It Came from….BERWYN?!!!

(Son of) Svengoolie

WCIU- the U!
Fuzzy Memories.TV

It seemed to lessen a bit, but the Halloween spirit has come back to kick me in the eye socket. With a black eye of live, I’m back to rocking Halloween spirit; seems appropriate, being as we’re two days until the big day. I figured to avoid another orbital fracture, I’d give a treat to those of you who keep coming back here.

[edit Nov.1 – all gone. Happy Halloween! See you next year.]

Taking up the mantle of Svengoolie originally, Jerry Bishop passed the title to Richard Koz who took the name ‘Son of Svengoolie’ during his initial run on Chicago television. After a near-thirty year career, Koz’s character is referred to as Svengoolie. Along with musical partner Doug Graves, Tombstone the talking skull and a barrage of rubber chickens, Svengoolie is still on today despite a period of being off the air (allowing for a spin-off, the “Koz Zone.” ‘Koz’ rhymes with ‘nose.’)

Two years ago, thanks to a random passing-by of an odd YouTube video, I found Svengoolie. Not having the pleasure to grow up in Chicago during the seventies/eighties of the first round, I’m glad that technology allows for access of some of the classic Sven clips. Most of them have left YouTube and gone over to FuzzyMemories, the official home for old Chicago TV.

What the above link, the ‘Trick or Link,’ is to a compilation of audio bits taken from Fuzzy Memories. The sound quality is a bit rancid, I’ll admit, but if you are someone who can listen to pops and crackles on a record player, then you won’t mind. ‘It Came from Berwyn’ features a few songs from the original Svengoolie, since I think they were funny. Hopefully, this won’t be the Mary Jane equivalent of your Halloween downloads; perhaps one of those strange candy skeletons in the oddly colored box, with the candy not tasting all that great but the experience not lessened for it.

This is sexy?

Mondo Schlocko has a great, twopart look at some supposedly “sexy” Halloween costumes for women. There’s actually an even goofier “Sexy Freddy Krueger” costume out there, but I don’t know if it’s available to the general public.

Printable Halloween Décor II

Oh boy, fresh head cheese!

For those of you not satisfied by my previous forays into printable decorations, check these out:

The Monster Maze has several printable warning signs that’d look great in any mad scientist-related display.

On a related note, Warningsigngenerator.com and Safety Sign Builder let you make customized warning signs that you can print out for free. However, Safety Sign Builder seems to require you to sign up on their site before they’ll let you print anything.

Hewlett-Packard’s crafts section has some Halloween decorations for doorbells, along with the usual assortment of printable masks and Halloween cards.

Dadcando.com has an interesting way of making a printable magic wand. However, unlike the other projects shown in this post, this one requires use of a glue gun and some painting.

MadHaus Creative used to have great tutorials about making a head in a jar and a tube full of eyeballs using printouts, but they’ve recently been removed. The reason for this is because some jerk had the nerve to steal stuff from the website, burn it onto a DVD-R, and tried selling it on ebay as if he created it all. I’m planning on writing an email to that site’s webmaster to show my support in the near future and I hope that anyone reading this does the same. Hopefully, this will get him to bring those tutorials back.

UPDATE: Warningsigngenerator.com seems to be down, so you can use Add Letters » Warning Sign Generator instead. I also found an alternate version of the previously missing “Head in a Jar” project from Madhaus. That’s right, Madhaus Creative has put all of his wonderful prop tutorials back online! But for some reason the face printout itself is available on another website.

Creative Commons License

The image illustrating this article was licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 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.

Halloween How (not) To

Here’s a bizarre, creepy, and definitely NSFW tutorial on making a female troll figure for Halloween. THRILL! at a man smoking and yelling at his dog! CHILL! at repeated use of the phrase “troll titties” and at the thought of what he’ll do with the finished troll!

Back when I first saw this on Halloweenforum.com, there was much debate over whether this was actually serious or if it was just an elaborate parody. Judging from his other videos, this seems to be real. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

From Denmark, with Love: HorrorPops

HorrorPops

Hell Yeah!, Hellcat 2004
Bring It On!, Hellcat 2005
Kiss Kiss Kill Kill, Hellcat 2008

I wrote a review of the Horrorpops release ‘Kiss Kiss Kill Kill’ which came out last February. I said it was an enjoyable record that showed the band’s progression and experimentation with sounds outside their rockabilly origins. The record has aged well in the past months and makes for a nice addition to the everyday play list. Halloween-wise, the HorrorPops have been on the outs with the spooky for a while.

The band is made up of Patricia Day, Kim Nekroman and Niedermeier. Nekroman is the frontman of Nekromantix, one of the bigger psychobilly bands out there. There’s plenty of spooky, on tattooes and in history, so it’s not as if the HorrorPops are SpookyReformed(tm). It’s a case, I think, of not wanting to eat tuna fish every day. Having committed themselves to Spooky enough, the band is willing to branch out, always loyal to their old interests but strong enough to entertain new ones.

What I didn’t mention in the review was that I found out about the Horropops back in 2004 from watching ‘Punk Rock Holocaust,’ bought used during an long afternoon spent at Last Vestige. ‘Punk Rock Holocaust’ is one of those ‘son of Troma’ movies, where young cinematic fanatics, after spending their fledgling periods under the guide of Lloyd Kaufman and co., head out into the unknown, dangerous world of independent cinema. Other films in this category include ‘Killjoy 2,’ ‘Die You Zombie Bastards!’ and the 2002’s ‘Scooby Doo.’

‘Punk Rock Holocaust’ is a nice slasher that introduced me to both the HorrorPops and the Phenomenauts. It also features half of Simple Plan and the Used getting killed off by a masked punk. Lloyd Kaufman has a role in it as Satan. What more could you want?

At first, the HorrorPops didn’t really click with me but over time, and finding both their albums used, I became a reluctant fan. Why should I be hesitant to be a fan of the HorrorPops? I think it’s not just them, but all psychobilly/rockabilly bands. The upright bass is an instrument with presence. It’s hard to form a sound around it. It’s such an all-encompassing instrument, like the steel guitar or the farfisa organ, that it’s quite easy to sound just like any other band while using it. It’s a sound with such a distinct personality that it doesn’t take much for it to override any other aspect of the band.

I remember around 2004/05, the HorrorPops were apologetically ‘not a psychobilly band’ on their website. I think they were prepping their fans who, after becoming enamored by the ‘Hell Yeah’ release, would be in a shock for the deviating themes on ‘Bring It On.’ There was less about zombies, monsters and skulls and more about broken love, getting drunk and the redeeming power of being in a strong friendship. Sure, there was ‘Walk Like a Zombie,’ but I see now that song was more included for it being a do-wop number than a zombie song.

With ‘Kiss Kiss Kill Kill,’ the band progressed far enough away from the rock/psycho campgrounds with songs that were similar to ska, do-wop, 80’s goth-pop (Peter Murphy, Sisters of Mercy, that kind of thing.) There was some rockabilly with the first single, ‘Heading for the Disco,’ but it fit in with the rest of the album as a tribute to the group’s musical influences. In the review, I said it was a display of growth in both music and subject matter, as songs addressed social unrest in the band’s native land of Denmark (“Boot2Boot”) and some of the problems of being a woman in a genre/scene that’s male dominated (“MissFit”).

They’re a popular band – popular meaning that you can probably find their CDs in stores – and I would check them out if they come by.


Munster Mash

According to this site, Alice Cooper is hosting WGN’s 16 episode marathon of The Munsters from 4:00 pm to midnight (Eastern standard time) on Halloween. For those of you on the West coast, the marathon will run from 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm. This will be followed by a half-hour special about the making of Alice Cooper’s “Along Came a Spider” album.

Please check your local listings to see if you get WGN in your area.

Graphic Displays of Halloween

For my debut at Gravediggers Local 16, I wanted to post something Canadian.  After all, I am from the land of the Wendigo and poorly-produced shows about the Wendigo.  Today I’m linking to something far more evil: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!

Yeah, I know, I hate when people post things like “the impending global recession is far scarier than a werewolf.”  I should punch myself.

This story, taken from a CBC Vancouver news broadcast a year ago, concerns fashion store Mintage’s “controversial” window display, with mannequins either in bondage or dismembered:

I must say I am offended at the window display…for being so boring.  Mannequins do not make for exciting window displays, I don’t care how they’re dressed up.

The YouTube description mentions a “Dead Baby,” which is not in evidence here.  This is more offensive than the Halloween display, not that I know what a mannequin with taped-up nipples and a gas mask is supposed to represent.

Here is a more recent story from CBC Vancouver about age-inappropriate costumes.  There is video from the CBC.ca website, which the CBCtv YouTube channel duplicates for some reason.

There is an instance in the story where the “Ladybug” costume is shown:

That’s some “ladybug.”  The butterfly wings and the half-assed placement of dots on the costume just kill me.

More fun is had when the camera turns to Donna Dobo, the owner of Just Imagine Fun Clothing and the focal point of this news item.  I can’t vouch for how responsible she is running her business, although she did take this down for being too racy.

I do question the zebra-stripe shawl she’s wearing:

I just can’t see that being part of a pimp, errr, “big daddy” costume.  At least she’s not wearing a wide-brimmed hat or holding a diamond-tipped cane.

To round out this first post, here’s an article from the Truro Daily News about popular Halloween costumes.  Thanks to The Tudors, which the Daily News misidentifies, King Henry VIII costumes are big this year.  As if Halloween needs more pimps, errr, “big daddies.”

Chick or Treat!

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

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

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

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

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

Pumpk’n

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Halloween Horror Nights Discount

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

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

AVOID AT ALL COSTS

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

(and fuck Universal music group for disabling embedding.)

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

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

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

Harvest of Horrors

Oh great, the Unnameable had a kid...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final verdict: 3 skulls out of 5

UPDATE: Judging from their Facebook page, the Harvest of Horrors was converted into a haunted hayride and trail back in 2012.

Special thanks to Harvest of Horrors for use of the image!

Zombie Bongo Limbo

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

Local Ghoul Makes Good

Blase Debris

Site.
MySpace

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

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

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

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

The Little Monsters 1-900 Number

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

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

Cold War, Warm Hearts

Messer Chups

Official Site
MySpace

Buy their stuff here.


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

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

The band translates into ‘Measuring Cups,’ which is cute and slightly absurd, but because they’re talented, intelligent and fun, it all makes sense to me.

AeroCCCP has a YouTube channel where you can preview more of these guys. I would check it out and see what you like. They get a little experimental sometimes. On ‘Black Black Magic’ and “Crazy Price,’ Lydia Kavina, the grand-niece of Léon Theremin, joined the band on the instrument her great-uncle invented. Some of the songs might sound caustic at first but give them a shot. Send your love to Russia.

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