Friday, October 28, 2016

My Halloween Playlist!

Well, the big day is almost here! Got your costume? Great! Got your friends coming over for your Halloween party to partake in spooky activities? Awesome! Some fun recipes for spooky treats? Excellent! But you're missing something. No not the guy who's still dressing like the Michael Jackson zombie from Thriller. He can wait outside. In fact it's prolly best if you just tell that guy you're not even having a party. He'll just take over the iPod and play Thriller 3 times in a row just so he can do that weird zombie dance over and over again. Besides, it's all about David Bowie or Prince this year. Expect to see a lot of Goblin King or lavender suits running around. But if you see someone with ass-less pants, you may wanna kick him out too. Unless you have plastic covering up your couch.

Either way, butts and bad zombie dancing aside, you need some good music for your party, otherwise it's just gonna be a lame middle school party all over again. You know the one. The one where you farted and scared off the girl you had been building up all that time to talk to. Wanna relive that? No? Good, then listen to me. I've got you here. Consider me your DJ. If you use these awesome songs, you'll get your party hopping!

1.) Dance Magic Dance by David Bowie 

Confession: I've never seen Labyrinth all the way through, but I do know the song "Dance Magic Dance" and love it. It's hard not to. Not only does it give you some mandatory Bowie, but it gets everyone dancing.

Except that guy dressed like Michael Jackson.

Speaking of which...

2.) Thriller by Michael Jackson

Ok, give the guy his chance to put that Thriller costume to good use. BUT JUST ONCE.

In all seriousness, this song just screams Halloween. It's the eerie music, the lyrics and Vincent Price. It's so flawless. In fact, I'd say it's not a Halloween party without it. Bonus points if you can somehow get the entire room to do the zombie dance. It's a darn fine Halloween tradition!

But like I said earlier, just once. Otherwise Michael won't let it go. And you'll be thee by yourself with a crazed zombie until 5 am while everyone else tweets about how lame your party is. Sucker. I warned you!

3.) Man Behind The Mask by Alice Cooper

Some solid rock can always kickstart a party and when it comes to Halloween, no one represents Halloween better than Alice Cooper. Hands down. So what happens when Alice sang about Jason Voorhees for the soundtrack of Jason Lives? MAGIC THAT'S WHAT! I'm a huge fan of Alice and this may be my favorite song of his, so there's absolutely no way I couldn't include this song. It just reminds me of Halloween and I can't help but think you'd agree as well!

4.) All I Gotta Do Is Dream by The Elm Street Group

You know Freddy can't let Jason have all the fun!

Looking for a little lighter fare and something that just gets people smiling and laughing? This works! Yup, from the Freddy's Greatest Hits, which was just a bunch of covers featuring some random pop singers and Robert Englund reading a bunch of goofy lines and laughing hysterically.  It's a pretty nice addition to your playlist and provides the fun.

5.) This Is Halloween by Marilyn Manson

So, I really love this cover of This is Halloween from a Nightmare Before Christmas tribute album. And who better to sing it than that rascal Marilyn Manson? I gotta tell you, I'm not the biggest fan of the movie's actual soundtrack itself or Marilyn Manson but I'm totally all in on this version. It just works better for me, but I'm sure others prefer the original. But hey, you asked me for my advice!

6.) On Our Own by Bobby Brown

Albeit, it's not very Halloween-y but in all honesty, I'm not the biggest fan of the Ray Parker Jr. theme song. Mainly because it sounds like a jingle from a 1980s Hardees commercial for a Halloween burger or something. I'm not saying I don't include it on my list, but I think outside the box when it comes to Halloween playlists. Bobby Brown's music still holds up and just makes me wanna dance my butt off and I'm sure some of the old school pop fans at your party could appreciate it too! I mean, I'm sure you'll have to explain it's connection to Ghostbusters 2 but it'll be worth it. Especially with the opening rap.

7.) Monster Rap by Elvira

If Alice Cooper is the king of Halloween, Elvira is grand high priestess. Elvira put out her awesome "Monster Rap" featuring shoutouts to Freddy, Roger Corman, Frankenstein, Chucky and countless others in a fun song. And quite frankly if I have to continue and try to convince you why playing something that features Elvira rapping about monsters then I'm afraid there's no saving your party. Or you. You're a failure.

8.) Maniac by Michael Sembello

Known more for it's appearance in the iconic dance scene in Flashdance, this actually does have ties to horror! In writing the song, Sembello actually used the horror movie, Maniac to give him inspiration for the title and lyrics. Which ties this movie to two great 80s movies and Halloween forever!

9.) Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo

The title says it all. Plus...Danny Elfman, son.

10.) Anything Can Happen On Halloween by Tim Curry

First off, I don't care what role it is, Halloween isn't fun without Tim Curry. Second, this is from the fun movie "The Worst Witch" which stars Mrs Garret, Fairuza Balk and Diana Rigg. Third, the song is ALL ABOUT HALLOWEEN. Tim sings his heart out about how great Halloween is and it's super infectious. Listen to it once and you'll be taken to a place filled with candy corn and Reese's. And so will your party guests!

11.) I Eat Cannibals by Toto Coleo

Looking for some new wave cheese? Good because the British new wave band Toto Coleo has a fun song for you. I'll give you this, it's a corny song but what do you expect when a bunch of British rockers sing about eating people?

12.) Vampira by the Misfits

No way I couldn't include those freaks from NJ. Of all the songs from the Misfits, I gotta suggest this the most. Singing their loving tribute to legendary horror host Vampira is a surefire way to get that horror mood to stick around. Ya know, for only a minute.

13.) Pet Semetary by the Ramones

My all time favorite Ramones song. From the Pet Semetary soundtrack, this song is unlike any of their other songs. And I don't mean in the sense that you can actually tell what they're saying either. It's a good, spooky rhythm with haunting lyrics. Plus, it has that Stephen King connection! Win!

14.) Monster Mash by Bobby Boris Pickett

You've got one more song on this playlist and quite frankly, you're not getting out of this without playing the Monster Mash. Some think of it as the official Halloween theme song. And ya know? They're right. It just reminds all of us of our class Halloween parties and our teachers playing it on a record while we dig into cupcakes and candy corn! This song will live on forever at Halloween parties and our hearts forever.

So there it is! 14 songs for your Halloween party. Or, if you're like me play this all year round! It gets you in the mood for Halloween when you need it!


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Remembering WCW Halloween Havoc

It seemed WCW never could win. Even when they were at their best, they always seemed to screw things up. Just when they took two steps forward, they took 5 steps back somehow. I could use the nWo as an example. Taking three outsiders and turning them into the top heels of the company. That is until they decided just to add every former WWF wrestler they could get their hands on. And Buff Bagwell. Great idea, right? Of course, their almost hilarious ineptitude didn't just pertain to the roster of wrestlers, No sir! Why if you looked at the entire history of the company, they always seemed to do something stupid and ruin any good progress they may have made. One of the greatest and yet irritating mistakes was how goofy the company got with one of my favorite PPV's in all of pro wrestling history: Halloween Havoc.

Halloween Havoc, started in 1989, was pretty simple. It was in October. Spooky and crazy shenanigans happened. That was it. That was all we needed to see. WCW would celebrate the favorite of holiday of many by sprucing up their stages with almost grade school-like decorations. Maybe a crappy tombstone or four, a haunted house entrance set for the wrestlers to waltz through and more times than most, even the announcers showed their Halloween pride. Just check out Jim Ross as a gangster and Paul Heyman, in his Paul E Dangerously days, as a vampire!

What's even better than Paul E as a vampire? Oh I don't know, maybe ELVIRA doing commercials for the first few PPV's? Yup, everyone's favorite Horror Hostess helped hyped this show and added some extra horror-Halloween cred to the show. 

So what went wrong? Well, WCW would pull out all the stops to further their storylines and offer sometimes what seemed like haphazardly planned gimmicks and spots. They didn't have an April Fool's PPV that they could pull the wool over the yes of fans. So what's the next best time to do it? Halloween! Of course! Lets take a look at just a few examples of their silliness, shall we?
The Man Who Wants to Rule The World.
No. Really. That has nickname for a while.

One of the most famous examples was from 1990. On top of still trying to get through the infamous Black Scorpion nonsense, in which a guy in an all black body suit haunted Sting and turned fans into tigers somehow, Sid Vicious was taking on the most popular star in the company, Sting, for the world title. When halfway through their match, Sid's fellow members of the 4 Horsemen decided to come out to the ring and abduct Sting for a while. And when I say "a while" it really felt more like four hours had passed. I swear that by the time Stinger came back to the ring, after escaping his villanous foes, I was prepared to start smoking and take drivers education class. Thankfully, my neon/dayglow colored hero was back and prepared to take out the giant goofball who would then scream about how he wants to rule the world. But it didn't happen like that. No. Sting lost to Sid! And even worse, it wasn't Sting! He was BARRY WINDHAM DISGUISED AS STING! And then...Sting came out and pinned Sid to retain his title. Confused? You should be. I'm pretty sure the bookers were too. I mean, I see what they were trying to do. Sure, it seemed like an easy switcheroo. But I guess not finding a way to detain Sting until at least the end of the PPV is the least of the Horsemen's problems. Technically, as soon as the kayfabe "WCW Board of Directors" saw Sting backstage, the match should've ended. But...ya know...wrestling and logic. Am I right, here?

Oh yeah, on top of that, Junkyard Dog came out wearing a weird werewolf mask.

That's hot.

1991 was another disaster too. But not as confusing, just annoying. Enter: The Chamber of Horrors match. For newer fans, imagine Hell In A Cell with well over 10 wrestlers, useless props but instead of getting a pin, you have to strap someone in an electric chair and flip the switch. Yup. Just a bunch of grown men essentially playing a game that was probably inspired by something in gym class. So, punches and kicks are thrown and after a fight of Batman 1966 level of fighting, Abdullah The Butcher is placed in the chair and the switch was thrown. Obviously, he didn't die, but fans came close due to just how boring this match really was. 

1992 was headlined by Sting vs Jake Roberts.  At the time, it was awesome to see Jake show up unannounced and go after Sting at a show in Baltimore. At the time, wrestlers from rival promotions didn't just pop out of the crowd and attack someone. They just sauntered out and fans were amazed. Jake had been a HUGE name in WWF for years so to see him jump ship was weird. What's even weirder is the mini movie that WCW produced to hype their feud and match for the PPV.

For the record, I love this video. It's so odd. Plus, lazer eyes.

The tagline of this years show was "Spin The Wheel Make The Deal" match. Imagine a giant wheel with matches that sound somewhat interesting with no real descriptions. But, just as you'd expect, WCW screwed it up quickly. instead of a "First Blood match" which could've really been fascinating to watch or a "Eat Aunt Betty's old Potato Salad Match" we got a "Coal Miner's Glove Match", a match where Sting and Jake fought over an old miners glove on a pole hanging from the turnbuckle to knock each other out. After an ok match, Sting made the climb to grab the glove while Jake reached into his old bag of tricks and grabbed his snake to bite Sting. But as soon as Jake turned around, he was met with a punch from Sting. This caused Jake's pet Cobra to bite his cheek and help assist Sting in vanquishing the slithering villain. 

What could've been a great match lead to a real crappy and dull encounter. WCW could've stretched it out and shown Sting and Jake exchange victories. But nope. Bad bad bad.

The 1993 edition was pretty bland but gave us a real bizarre intro video featuring Tony Schiavone welcoming children into his house and creeping them out. 

1995 was perhaps the worst offender just because it consisted of a chain of events that were almost intolerable. Allow me to just give you the bullet points:

  • Hulk Hogan vs The Giant for the WCW title.
  • A monster truck sumo match between Hogan and Giant on the TOP OF THE ARENA. That's a smart idea, right?
  • Hogan pushes Giant off the top of the arena.
  • Hogan comes down to the ring and the Giant reemerges to confront Hogan.
  • Hogan's manager Jimmy Hart turns on Hogan
  • Hogan's friend Lex Luger turns against Hogan.
  • Hogan is humped in the middle of the ring in a weird 3 way by The Giant and a debuting Mummy they insited on calling The Yeti. Except they'd actually refer to him as THE YET-TAY.
  • Hogan lost to Giant.
As you can see the weirdness of this night is all due to Hulk Hogan. I know that's shocking. I believe at the time, Hogan had a lot of control over his bookings, so I'm sure he had a LOT to do with these atrocious ideas. But hey, a monster truck showdown. That's a new one, right? Haven't seen that before...or after...thankfully.

As much as I tease this show, I do remember getting excited for it as a young kid. I loved Halloween and loved wrestling, so to have them combine both was pretty cool. I still wish WWE would somehow resurrect this theme for a PPV. Maybe they will, they've already brought back the brand split, so hey, we could totally see a new Halloween Havoc!

Just monster trucks or electric chairs...

Come back tomorrow. As goofy as these events were, I'll be looking at the biggest and worst blunder in Halloween Havoc history...

Be there...

Same Warrior time...

Same Warrior channel...


Sunday, October 2, 2016

MonsterVision In Rochester!

Last night, I had the absolutely joy to travel back to TNT circa 1996!

 No, not them. I already wrote about them. But I never turn down a chance to rep my love of the nWo! #4Life

If I'm not referring to the nWo, I must be referring to TNT's MonsterVision starring the B-Movie lovin', ex-wife hatin', Drive In Total countin' host, Mr. Joe Bob Briggs! The weekly series in which our friend Joe Bob introduced the best and sometimes worst in horror and scifi movies! Along with his trademark wit and extensive knowledge of these films, Joe Bob also had guest stars, "Mailbag Girls", and the famous DriveIn Totals, in which he'd put out the things to look for. While Joe Bob has contributed a lot to the world of cinema, it's from this memorable tv show that we all remember and love him the most. Although, if you ever want a great laugh, check out his commentary on multiple movies including I Spit On Your Grave!

the man himself

Sadly for us fans who watched this show, in the year 2000, TNT made a big format change and to become a more serious and respected network. So things like Monstervision was no longer need and eventually, the show was yanked and Joe Bob was shown the door. A very sad day for us all. But, while Joe Bob's 5 year reign as the king of the B's was never forgotten. In fact to this day, Monstervision is still invoked with nostalgia, joy and laughter. Which was, of course the goal.

So, fast forward to 2016. 16 years after the show was shut down, our friends at Fright Rags and The Little Theater were ready to screen the Warriors for their special feature, called "Saturday Night Rewind" where a favorite from the past is shown in delicious 35mm for all to enjoy. Past shows have included Raiders of the Lost Ark, Critters, Rock N Roll High School, just to name a few. But only one man could introduce last night's viewing and help kick off Halloween season properly. That's right. They called on the the man in the cowboy hat to bring back the Drive In Totals. They brought back...MONSTERVISION!!!

Oh and this was not just Joe Bob walking out on a stage and pointing to the screen. NO SIREE. Members of the Fright Rags team actually constructed a replica of Joe Bob's trailer to walk through, to which Mr. Briggs even commented this was the first time he's had a screening have a trailer on stage, so he could introduce the movie. And let me tell you, when he walked through that door, everyone lost it. We were all 14 year olds watching the show on TNT all over again. It was great.
Mr. Briggs provided a lot of information as to the origins of The Warriors, including the novel of the same name and the tale of Xenophon's Anabasis, which the novel itself was based off. Professor Briggs was indeed laying some cinema knowledge on all of us and providing that great humor of his as well. So after delivering his Drive In Totals once again, it was showtime!

Now, I can tell you that this is now the second time I've seen The Warriors in 35mm this year and it's truly the best way to see it. The raw feel of the film projected through crackling, dirty film just provides it's own character. If you ever get a chance to see this movie on the big screen, don't hesitate.

After the movie, Ben of Fright Rags conducted a very entertaining and informative Q&A with the man of night. Joe Bob shared the history of his fictional name, his experiences of being boycotted by a women's group, dealing with TNT brass, and my favorite, a story about how he feared airing Barbarella due to star(and Ted Turner's wife at the time) Jane Fonda's disdain of her famous role. One bad joke, you could've said bye-bye to Joe Bob much sooner. Thankfully, it turn out that way! After a fun question and answer session, it was time to say goodbye to the trailer park and Monstervision once again. But what a way to get closure!

Joe Bob took the time before and after the screening to meet fans and sign whatever was brought his way. I got to chat with him and hear stories about working for Turner in the WCW/Bischoff era and the fact that WCW was never really promoted on Monstervision. Which is still weird to me, considering the cross over audience. But he spoke highly of WCW and The Bisch. What a time to be getting a check signed by Ted Turner, huh?

Oh yeah and I couldn't leave without some Married with Children items signed. Under his real name, John Bloom, he portrayed "Billy Ray Wetnap", Kelly's boss and skeezy bug exterminator. I had him sign my Married with Children box set, an item I've wanted to start getting costars and guests on it. So what better way to start?

Also...thanks Ben Scrivens and his family proving a great background, I walked away with a fantastic photo op!

The Little Theater and Fright Rags put their biggest and best effort out tonight. And it showed. Everyone had such a great time, new friends were made, old friends reconnected, and old Saturday night traditions were resurrected. Perhaps this Saturday Night Rewind will be the new Monstervision for some? Who knows. But after going to many showings of movies at the Little, I can tell you that it's worth the trip. In fact, my buddy Morgan actually made the 2 hour drive to come by and check out the Little!

This was one of those nights that not also reinvigorated my Halloween spirit but made me love this town even more. Rochester may not be the biggest and most flashy town in the world but it certainly is one of the most comfortable and loving. The art/movie community of Rochester, NY is one of the most warm and welcoming groups I've ever interacted with. Both Fright Rags and the Little are two of my favorite aspects of Rochester, so to see them work together to deliver something so great and interactive for fans is just something so overwhelmingly enjoyable. I certainly hope this isn't the last fun event that both have in store for us. Then again, knowing them, it's not. They've only just begun!

So a major thanks to both Fright Rags and The Little Theater for providing such a phenomenal night. I cant speak highly enough about all parties involved. I'll be talking about this for years!

Oh...right...I couldn't resist running on stage and getting a photo...