(an eight part countdown to Halloween, 2004)
I was born in the 60’s and grew up in Tennessee. I watched lots of television in the PC days, PC meaning pre-cable. The local NBC affiliate, WSM, aired a horror movie every Saturday night after the news. The show was called Creature Feature and was hosted by Sir Cecil Creape in a dungeon deep below the WSM studios. This, along with the local CBS affiliate’s afternoon movies (they used to run week long blocks of the Universal classics) made me a horror movie fan. There were the Nightstalker movies on ABC to also frighten me silly. You just couldn’t beat those early 70’s for quantity and quality of great horror. Saturday Night Live came along and took my beloved Creape off the airwaves, but a UHF station was about to step into the void. It really picked up when Nashville got Channel 17, which aired Hammer films on Saturday afternoons, and Japanese monster flicks every weeknight. It may just be nostalgia clouding my thinking, but I swear there was more to see before cable television and videotapes became the norm of every house in America.
A Paul Lynde Halloween Special brought KISS to my attention and I soon became obsessed with them. Sure, they were cartoons, but they were a blast, especially Gene Simmons’ blood spitting, and fire breathing stage antics. Rock and roll almost completely dominated my life from then until today, but there were always some spooky acts out there. I got into punk rock and discovered the demented rockabilly punk of the Cramps. There was also Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath to help scare me to sleep with my headphones blasting. The Sabs made Led Zep’s Crowley inspired mysticism seem tame. Eventually, I got a guitar and started my own punk band.
We called it Michael Landon’s Ghost. It was pretty standard 3 chord hardcore, but we did do a couple of horror inspired tunes; Eddie Killed Grampa and one called I Was A Teenage Werewolf. When this band collapsed, the bass player Toby and I took our Munsters fanaticism to another level by starting a group named Dragula. He wrote a nifty theme song about a drag racing vampire, “If you wreck, I’ll jump out and bite your neck!” and we were on our way to garage rock local fame. We weren’t strictly about horror, but it did play a sizable part in our songs. I wrote such unheard classics like Bobby Was A Zombie…he went to Hollywood and became the undead DeNiro, Outer Space Girlfriend, and Who’s Afraid Of The Dark. Our blood spitting guitarist, John wrote a track named after the notorious B movie companions, I Drink Your Blood I Eat Your Skin that was always fun to rock out on. Our drummer liked to dress in a clown suit, which was super scary because I’ve always been fearful of clowns. We cut a couple of instrumentals that ended up on a Spinout Records compilation, Rock Don’t Run.
I did a punk fanzine Anti*Society which even got mentioned in the Beastie Boys mag, Grand Royal and even better; Flipside. I also contributed to Dragula’s blood spitting guitarist’s video fanzine The Rewinder. Dragula faded into static and I went my separate ways from them. I got married and now I have two beautiful daughters to get scared about. The 4 year old already digs Scooby Doo, so she’s getting a good horror base. I’m working on a fantasy novel that has some horror elements, but I’m mostly just a fan of spooky things. The story Asphyxia, Asphyxia is just a clumsy knockoff of H.P. Lovecraft who is one of my favorite writers from any genre. I also dig Dan Simmons. If you’ve never read Summer Of Night, run and find it and prepare for some super chilly thrills.
Since this is a horror related website, I’ll end with a list of my favorite horror flicks.
Dawn of the Dead – What can possibly be said to add to the praise of this super flick?
Frankenstein - I’ll never figure it out why such a slow-footed monster scared me as a child, but he sure did. Bride is also top notch but I’ll go with the one that started it all.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Ed Gein’s story transferred to Texas well. As an adult I find the film to be more of a black comedy, but I admit to being just about frightened out of my skull when I saw this as a teenager.
Halloween – Less splatter is more with this morbidly scary flick. I still get a kick out of extra footage being inserted when it made its television premiere.
To Kill A Mockingbird – This is a curveball for most, but the scene where Jem, Scout, and Dill are out behind Boo Radley’s house is undeniably scary.
I’d like to thank Greg (Shrub) Rountree for letting me contribute to this great site. And just think, the best days are still way out ahead of us. Goblinhaus gives us a little taste of Halloween every day, which is much needed, in a world that seems to get more homogenous as time goes on.
Dec. 5, 2002