HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 31 – HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015

happy halloween This is it, the day we’ve all been waiting for! Go, have a Happy Halloween, and have fun. And don’t forget the real meaning behind Halloween: To celebrate the defeat of Death and Satan at the Cross of Christ. Tonight, the forces of darkness are mocked, as we all gather together with candy and such. So, until next year, I shall go forth into the night and enjoy the day, until the clock strikes Midnight, and the Post-Halloween Depression sets in.

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO: Session 3-13 – The Halloween Hootenanny!

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SESSION 13

The HALLOWEEN HOOTENANNY 2015!

Hey, everyone! It’s Uncle NecRo’s favorite time of the year! And to celebrate, I’ve whipped up a special Halloween Hootenanny for this session of Brutal Music Therapy!

Featuring cuts from:

graveyard bats - crush your lie the deadlines - the life and death of... rackets & drapes - trick or treat kryst the conquerer grave robber - be afraid dark night - night of halloween coriolis - coriolis blaster the rocketboy - succulent space food for teething vampires alice cooper - the last temptation

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 30 – Gothic Literature

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015oxford book of gothic talesNowadays, when someone refers to “Gothic fiction”, they’re probably thinking of the modern urban fantasy types featuring brooding vampires and…well, it’s mostly vampires. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. But, when I think of Gothic fiction, or Gothic literature, as the title of this Halloween’ing post is, I think of the classics: The stories and poems by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley’s creature, Bram Stoker’s famous vampire, Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the ghost stories of M. R. James, plus a myriad of others.

These are stories that were made to be best enjoyed in the dead of night, preferably by candle light and in a drafty, musty castle. That last part might be hard to come by nowadays, but the point is, these are atmospheric classics that begs to be read in the manner they deserve. And not just this one time of the year, either.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 29 – Revenge of the Top Ten Favorite Halloween Mix Songs

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015Okay, so we’re getting close to the big day, and you’re still wondering what kind of mix to throw on for your party. Might I suggest first checking out my original playlist post from 2014. Beyond that, if you’re still wanting more, I provide for you now the sequel to that post, Revenge of the Top Ten Favorite Halloween Mix Songs! Thunder, lightning, and maniacal laughter is inserted here…

“Bark At The Moon” (Ozzy Osbourne)

The title track from Ozzy’s third release, “Bark At The Moon” tells the tale of a creature that once terrorized a town, killed, and then got better. The video is like a mini-Hammer horror flick, borrowing heavily from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What other reason do you need to include this one?

“Halloween Theme” (John Carpenter)

The melody to this theme to Carpenter’s legendary Halloween franchise is simple, effective, and classic. Carpenter composed it on a piano, a simple melody that burned itself into the psyche of American culture. This needs to be included, definitely.

“Carmina Burana: Introduction” (Carl Orff)

I first came across this piece on the soundtrack to the movie The Doors. While I could take or leave classical music at the time, this piece of music actually hit me with its dark choral setup. This is actually part of a catana based on a bunch of medieval poems that was composed in the early 20th Century…but this is probably the most famous bit that everyone knows.

“(Every Day Is) Halloween” (Ministry)

Of course, I would include this in the mix. Because everybody else does. Seriously, I’ve seen this song featured on so many Gothic-themed collections that I’m pretty sure there’s an unwritten rule that this must be issued to you in some kind of welcome package when you decide to embrace the darkness. Also, it has the word “Halloween” in the title, so there’s that.

“This Corrosion” (Sisters Of Mercy)

Dark, atmospheric, and with a nice jaunty beat so you can dance to it. Also, one of my favorite Sisters Of Mercy songs.

“Dead Souls” (Joy Division)

The version of this song that I first heard was the Nine Inch Nails cover that was featured on The Crow soundtrack. I happened to choose the original Joy Division version on here because, well, you got to show love to the forefathers and all.

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (Bauhaus)

Okay, let’s do the checklist, shall we? Post-punk godfathers of the whole Goth movement in the 1980s? Check. Song about the actor who made the physical embodiment of Dracula iconic? Check. Tremendously atmospheric music that’s best heard in darkness lit by flickering candles? Check. Yep, on the list.

“This Maniac’s In Love With You” (Alice Cooper)

I loves me some Alice Cooper. He has such a rich library of Halloween fun to pick from. Usually my personal mixes involves ALL of the Alice Cooper. But in this case, I went with this cut from the 1989 release Trash. It’s a very jaunty and disturbing piece. And also, I’ve already used “Feed My Frankenstein” on last year’s list, so there’s that.

“Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)” (Type O Negative)

What would a Halloween playlist be without something from Type O Negative? Safe, that’s what. And who wants safe? Nobody on this blog, that’s for certain.

“Mr. Scary” (Dokken)

If you’re up on both your horror movies as well as the hair metal from the 1980s, you’re probably be thinking to yourself, “why didn’t he chose “Dream Warriors” from that album?” And I wouldn’t fault you for thinking that. I mean, that song was featured on the Nightmare On Elm Street 3 soundtrack. But, I went with my favorite cut from the beyond excellent Back For The Attack release, the guitar instrumental “Mr. Scary”. Why? Because it’s awesome. And it has the word “Scary” in the title. It was a natural choice.

So, there we are. Another ten choices for your Halloween mix. Will there be another one next year? We’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, enjoy.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 28 – McDonald’s Trick Or Treat Pails

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015

mcdonalds_halloween_pails_1986This wasn’t the first time McDonald’s Happy Meals came in a shaped “box” other than the classic one that was part of many of our childhoods if you grew up in the 1980s, but the one that really embodies the spirit of Halloween was the Trick Or Treat Pails that they put out back in 1986, and repeated to do so through to the 1990s.

The concept was simple but brilliant: make the containers of the Happy Meals come in essentially smaller, bucket-shaped versions of those plastic Jack-O-Lantern patterned trick-or-treat buckets they sell every year. Mind you, they were probably more geared toward the toddler set (I happened to be within the “probably too old to be trick-or-treating” age at the time these came out), as they didn’t seem to hold a lot of candy to satisfy your average candy monger. But, they did come in handy as decorations and holding other items.

I’ve seen these listed on eBay for a significant amount, so the nostalgia value of these things exist. Personally, I can’t recall if my sister and I ever got one of these. Either way, it’s a nice bit of flashback material to those who recall these fondly.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 27 – “The Boogieman”

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015

quantum leap the boogieman Quantum Leap was one of those shows I have rather fond memories of from my youth. I remember first discovering this show back in the fall of 1989, my mother being a fan of it at the time; a prime-time sci-fi drama about a guy who “leaps” into the bodies of various people in different points of time to make things right. I found it to be brilliant. I was also 15 at the time; I thought the mullet hair-style was brilliant. The point I’m trying to make here is that, no, Quantum Leap didn’t necessarily age well, but it’s still an enjoyable piece of sci-fi escapism I like to revisit once in a while. But I digress.

One of my favorite episodes that I remember watching on its first broadcast run was the Halloween episode “The Boogieman”. In this episode, our protagonist–Sam–leaps into horror novelist Joshua Ray, described in the episode as a kind of second-rate H. P. Lovecraft. Sounds like someone I’d want to check out. Anyway, there be weird things a’brewin’ in the House of Ray, as the people associated with him begin dying. And Sam’s future guide, Al, can’t seem to give him the information in time to save them in time. As a matter of fact, Al seems to be acting kind of odd, even for Al.

For a Halloween episode, “The Boogieman” is a nice neo-Gothic style spine-tingling mystery that hits a good many of the tropes associated with these kind of stories, especially the “It was all a dream…OR WAS IT?!?” kind of resolution. Oh, um…spoilers, by the way. And the throwaway twist at the very end is still chuckle-worthy, methinks. Overall, “The Boogieman” would make a great addition to any kind of Halloween-themed marathon for the telly.

WATCH ON HULU

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 26 – Van Helsing’s Curse

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015

van helsing's curse Once upon a time, Twisted Sister vocalist (and President of the Tipper Gore Fan Club) Dee Snider witnessed a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, and decided he wanted to do something similar, but with a Halloween theme. And thus, Van Helsing’s Curse was born.

Utilizing a delicious mix of heavy metal, a six-piece string section and a choir, their so far only release–Oculus Infernum–is a powerfully haunting piece that features Dee Snider narrating a tale of a young child who is orphaned after an evil entity murders all of the adults in his town, and teams up with a descendant of the legendary Van Helsing to take on this creature, set to a backdrop of symphonic metal the likes of which you will hear nowhere else. This does get massive plays this time of year, but I like to break it out during the off season as well.

Look, if you like Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s style, but are sick of the whole Christmas themes, it would behove you to look into Van Helsing’s Curse. Yeah, I just said “behove”.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 25 – The Crow

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015

the crow Back in 1994, a movie adaptation of an independent comic book called The Crow was released. This is just rampant speculation on my part, but I’m pretty sure this is the movie that helped to resurrect interest in the Goth subculture in the 1990s.

Regardless, The Crow–the original film adaptation of the J. O’Barr comic about a dead musician brought back to life to avenge the death of himself and his fiance’ at the hands of thugs a year prior–is definitely one of those movies that I trot out every year, regardless of whether it’s Halloween or not. But it definitely goes well with the Halloween season. Not only is it a good neo-Gothic tale of vengeance for love that reaches beyond the veil of death itself, but the dark visuals and cinematography mixed with a spot-on soundtrack goes perfect with the Halloween aesthetics.

The original 1994 movie starring the late Brandon Lee as Eric Draven is the one you really need to care about. I might have a soft spot for the first sequel, City Of Angels, but for part of the Halloween Movie Marathon, this one should be part of the play list.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 24 – Mystery Manor

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015

mystery manor Nowadays, mostly due to my age and growing jadedness (despite my annual giddiness at this time of year), I don’t frequent the haunted house attractions like I used to. But, one that I’ve went to more than just once, one that also ranks as my favorite one to go to whenever I get the itch to go to a haunted house in Omaha, would be the Mystery Manor off of 18th and Cuming streets.

Set up inside an actual historical building that has a history even more creepy as the staged scares that you’ll come across, this is one that has continually impressed me with the all-out atmosphere and setup that goes well beyond just tossing around some store-bought effects and props. The volunteers really get into this, to the point where it’s not just the inside of the house where you’ll get to partake in the scares.

As to the documented claims that the house itself is actually haunted…eh, I’ll leave that up to the readers to decide for themselves. As to being a Haunted House attraction, I would recommend a visit.

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Movie Review: WE ARE STILL HERE (2015)

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we are still hereDark Sky Films
2015
NR

“It’s been 30 years since we’ve had fresh souls in the Dagmar house.”

After their teenage son is killed in a car crash, Paul and Anne move to the quiet New York countryside to try to start a new life for themselves. But the grieving couple unknowingly becomes the prey of a family of vengeful spirits that reside in their new home, and before long they discover that the seemingly peaceful town they’ve moved into is hiding a terrifyingly dark secret. Now they must find a way to overcome their sorrow and fight back against both the living and dead as the malicious ghosts threaten to pull their souls–and the soul of their lost son–into hell with them.

According to IMDB, there are several other movies that bear the title We Are Still Here. I don’t know if they all have the same premise as this one we’re reviewing, as I was too lazy to check all of them out at the time of this writing. I nonetheless included the year in the blog title just in case anyone is also aware of this and gets confused as to which movie they’re reading about. Because I care.

Anyway, this particular bearer of the title We Are Still Here involves a couple who are moving into a house out in a rural New England town in the year 1979, with hopes to start a new life after the death of their college-age son prior. The house is not without its…quirks, which the wife considers to be signs of their son’s spirit hanging around, and the husband considers to be signs that the house is old and needs some upkeep work. That doesn’t stop her from inviting over their hippie friends to try and get in contact with the spirit, in case it really is him, to attempt to help him stop free-loading and move on to the other side, man. Or, whatever lingo it is hippies use, I don’t know. And the locals are acting weird, because of course they are. Only, it turns out it wasn’t the spirit of their son that’s haunting the house, but the vengeful spirits of the family that was burned by the townfolk back in the middle of the 19th Century, and every forty years they require a sacrifice of a new family to dwell in the house for them to kill, so that the town has another four decades of good luck. Or something. Wackiness ensues.

Part Poltergeist (the good one, not that crappy remake), part Wicker Man, We Are Still Here is a good, effective slow-burn New England Gothic tale that worked effectively on many levels, from the tense vibe, to the bleak atmosphere due to both the winter setting and the depression of the couple because of their situation, to the build-up of the story down to the effects of the final reel when the supernatural show-down in the house happens, We Are Still Here was a pretty decent ghost story. I’m told this was inspired by the movies of Lucio Fulci. I’m afraid I have yet to delve into his movies. And I can’t recall if this was given a theatrical release, or just went straight to video. Regardless, if you’re in the mood for something more than your standard splatter-and-boo scares, check out We Are Still Here some time. At least to watch hippies die horribly. Fun times.

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