Vincent Price, that is.
Oct 12 2008
Oct 12 2008
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.
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.
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.
Oct 11 2008
Gein and the Graverobbers
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.
Oct 11 2008
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.
Oct 10 2008
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.
Oct 09 2008
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:
Oct 08 2008
From what I understand, this song is from the television series, 30 Rock. Happy Yom Kippur to all our Jewish readers!
Oct 08 2008
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.
Oct 07 2008
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.
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.
Oct 07 2008
The Crimson Gho
Some Kinda Hits, Necro-Tone Records 1999(?)
Earth E.P, Necro-Tone Records 2008
Out of Massachusetts comes The Crimson Ghosts, a band that plays instrumental surf renditions of Misfits songs. If you share my worldview, those quantifying elements alone should get an automatic ‘thumbs up’ and an enthusiastic cry of ‘Holy shit, when and where can I see this band?’ You’d also say ‘Why is there a German band of the same name?’ and I would say ‘Don’t know, but listen to the Mass. one first.’
It’s a noticeable pattern. I listen to surf music. A lot. And during this time of year, it’s hard not to notice the Misfits. There are plenty other bands out there that incorporate spooky into their music and not be a Misfit-derivative. But I will get into them in due time. I owe a bigger post and I think the Crimson Ghosts deserve it. Plus, Rue Morgue gave them a backhanded-compliment of a review and I want to prattle on about some things.
The Crimson Ghosts were the first band I saw at the Drop Dead Festival back 2005. The festival actually started late due to some bands getting lost. I was down in the middle floor (second, lower, who knows what they call it?) a few beers into it when the music finally started. The Crimson Ghosts kicked off the Festival for me, who had skipped the first night because the two bands I wanted to see were playing the second and third night. I had showed up to catch Gein and the Graverobbers that night.
Gein, of the aforementioned band, would play the drums for the Ghosts that night. He currently plays bass for them now, with Clay Neely on drums now. They’ve now expanded from the three-piece I once saw, back to a four. John Koziak still fronts the band on lead guitar, with Max Reverb (of the Quasi-Men, another band you should check out) kicking ass alongside him.
The Crimson Ghosts were the best way to start the night for me. A huge smile stuck across my face as I bounced from band-to-band in the two floors of NYC’s The Knitting Factory. I got their CD and me and a friend listened to on our way home when the weekend wrapped up. Three years since and I’ve been able to catch them play at least once every twelve months, up to a total of in three different states, opening for a variety of bands and headlining their own shows. This November 1st, I add a fourth state to the list when they play Salem, Massachusetts, after/before a showing of ‘Die You Zombie Bastards!’ in a perfect way to send off Halloween. You should go, if you can.
While flipping through a ‘Rue Morgue’ magazine, I caught a moderately blah-review of the latest release, ‘Earth E.P.’ While complimenting the Crimson Ghosts on their imaginative versions of the Misfits classics, it kind of wrote them off as a novelty, saying that it’s ‘only seventeen minutes long,’ so the listener wouldn’t get overwhelmed by the ‘Dick Dale-sque’ guitar playing. It was kind of dumb to mention the shortness of an ‘E.P.,’ which makes me wonder if the reviewer knew the difference between the two formats. Still, they gave them a low-but-not-too-low score.
I didn’t take it personally. It’s clear that the dude writing the review was more akin to the original Misfits songs and had low expectations of this. He or she opening up the review by, and I paraphrase, ‘The Nutley Brass trashed the songs, but hey, these Crimson Ghosts don’t suck so much.’ It was a half-ass review, in my opinion, so I figure I’d give it another half-ass one myself. The Crimson Ghosts deserve a full ass.
See, I didn’t get into Link Wray until hearing of his passing. Like most of the great ones, I don’t know of them until they’re gone. I recognized his songs ‘Rumble’ and ‘Jack the Ripper,’ though I could never put a name or a face to the sound. I picked up his Greatest Hits (which remains one of the few, if not the only, CD of his available in record stores) and found myself a fan. Years later, I would find a copy of his ‘Shadowman’ release in the used piles of a downtown New Haven record store.
‘Shadowman’ is notable for Link’s renditions of some famous songs, specifically Elvis’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and a real sick version of Creedence’s ‘Run Through The Jungle.’ Where Fogherty’s original version has the song sound like a panicked call through the unlit corners of a dark jungle, Link Wray envisioned the song and the titular jungle as an industrial landscape. The heavy tones and beating notes gives the song a grimy, smoke filled monstrosity feeling. It’s a downright wicked interpretation which aims to make the listener feel a little tougher about him or herself. Total leather, sunglasses at night tough.
Link’s version of the song, much like any cover song, could spark the discussion of original-intention v. artistic interpretation. Should the initial output be left untouched or is it fair game once it enters the public discourse? Were the Ramones right for recording a version of Tom Waits’ ‘I Don’t Want To Grow Up’ or should they have left it alone? It’s really a rhetoric that ends up with an “Eh, maybe, whatever” result as a compromise between the two sides of the debate.
Whenever I read a copyright discussion, specifically involving the legality of the public domain, there’s usually a section venturing off into the undefined time of if/when art enters the public discourse. The idea presented is that after so many people witness an artistic expression, it becomes part of a shared experience and the creator (writer, filmmaker, musician, etc.) loses sole ownership over the art.
The trade-off is that the art becomes immortal. We as a society gain a character or a painting or a song that acts as a foil for our own creative device; the artist is allowed to profit from it for a certain amount of time before the benefits of immortality kick in. If there’s a Mary Shelly estate, does it get cash from the ‘Frankenstein Mobster’ comic book? Part of me wants to say no.
The founding monsters of Horror are all public domain deities – Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, the sort, all from the public consciousness. Those fears remain and it’s why there’s always going to be a vampire movie or a monster being made from the dead.
That sense of Immortality earlier mentioned applies more to the horror genre than any other in the last twenty years. Characters like Jason, Freddy, Leatherface and the rest remain under copyright but their images have become ingrained into our shared culture. I can see how some Europeans and Canadians would see a hockey mask and automatically think of an ice-sport, but c’mon. Jason Vorehees. Chainsaw = Leatherface and striped sweater = wise-crackin’, child-killin’ Freddy Krueger.
There’s a three-disc collection of The Ventures you can get for fifteen bucks at any major mall-related music store. It’s a bargain buy for a good three hours worth of music but two-thirds of the songs on said collection are not written by The Ventures. In fact, tracking down all the original artists, from the Challengers to the Surfaris, you could have a really nice surf music collection. All the artists are credited, so it’s not that the Ventures stole those songs. They borrowed.
Now, let me clarify that there is a difference between a reinterpretation and a cover song, though I’ll admit that it’s hard to tell that difference. For this discussion, a cover song is a color-by-numbers rendition, while a reinterpretation involves some artistic input that leaves the song both recognizable to its original form but changed in enough to differ this interpretation from another. By that definition, it might seem hard to call any song a ‘cover,’ but you can find some pretty limpid versions out there. No naming names here.
It also lends a little credibility to those ‘tribute’ bands that make the circuit, unless they’re just providing a cheap way for a fan to see Kiss, Ozzy or Pink Floyd. If a snyth-pop tribute band to Minor Threat would come along, it would be odd and slightly unfair to call them ‘just a cover band.’
I don’t see the Crimson Ghosts as a cover band, but a surf band that does renditions of Misfits songs. And, they’re also more than that. They’re carrying on a long-standing tradition in both the horror and surf genres of taking the shared culture to newer heights. Dick Dale, as the Rue Morgue namedropped, didn’t write his signature song ‘Miserlou.’ It’s an old Greek song that Dale turned into a surf-classic when pushed. And though the Crimson Ghosts didn’t write ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ their version on ‘Earth E.P.’ is fan-fucking-tastic.
(It’s also funny to mention: The Crimson Ghosts came about John Koziak trying to do an instrumental version of ‘London Dungeon.’ The band finally got it down as a recording with this e.p., and the song features a solo directly taken from ‘Miserlou.’ Shared culture.)
The Crimson Ghosts are doing that as well, taking their love of the Misfits and surf music and seeing how far they can go together. It helps that surf and horror go well together as we’ve seen (and will see in the coming days.) But they’re not a novelty. They’re making monsters, and the dead are coming alive.
*all pictures, save the Link Wray, were taken by Myra and found on the Crimson Ghosts’ Myspace page.
Oct 06 2008
What are you talking about?
I’m a time traveler.
Oct 05 2008
Probably one of the best punk bands around today is The Secretions from out of Sacremento. Self-describing their sound as music “in the key of the Ramones,’ the Secretions have a few songs that should pop up on your Halloween mix when you get tired of the ‘Monster Mash’ and ‘Everyday is Halloween.’ Below, you’ll find their video for ‘Cemetary Pogo,’ a tribute to the old slasher/sex movies that make you pine for something more like ‘The Howling’ instead of ‘Saw V.’ And below that, ‘Fuckin’ Zombies,’ a loving fan-letter to the ‘Evil Dead’ series that was also featured in a porno, I think. Only an accoustic version available on YouTube. If you want the real one, I suggest you purchase their album (all of them, really) which can be found at Silver Sprocket.