Call me crazy but when I was a kid I used to play these adventure games obsessively. Each installment in the series has its creepy moments but Parts 1, 3, and 4 are the ones that stick out the most for me. In Part 1, you are subjected to repeated jump scare tactics employed by the game characters at every corner; in particular, the witch in the cave and the troll on the bridge. Part 3 is notable for having an opening that is both oppressive and drenched with creepy atmosphere–namely, an evil wizard's house where you are held prisoner. Part 4 is perhaps the creepiest of them all, with allusions to THE WIZARD OF OZ, SNOW WHITE, and it contains zombies!
SALUTE YOUR SHORTS was part of what I refer to as the "golden age" of Nickelodeon. For those of you who don't know, Nickelodeon did consist of amazing shows at one point in time and these shows included but are not limited to; CLARISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL, NICK ARCADE, FAMILY DOUBLE DARE, ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?, PETE AND PETE, and LEGENDS OF THE HIDDEN TEMPLE.
SALUTE YOUR SHORTS followed a group of campers at Camp Anawanna, led by their camp counselor Ug, as they got themselves into numerous shenanigans.
One episode in particular has always made me a little uneasy. It highlighted the camp ghost story of the legend of Zeke the plumber. As the story goes, Zeke got his nose bitten off by a parrot and could not smell the gas leak in the camp one night. He blew up and now haunts the camp looking for his cursed plunger. While the story is a little silly and clearly meant for entertainment purposes, I cannot help but still feel incredibly scared when I look at the face of Zeke the plumber.
It must be the nose. I don't think I remembered there ever having been an explanation for why his nose was bloody and bandaged, and so just seeing a guy in a creepy mask with a bloody nose was enough to make cower.
In the episode, camp bully Budnick (Whose name I always thought was ButtNick) is dared to spend the night out in the woods at the site of Zeke's legendary death. There are a few dream sequences where Zeke haunts campers dreams; the sound of the plunger awakening them and the way the mask moves when Zeke talks….yikes, it still scares the bejesus out of me. Not to mention getting a plunger in the face would be equally terrifying.
UNK SEZ: Thanks, A.D. , I missed this show when it was on but I do know that one of its stars later went on to be to be eaten by giant bugs in THE WILLIES! Now, all you readers out there, make sure you check A.D.'s blog THE HORROR DIGEST, it's pretty darn great and you can find it HERE!
A while back a friend of mine who is always right about everything told me to watch the 1979 Australian vampire flick THIRST. We happened to have a VHS copy at the video store I worked at so I brought it home, threw it into the gizmo and got about five minutes in before shutting it off. I was not in the mood, plus the tape looked like, what's the word?…crap. Flash forward a decade or so and I stumbled upon a used DVD of THIRST for a mere $5.99. I picked it up because I have a horrible hoarding problem and frequently imagine a desperate snowed-in scenario that will never occur to justify my unnecessary purchases. Well I wasn't so much snowed in as bored out of my skull the other night and I decide to give THIRST another chance and boy I'm glad I did. On DVD, the film is a looker and as others have said before me, one of the most original vampire films ever made.
Dear KATIE HOLMES, remember when I told you that if you just waited long enough the perfect role for you would emerge? Well, get Tommy to buy the rights for this movie and get it remade stat. It's about a chick named Kate who finds herself the prisoner of a diabolical cult who use human beings as livestock (in this case it's blood rather than moola that is siphoned!) Her every attempt at escape is thwarted and eventually the gal starts flipping her lid, you can pull that off right? What's that you say? You'd rather redo a movie about a woman terrorized by tiny men (WHO'S AFRAID OF THE DARK?) O.K. that makes sense too…
Putting snarky insults towards people I've never met aside, you get your fair share of pointy teeth within THIRST, but the emphasis is more on our heroine's psychological state as she tries to avoid submission to the cult's methodic conditioning. As a direct descendent of Elizabeth Bathory, Kate's dormant "thirst" for blood is inbred and the cult believes it requires only a bit of nudging to emerge. As if tempting an on-the-wagon alcoholic, "The Brotherhood" begins spiking her liquid intake with the red stuff; hallucinations and overlapping reality warping dream states are the result. This is where the film excels, the scenes involving Kate's paranoia and mental deterioration would make ROMAN POLANSKI proud. One particular bit that involves a crumbling wall stands as a highly effective visual metaphor for the interior war Kate seems born to loose.
THIRST has about five too many endings and might have been better served concluding before it does, but when it's working it's strong stuff. Direction by television mainstay ROD HARDY (who directed a similarly themed episode of the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA re-imagining entitled "The Farm") is brisk and forthright where it needs to be, yet smoothly transitions into the artsy and surreal without breaking a sweat. The performances (including a bit part by frequent bad guy HENRY SILVA) are surprisingly restrained considering the subject matter. As dated as the film can tend to be (especially in the technology department) it's apparent that all involved took the material seriously. If you think you've seen it all in regard to our bloodsucking friends you definitely need to give THIRST a chance. By sparing us the clichÃ©s and concentrating on the psychological it stands up better than most vamp flicks half its age.
Seeing as someone else started talking about music (cf. Steve Miller), my kindermusiktrauma song would have to be "D.O.A." by Bloodrock from 1971. Ostensibly a song about a plane crash victim told in first person, the song starts with a Hammond organ that has some of the creepiest, deepest, dirtiest production imitating an ambulance siren. It goes on from there to a pretty basic (yet rather turgid) 3-chord progression, culminating in the chorus "I remember we were flying low and hit something in the air." Pretty graphic lyrics about a lost arm, a dead girl staring back at the narrator, and the classic climax of "Dear God in heaven, teach me how to die!"
The whole thing sounds like it was recorded on some bad b-movie set in Texas, with thuddy drums (typical for the time) overworked bass licks in the chorus, crazy deep and dramatic vocals, then – and this is what always really got me as a kid – THEY SLOW THE TAPE DOWN AT THE END OF THE SONG AND CROSSFADE TO AMBULANCE SIRENS!
I downloaded this song a few weeks ago, and it still has the same effect on me as being up late watching a Movie of the Week from the same time period.
The song made it to #36 on the Billboard charts, according to the Bloodrock Wiki entry.
I'd be curious if other folks remember this song, or have similar trauma moments (I can think of "One Tin Soldier" ("Go ahead and hate your neighbor/go ahead and cheat a friend") and the spoken word break from Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" as two other immediate trauma inducers).
I am submitting this on behalf of my husband because he will never do it himself.
Recently we were talking about stuff from our childhood that we loved or what scared us and I mentioned how I used to love to have a record played every year on my birthday that had my name in it. It was a space guy and he would say, "Hey Jennifer, it's your birthday."
He told me that every year his family would play his record for him and as soon as he heard the first few notes of "Hey Matthew" he would run out of the room. Well I did a little research and it is by Captain Zoom. They now have a wedding version and an anniversary version. I clicked on the sample and he said he got chills. We have a son Matthew and I wanted to get it for him for his birthday, but I think my husband would kill me.
I just found this on youtube and could not believe I found Matthew.
I've been trying to stay up to date on all the new genre offerings recently and so far it has been a breeze. Today though, I walked to the theater with a heavy gallows step, for I had signed up for JENNFER'S BODY. On a personal level, both MEGAN FOX and DIABLO CODY have been so repeatedly and unwantedly jammed into my consciousness that this excursion was more like going to a police line up to identify my two rapists ("Officer, it was the one with the LOUISE BROOKS bob and the theoretically sexy one that was created in a lab to replace ANJELINA JOLIE when she gets too old or goes bonkers…sob!") I'll be first to admit my preexisting prejudices against the film were legion and had to be fought off like a swarm of invisible Amityville houseflies.
Surprisingly though, I didn't hate it! The trick is to not think of it as a horror film because the horror elements are really just decorative. This is more of a black comedy like HEATHERS with a bit of THE CRAFT thrown in, so if your expectation is to be scared or thrilled you will be left high and dry. If you are like the lone old creepy man in the trench coat sitting three rows in back of me expecting titillation of some sort, well you too will be riding a bummer train. Actually if you have to resort to watching this movie for spank bank material you are not only a sad individual, but you are also not even reading this because you don't have the Internet.
Think my writing is annoying? You should get a load of the dialogue in this film, it needs to be weeded the hell back! Smaller doses DIABLO! Man, for every semi-quotable mild chuckle inducer you have two dozen quips that would have been excised in an early draft of a GILMORE GIRLS script. You heard me, the great legacy of the G.G.'s is that cutesy wordplay and rapid banter is no longer refreshing or hip, but rather as cringe worthy and embarrassing (cringebarrassing to you CODY!) as a RACHAEL'S WEDDING toast. (Notice that random obtuse throwaway pop culture references are still hot!)
So why did I kind of like this crap? You know what, at its heart, the story is really a classic tale of a power struggle within a friendship. You got your aggressive out going gal Jennifer (FOX) and your unassuming level-headed (read: wears glasses) gal Anita aka "Needy" (AMANDA SEYFRIED). They have a real connection, almost share each other's thoughts, and then things change as they often do in life. Jennifer's succubus demon possession is just an excuse for her to get a little more outlandish in the bitch department. In fact, before anything supernatural takes place, she's already trampling all over Needy and it seems their showdown was inevitable regardless.
As is usual with these yin vs. yang thrillers, there is a borderline romantic quality to the war with both parties coveting and admiring traits in the other. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine that these stories are so universal because such a battle between higher and lower impulses takes place within all of us. (For the dude version check out the forgotten BAD INFLUENCE with ROB LOWE as the dark side of the coin and JAMES SPADER playing against type as a non-scumbag.) What I'm saying is that beneath the heavy handed slang porridge and beneath the awful stretchy mouth C.G.I. shit is a rather compelling story about competition among two friends, one of whom just happens to be deriving power from each guy she renders "hopeless." Although we have a female writer and a female director, the drama is certainly not gender specific, just check out any gym or bar at last call.
So don't expect a horror movie kids and you won't have to go to bed on a tear-stained pillow. There's a great scene where a bunch of woodland creatures show up to be an audience for a kill; cameos are stellar with AMY SEDARIS, CYNTHIA STEVENSON and J.K. SIMMONS; and if nothing else today is the day that I figured out that ADAM BRODY and COLIN HANKS are actually two different people; that's not a such a bad time at the movies! The rub is JENNIFER'S BODY is certainly annoying, but it doesn't totally Succubus! (How's that for clever wordplay DIABLO?)
ALSO: I loved this song in the movie…
Wassup, fellas? It's Morbid from Dreamin' Demon.
I have a trauma for ya' that I need help identified. Actually, I have two. But first is a movie I am trying to track down. I am almost 100 percent sure it is a FRANKENSTEIN movie. It was in black-and-white and I caught it back in the mid '70s on a Saturday Creature Feature. The only scene I remember, and a scene I want to see again, detailed a balding, older gentleman falling from a balcony in the foyer of a large house. The scene (as I recalled it) showed him fall and actually hitting the ground with his head. My memory may have embellished this scene greatly, but that's what I have stuck in ma' brain. I HAVE to see this scene again to see why it has stuck with me all these years.
Lastly, my mom used to be hooked on these hobo faces made of plastic. They hung on the wall. If you pulled their bow tie or some other type of neck accessory, they would "spit" water at you from their mouths and then laugh. They were pretty popular in the late '70s early '80s and there were many varieties of them. I even remember them being sold widely at Myrtle Beach, SC. But I'll be damned if I can find anyone who has them for sale, or any history behind them to start looking. Trying a search for "spitting hobo" brings up interesting results, but not exactly what I'm looking for.
I'll skip the handjob of telling how much I enjoy your site and just thank you for any help you can provide in these very important matters.
UNK SEZ: Thanks Morbid! Morbid lords over the non-stop fascinating conveyor belt of human depravity known as DREAMIN' DEMON; visit if you dare HERE. By the by, both myself and Aunt John remember those rascally plastic squirting hobo wall hangings that Morbid speaks of but for the life of us, we could not find a picture of one anywhere on the internet (How is that possible?) If any of you can find an image of one, please send it to email@example.com so we can add it to the comments section. It takes a village, people (and not the kind that wears chaps!)
UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMAS SOLVED! Hugs and kisses (and other acts promised in the comments!) go out to Senski for the being the first to get both CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and Laffun Heads!