic ideals. But also, suddenly these interests I have are suddenly out in the forefront in a very commercialized spotlight. I love it when the entire world turns creepy and weird, but when I see the price tags and MADE IN CHINA attached to it, I get the same curmudgeon-esque attitudes like those who bitch about how Christmas has lost its true meaning.

Back before the Internet, Halloween was the only time of year the weirdos could get the kind of items they wanted to hang up all year ’round. But now, with Etsy stores and 24/7/356 outlets available, those who want to have Halloween everyday in their kitchen can do so as long as they have a valid credit card or paypal account. Seeing Halloween stuff in stores doesn’t elicit joy – instead, I feel dread, fear and loathing.

This might be me trying to hold back the ocean. Halloween, like Christmas, New Years and other holidays that require a lot of accoutrements are a money boom for retailers. We could boycott these stores and not buy Halloween products until the first of October. But knowing how some of the General Buying Public loses its shit on Black Friday, I wouldn’t be surprised if people are excited to have all the Halloween stuff taken care of before the end of September.

Who knows, man. Who knows.

 

Aug 01 2014

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: 6′+ Episode 116 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“It wouldn’t be summer without this yearly event of surf and exotica. We have music from Creepxotica, Hell-O-Tiki, Go!Tsunami, The Atomic Mosquitos, The Hula Girls and more. Monstermatt Patterson tries to go surfing but can’t find a stable wifi connection.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes, Stitcher and Spreaker. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

Jul 25 2014

6′+ Episode 115 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“The heat is killer so we try to help you out with a selection of ‘cool’ music, with tunes from The VooDuo, As Diabatz, The Rosedales, Cripple Creek Fairies and more. Monstermatt Patterson stays indoors and watches television, bringing you a classic TV version of the Monstermatt Minute. Plus, we’ve got a movie recommendation from the Music City Madman, Dr. Gangrene.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes, Stitcher and Spreaker. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

Jul 20 2014

Doorways To Horror

One of the many short lived crazes of the 1980s was VHS games. The idea was that watching and playing along with a video tape would add a new aspect to board games. Maybe this was an attempt to deal with increased competition from video games or maybe it was just a way to cash in on the VHS boom. Whatever the reason was, this craze saw the release of a game called
Doorways To Horror from Pressman Toy Corporation in 1986. I have long since forgotten the rules, but the basic idea was to watch the tape packaged with the game and to follow the instructions provided by the narration. Here’s a short clip from it to demonstrate:

I personally cared less about the game and more about the tape of horror movie clips. I only recognized a handful of clips when I first watched it and although I was able to identify more over the years, there were still plenty whose origins eluded me. Even my fellow members of Gravedigger’s Local 16 could only help me name a few of them! Thankfully many knowledgeable people at the Latarnia and Classic Horror Film Board forums were kind enough to help me fill in the blanks. I even learned that board game design legend Sid Sackson had a hand in its creation. So for the first time ever online, here is the complete list that identifies which clip comes from which film in Doorways To Horror:

Creature from the Haunted Sea
Curse of the Swamp Creature
The Terror
Medusa Against the Son of Hercules
Bride of the Monster
White Zombie
The Beast of the Yellow Night
The Phantom Creeps
Night of the Living Dead
Nosferatu
Bride of the Monster
Johnny the Giant Killer
Nightmare Castle
The Ape Man
The Witch`s Mirror
Spooks Run Wild
The Little Shop of Horrors
Night of the Living Dead
World of the Vampires
Curse of the Crying Woman
Curse of the Crying Woman
Curse of the Crying Woman
World of the Vampires
Curse of the Crying Woman
Curse of the Crying Woman
World of the Vampires
The Monster Walks
Hillbillys in a Haunted House
World of the Vampires
World of the Vampires
The Monster Maker
World of the Vampires
Curse of the Crying Woman
The Lost World
Curse of the Crying Woman
White Zombie
White Zombie
Haxan
White Zombie
Circus of Fear
Curse of the Crying Woman
The Beast of the Yellow Night
The Witch`s Mirror
The Beast of the Yellow Night
World of the Vampires
White Zombie
Popeye Meets Sinbad the Sailor
The Witch`s Mirror
Clash of the Wolves
White Zombie
The Witch`s Mirror
Popeye Meets Sinbad the Sailor
I Was a Teenage Werewolf
White Zombie
The Beast of the Yellow Night
The Witch`s Mirror
World of the Vampires
Popeye Meets Sinbad the Sailor
The Man and the Monster
Haxan
The Witch`s Mirror

In case you were wondering, the clip above covers the first nine films mentioned. Sadly the awful jokes continue for the rest of the game. I get the feeling certain clips were chosen for their potential for jokes. Why else would anyone use footage that features an ordinary chimp in a game like this? But on the other hand they skip scenes with tons of potential for humor, like the unintentionally hilarious giant octopus scene from Bride of the Monster. Also baffling is the decision to present footage from the color film Medusa Against the Son of Hercules in black and white! Did they somehow get a black and white print of the film prepared for television syndication? And why didn’t they use any footage of Medusa? I’m not talking about a woman wearing a wig made of rubber snakes either, as that film’s “Medusa” is some kind of one-eyed walking tree thing. It’s not like they could have passed it off as some other type of monster if they wanted to. Oh, did I forget to mention that aspect of the tape? Characters from White Zombie and Circus of Fear are referred to as vampires and any monster with facial hair is called a werewolf. One of my favorite examples is how they use scenes from the Clash of the Wolves for one of the werewolf segments. Not only are the wolves obvious German Shepherds, but the film is actually a silent western starring Rin Tin Tin! The only clip that features an actual werewolf is the one taken from the trailer for I Was a Teenage Werewolf, complete with narration and onscreen text. But if they felt that footage from trailers counted as being in the public domain, why didn’t they use footage from trailers of the classic horror movies that the cover art implies will be in the game? I can’t say I blame them for constantly using clips from Mexican horror movies, as those tend to have a lot of stuff crammed into their plots. But why mine White Zombie and cartoons for so much footage and only touch on The Lost World once? Come to think of it, why did they use a clip from Metropolis in Doorways To Adventure when it would have worked better in this game? That game’s tape is much longer than Doorways To Horror and it makes more sense in the context of a horror game. But despite all of my criticisms, I do have a fondness for the tape. Even though I lost the game and packaging years ago, I still have the VHS that came with it. It was my first exposure to many films I would enjoy later in life and hearing the theme music always makes me smile. Even the films whose clips were only recently identified for me brought a thrill as I thought of all the interesting horror films that are out there.

But don’t get your hopes up for the game being revived for disc-based media any time soon. Despite being sourced from many apparently public domain sources (with the seeming exception of Hillbillys in a Haunted House), a good chunk of the films have either had their copyrights restored or could potentially have them restored in the future thanks to developments set in place by the GATT agreement. I have heard some claim that NAFTA is responsible for Mexican films having their copyrights restored in America. But even if that was not the case, there’s still the matter of its VHS origins. The reason the VHS game craze ended was the lack of interactivity. The tape was the same each time it was played and the promised differences in gameplay were just minor variations on which player would win. Playing along with the tape only became more and more of a chore after each gaming session and this is true even if the game is ported onto a new format. The only VHS game with any long term success that let it survive into the age of DVD was the Nightmare (aka Atmosfear) series, which often required buying new tapes in order change up the games. In fact, one of its DVD installments was released by Pressman! Although DVD games are more popular than their VHS counterparts, with the Scene It? series arguably being the most successful, putting Doorways To Horror on a disc would not cut it. Given the massive storage capacity and use of chapters on DVDs and Blu-rays, it would make more sense to create a new game that would randomly play clips so that it could be played multiple times without getting boring. But with streaming content seemingly set to replace disc-based home media, one wonders if such games have any future left at all. Thank goodness everyone who has enjoyed watching them will always have the memories.

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