Graveyard Smash

Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett

A grand Halloween favorite, ‘the Monster Mash,’ created by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett. Two versions here, one with John ‘Zacherley’ Zacharele and one in color back in the heyday. In addition, some Mr. Show.

Looking for horror flicks?

Latenight Wingman has you covered with its list of horror movies playing on cable this month.

This Is All

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

“I learned all about roots from living in the forest without no blanket and no food. I learned how to eat certain bark, plants, and flowers, how to get certain stones out of ponds and rivers and make rock soup and how to cure pains and cuts with certain plant – strictly old home remedies. If my Blackfoot Indian mother was from Africa, you would call her a witch doctor; if she was from New Orleans, you’d call her a voodoo priestess. I just put it to music.”

Discography here.

I get a lot of my info from biographies. Books fill my shelves with the lives of people I should know about, dead people who existed before me. These are history books to me — books about punk rockers and writers, about bomb builders and mutants. It’s sad that there’s not a book about Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, that I know of, but thankfully someone has an extensive site up that does more than his Wikipedia entry. He’s known for three hits, mostly ‘I Put a Spell On You,’ though I admittedly don’t know much more about him.

 

There’s something about Screamin’ Jay Hawkins that makes him seem important to our current affairs in the Horror Business. He started to do his act back in the mid-fifties, thirteen years before Alice and thirty years before the Misfits. He’s dubbed as the ‘orginal shock-rocker’ but that’s such a weak brand to put on him.

Screamin’ Jay, born in Cleavland, given up as a child and raised by Blackfoot Indians, boxing his way into World War II at age 14 and becoming a champion of Alaska, turning to music and from that, bringing coffins, snakes and canibals to showbizness. Aligator wine. Feast of the Mau Mau. He was singing about horror and spooky before everyone else. Rocket From the Crypt dressed up like him for their final appearance because they wanted to go out as kings. Screamin’ Jay was a king. He wasn’t a shock rocker. ‘Shock’ implies a lack of ‘substance,’ a firework or a loud noise that burns away with little or nothing remaining. What of Jay Hawkins? Is he forgotten? I don’t know. I would hope not. There’s parts of him I want to know about that aren’t clear.

The site writes this:

The time until 1962 includes a prison sentence of 22 months for whatever reason…

22 months of prison for whatever reason? FUCK.

Before a Boston show he tells the Boston Herald, “I am going to reach into … [spectators’] chests, grab their hearts, fumble with their emotions, and have them walking sideways and eating chop suey with chopsticks out of their ear[s] while wearing a gas mask.”

Jay’s been dead for eight years now. His death was overshadowed by Tom Landry and Charles Schultz. I think that’s an example how comic strips and football made everyone look past the dead wild man. I want to think there’s a good amount of people out there that know about him and could answer my questions, write his story down in a book. I think he needs something like that. I’m also talking without knowing, which makes me a fool.

BEST PICTURE EVER

YES

This amazing Frankenberry picture was drawn by Mark Poutenis, creator of the “The Thinking Ape Blues” and these awesome costumes.

Special thanks to Mark Poutenis for allowing use of this picture.

Vintage Halloween Insanity

Here’s a scanned article from a 1934 issue of Modern Mechanix called “Thrills and Chills for your Hallowe’en Party.” Emphasis on “chills,” because there’s no way you could get away with 99% percent of those ideas without getting roped into a personal injury lawsuit.

Go Ask Alice

Alice Cooper

Discography here.

Next year marks forty-years since the first Alice Cooper album, which makes him a prime candidate to kick off a Blood of Your Father’s theme for a couple of days. Alice Cooper, in music and performance, has been a stalwart of spooky for over four decades. Though, Vincent Price yesterday sort of started BoYF, which–if you can follow–had Weird Jon lead me to the discussion of ‘evil’ over at Tough Pigs, which then had me think about what was said of Alice Cooper’s appearance on the Muppet Show:

>”There’s a kind of cheerful teenage nihilistic savagery behind Alice’s act — like he’s taking all the fears of mainstream 1970’s America and saying, yup, we’re gonna destroy everything you hold dear. We’ll seduce your daughters and blow up your schools, we’ll sell drugs and wear ugly clothes and we don’t care what you think about it, because we’re beyond your bourgeois rules and laws.

 

We don’t need to go much into Alice Cooper’s life – he was born Vincent Furnier in Detroit, moved to Phoenix, started a group and got signed to Frank Zappa’s label. After hits with ‘I’m Eighteen’ and ‘School’s Out,’ his career took off and got out of hand where his alcoholism nearly killed him. He’s sobered up, learned to play golf (and got a good score) and he currently performs, records and hosts his own syndicated radio show. There’s a lot of biographical information you can find about Alice. If you want to get that back issue of Rue Morgue with the piss-poor write up of the great ‘Earth E.P.’ I talked about, it’s got Alice on the cover and you can get a crash course in the man. Or find the VH1 ‘Behind the Music’ somewhere on YouTube.

Music wise, Alice has never been pigeonholed. He’s always been refining himself with the passing of time. Listening to his seventies albums is as efficient as any time machine. Same goes with his releases for the eighties and the nineties. He’s always had that signature voice and songwriting but he’s never been confined to a specific decade. Alice has been able to adapt, to change his appearance so he doesn’t come off faded or irrelevant. It’s probably why he’s still performing today with not the jaded dismissal usually reserved for Led Zepplin or The Rolling Stones.

I prefer his earlier albums, though having not heard them all, it’s hard to say. He just released a new one and I will give it a listen. Even a bad Alice Cooper album isn’t that bad of an experience. I would relate to it as pizza. Pizza and Alice Cooper are rarely so bad that they’re inconsumable. I do like ‘Man behind the Mask’ and not just because it’s the theme to ‘Friday the 13th VI.’ (Careful, that link contains massive amounts of codpiece.) Admittedly, the author (Matt) reads a little too much into the episode. While his write-up is an accurate description of the impressions of Alice Cooper at the time, a zeitgeist of the time when he was considered dangerous, it seems to ignore that such sentiments embodied by Alice were nothing terribly new. Old v. New, young & wild v. tried and established. Blah, blah.

While I think that he read a little too much into the Muppets episodes, I think that’s his job. It is, after all, a Muppet site and if he wasn’t going hog wild about it, he might as well not try at all. But I think he missed the point. The eighties brought about the sanitation of our media, and that’s such a horrible thing. Alice, god bless him, came about before then and was able to plow right through. Sure, he was thought of as a devil and a deviant. But he wasn’t the first.He was taking on a different medium, though. Alice was a horror show rock star, and he had/still has a great show. The man admitted that his whole act was ‘vaudeville,’ and it’s exactly that-vaudeville, a performance. It would also explain why he, along with Vincent Price, appeared on ‘The Muppet show.’ Imagine any of the shock-rockers of the mid-nineties, and ask if Marilyn Manson, Slipknot or the ilk would show up alongside a felt-puppet and sing? It’s a ludicrous thought. Those bands took themselves entirely too seriously, and in that lies their fatal flaw.

Alice has been dangerous, but I don’t think he’s ever been scary. He’s been serious, and he remains talented in my opinion. A man doesn’t perform for forty years without a modicum of talent or at least the intelligence to maintain a steady fan-base.

But if not scary, Alice Cooper has, in my opinion, been spooky. His songs like ‘I Love the Dead,’ ‘Teenage Frankenstein’ and ‘Devil’s Food’ have captured some of the best spirits of the season. But he’s always been there for some fun along with the music. I think you can laugh at an Alice Cooper show. You couldn’t laugh at a Manson concert and that’s what done him in. For when it’s hard to laugh, it’s easy to say ‘fuck you,’ and that’s what was said to Manson. I’d be rather distressed to see someone say ‘fuck you’ to Alice. Why? Because Alice knew the difference between spooky and scary. Scary was alcohol addiction that threatened his life. ‘Scary’ was buying too heavily into the performance and not maintaining the health of the actor. ‘Scary’ was taking it too seriously. There were real scary things in life and ‘Black Widows’ and ‘Cold Ethyl’ didn’t do it – but spouse abuse in ‘Only Women Bleed,’ well fuck. That is scary. Alice has always been one to point that out and I’m grateful for him.

I think Alice Cooper set a good example for many horror-based musicians and acts to follow. I think the ones starting out today could follow his path as they forge their own. He’s a saint, that Alice. God bless him.

 

Price To Pay

Vincent Price, that is.

Printable Halloween Décor

Toetag, you're it!

Economic woes eating up your Halloween budget? If you’ve got a well-stocked color printer and some glue, then we’ve got you covered!

If you have a lot of spare time and patience, you might want to try making the “following portraits” of Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula available at Frankenpaper.

Haunted Dimensions offers papercraft versions of tombstones and other things associated with Disney’s Haunted Mansion.

The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society offers up toe tags, death certificates and a Miskatonic University diploma that are perfect for haunted houses.

You can spook up any non-digital clocks in your house using the “13 hour clock” images from the Monster Maze or the Ghoul Skool.

The Halloween section of Canon’s papercraft site has a small assortment of kid-friendly masks and cards. Those who want more serious decorations can try assembling the realistic papercraft snowy owls (Great for Harry Potter-inspired setups) and a cat that I’m sure can be easily modified into a black cat.

I’ve saved the best for last: RavensBlight has printable games, masks, paintings, and other cool stuff (like this creepy little fellow). There’s even free music!

Creative Commons License

The image illustrating this article was licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License. The rest of the article is copyrighted by Gravedigger’s Local 16. Please see the individual terms of each project to verify what license(s) they are available under (if any).

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting or downloading from any links on those sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). Attempt at your own risk.

Powered by the Dead: Gein and the Graverobbers


Gein and the Graverobbers

http://www.geinandthegraverobbers.com
http://www.myspace.com/geinandthegraverobbers

Humanoids from the Deep, Necro-Tone Records 2000
Hang Ten, Necro-Tone Records 2001
Songs in the Key of Evil, Necro-Tone Records 2002
Passion of the Anti-Christ, Necro-Tone Records 2005
Gruesome Twosome, Necro-Tone Records 2007

Gein and the Graverobbers found me through MySpace a few years back, right around their ‘Passion of the Anti-Christ’ release. The few songs on their page led me to an easy purchase. I hadn’t gotten that involved in either spooky or surf music. I had seen Los Straitjackets a few months earlier when they played in Albany, where I was living at the time. But that was about it – the Ghastly Ones were still on hiatus and I hadn’t really bothered with finding anyone else. Gein and the Graverobbers rekindled what The Ghastly Ones started.

Gein and the Graverobbers were seriously frightening when I first saw them play. They were the reason why I hit up Drop Dead, which led me to The Crimson Ghosts and a couple other good bands. But I was there for them and man, they did not disappoint.

There’s something intimidating about the group when they get into it, like that deep-fear I felt when I saw ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ for the first time. There was fear tempered with adrenaline and a sense of respect for the natural order of things. Those kids had to die, and this band had to play. The music of Gein and the Graverobbers are, in a way, as natural as death and that’s what made that first impression so powerful. Ever since then, they keep getting better.

Gein, when he gets in his mood, will walk right up to you and stare you down. Back then, they had a bassist named Kemper who seemed to hate breathing and all those who did it. Sloth, the drummer, comes off as the opposite, as a man who is happy that everything dies. And Myra, the only word that pops to mind is ‘vicious.’

Outside of the characters that they play, the band comes off as really nice and friendly. Times that I’ve said ‘hi’ to them, they’ve been extremely grateful for any and everyone who has shown up to see them play.

Currently, The Rev plays bass for them. He’s also in the band Mongrel, which makes him a great fit for the Graverobbers. Gein plays in The Crimson Ghosts but also in Black Pyramid. Myra has her band Ghoul’s Night Out, which I’ll cover in this month since they’re awesome, but she also does all the layouts for each Necro-Tone release.

Funny thing about the entire Necro-Tone family: they kind of introduced a sense of reality to my ignorant ass. When the Crimson Ghosts played 4th Street in Troy, I went up to talk to Gein for the first time. I told him that I was a fan of his work and that I thought both ‘The Haunted House’ and ‘Transylvania’ were some of the best sounding songs I have ever heard. Both cuts were from their ‘Songs in the Key of Evil’ album, but I didn’t know that one was an Iron Maiden cover.

It was that at that same show I was surprised to find out that these guys still had jobs. The reality that these guys were doing this as what they loved but still spent forty hours a week at a straight job smacked me right in the face. I don’t know if that’s still true today, and I would hope that one day, everyone in the band can rely on their art to pay the mortgage.

The early Gein and the Graverobbers releases have been out of print for a while. Necro-Tone records recently produced ‘The Gruesome Twosome,’ which is more of a ‘Terrible Three-Way’ since you get ‘Humanoids from the Deep,’ ‘Songs in the Key of Evil,’ and ‘Passion of the Anti-Christ.’ Bargain Deal on Evil. Hit them up and buy a CD. See them if you can.

Ghoul Log

According to the uploader, packratshow:

“This clip is from Drew’s Famous Ghoul Log DVD. I’ve only captured the first 25 percent becuase they basically gave up after 8 and half minutes. The rest of the video is still frames of the pumpkins and mask for 30 minutes. I feel ripped of even though I only paid 2.99 for this piece of crap. There is also another video on the disc which has the same soundtrack but with three shots(again, repeated for 40 minutes) of the same 3 pumpkins with poorly animated flames keyed in the the mouth and face holes.”

To see more Drew’s Famous Entertainment suckage, I highly recommend checking out his other videos.

Where was I last night?


I was getting my ass kicked by these guys –

Dressing up in rubber suits and latex for a living is one thought most extravagant. To consider that this group has been doing it for about twenty-five years is wonderful. Perhaps we can view GWAR as an example of the different attitudes of horror, especially in today’s market. Sometimes, a horror movie needs to get down to the base essentials of the genre: over-the-top gore, a plotline that is as much an appeal to your blood thirst as it is to your pleasure centers, and an underlying sense of ‘this is fucking ridiculous but I love it anyway.’

Good showing. Tons of blood. Had a blast. Got brutally mutilated. Wish you were here.

The weekend will be spent boning up on material for next week, something I’d like to call ‘Blood of my Fathers.” A little tribute to those who made Halloween today what it was (or at least, a week’s worth of posts of older spookshow masters so I don’t write more about surf and post youtube videos at the last moment.)

Also, the Front Office is looking for opinions. It’s debating where the Local stands on the new Elvira.

Robot Monster: Special Edition

I think the person who uploaded this, backobeyond, summed it up nicely:

“The following is a clip from a 1982 MTV special. Before MTV had enough music videos to fill their day they scheduled with specials and events. In this TV special Videography Studios and 3D Video pooled their resources and shot new 3D footage to wrap around the 1950s Sci-Fi classic, “ROBOT MONSTER”. The rock group, SPACE CADET star as the guys in silver lamet…. and that’s Bob Burns in the famous Tracy the Gorilla suit from the kid’s TV series, “The Ghost Busters”!”

That’s right, MTV didn’t always play music videos 24/7 back in the day. So can we please put an end to all the “back when MTV actually played music” jokes?

You can order some free 3D glasses here. Don’t sweat the wait, though; the 3D effect isn’t very good. The problem with the anaglyphic 3D process is that it works better with still images than it does on moving footage. Also, 3D looks its best when projected onto a silver screen and you have to play around with color settings in order to make it look somewhat decent on monitors and TV screens. But, all in all, this video is a nice little curiosity.

Redneck Dracula

Elmo Shropshire (aka Dr. Elmo), the man who inflicted “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” upon the world, seems to have milked Christmas dry and set his sights on Halloween. Sadly, this seems to be a growing trend among those who specialize in Christmas music. Originally appearing as a song on his 2005 “Sings the Boos” release and later getting its own album with the same name, “Redneck Dracula” is
(in my opinion) a trainwreck of a song.

Obviously made to cash in on the “Blue Collar” craze, the song amazingly doesn’t do much with the concept. It’s as if he thought that just calling Dracula a redneck in the title was enough to get the point across. Other than that, it’s limited to the occasional awful pun, like “…drove a chicken-fried stake through my heart,” and having the title character ride a mechanical bull. Not that the song’s concept wasn’t terrible to begin with, but you’d think that Dr. Elmo would’ve at least tried a little harder. In the end, Dracula has been lowered to awkwardly hitting on truck stop regulars in order to suck their blood, thus making this the most depressing Halloween novelty song ever recorded. Coupled with the poor attempt at a “scary vampire” voice and music that sounds like a demo selection from a Casio keyboard, it all adds up to one crappy song. The music video only makes it worse, as they decided that farts and having Dracula look at a stroke mag would make things “funnier”:

The rest of the album consists of cover songs and more painfully unfunny original material, including another carry-over from the previous album and yet another variation on the “Grandma” concept.

Some might say that I’m being too hard on a man who primarily records material aimed at children. All I can say is listen to the samples on these pages. No matter who your target audience is, there’s no excuse for poor quality.

Besides, Unknown Hinson offered the definitive take on redneck vampires ion his song “Undead Blues,” so Dr. Elmo best step back. Hell yeah. You can check it out for yourself on his Myspace page or by watching the following music video:

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

From what I understand, this song is from the television series, 30 Rock. Happy Yom Kippur to all our Jewish readers!

Left for Dead

The Independents

Getting away from the surf for a quick update, here are the Independents. They’re going to release a new album next week. Hit up your local independent music store if you got one. If you don’t, buy it from them direct (decent package deal. Twenty-five bucks gets you a CD, a shirt, and both a button and a patch.) Since Ska is Dead, it makes a great foil for spooky.

Not much else to write about since I’ve just picked up their ‘Back from the Grave’ album. Good shit. But here’s a couple vids.

The “Ultimate Haunt”

Enter if you dare...

Chances are that you’ve heard stories about a haunted house with 13 floors somewhere in your state. You know, the one that nobody’s ever been able to complete since it’s so scary and has trapdoors that drop you out of the place? In fact, the management is so confident nobody can finish that they’ll give you a partial refund for each floor you complete and will give a complete refund to anyone who finishes the entire house. Only a select few have made it to the 13th floor…and they all died of fright before they reached the exit.

As you’ve probably guessed, this house simply does not exist. It’s just an urban legend kept alive by stories of friends of friends who know the location and the occasional hoax or two.

Despite stories of such a place in every state across the nation and countless people searching the internet, nobody can ever provide its exact location. This is a dead giveaway that the house doesn’t exist. This Snopes.com article explains about the impossibility of such an attraction and notes some haunted houses that have cashed in on the legend by offering refunds if visitors are able to complete certain tasks. In fact, I have actually found some of these houses online. The Urban Legends haunted house in Michigan apparently offers a refund if you’re able to find a secret room inside the “Pitch Black” haunted house. Another Michigan haunt, the Realm of Darkness, offers to double your money back if you can defeat the wizard. However, you supposedly have to choose the correct items out of ridiculous amount of other items to get the gems to defeat a wizard, whose secret location in the haunt must also be found. Finally, the 13th Floor haunted house in Colorado offers a refund to every 113th person who goes through the attraction.

But how did the legend get started? Leonard Pickel, editor of “Haunted Attraction” magazine, suspects that it started in Kansas City and spread across the nation. His idea seems quite credible, as he apparently was introduced to an earlier, lesser version of the story that only involved two floors and a time limit. Some have suggested that Raven’s Grin Inn could’ve sparked the legend. After all, it does offer multiple levels and a long slide that spits out customers. However, the house’s owner has stressed that he only has 7 levels and notes that he doesn’t offer any refund for completing the house.

Another haunted house that might’ve sparked the legend (and most likely helped it along) is Britannia Manor. Created by Richard Garriott, video game designer and creator of the Ultima franchise, this massive haunt is based out of his mansion (and takes two months to get “back to normal” after the haunt has run its course). The admission was free, but only a limited amount of people could go through. Said people had pass a fitness test in order to enter, due to the various challenges of crawling through tunnels, swinging over ropes, and the like. Visitors also had to be on the look-out for secret passages, solve puzzles, and contend with surprises like collapsing walls. You can read more about this amazing haunted house at these three sites.

Although we’ll probably never know for sure where the story was born or what house (if any) sparked it, we can all rest assured that the legendary, money-back haunted house with 13 floors doesn’t exist. However, it’s almost guaranteed that the legend will never die, no matter how many debunkings are written.

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