Quickly; name a band which formed in the late 1960s, included a member named Ozzy Osbourne, were known for their occult imagery, and had a song titled “Black Sabbath”? If you guessed Black Sabbath, you are, of course, correct. If you guessed the Fabulous DeFranco Family, you’re tripping balls, my friend. But if you answered with “Coven”, you are also correct – Satanically correct!
Coven is one of those bands I wish more people knew about (They’ll be playing the Troc on10/25). They’re fronted by the amazing Jinx Dawson (who hasn’t aged a day since 1968. Seriously. It’s like she made some sort of bargain with…never mind). I bet you think the legendary and completely brilliant Ronnie James Dio was the first perform to salute an audience with the “Devil Horns”. Nope. It was jinx.
So, it is which much demonic happiness that I present to you, from their 1969 album Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, Coven performing “Wicked Woman”.
I’ve been involved in the music industry (it’s called an “industry” because of the usually high number of job-related deaths) for over 30 years – the majority of which I’ve spent bitter and disappointed. In in perfect world (ie. MY world), Tex and The Horseheads would’ve been bigger than Madonna and “The Fab Four” would refer solely to Throbbing Gristle.
That said, every now and then a music trend bubbles up that gives me hope for the future and one of those trends is taking place at this very moment right under your earbuds. Finally, after over a decade hipster lumberjacks and what I’m just assuming are those big-eyed paintings come to life dominating every corner of the industry, darkness has returned to the world music! OK, maybe not all of music world, but it has firmly entrenched itself in Europe. And Europeans are really good at making dark music. Exhibit A: Ash Code.
Ash Code are from Italy and that’s really all I know about them despite have purchased many of their songs and played them pretty regularly on my radio show. Since I’m unfamiliar with their biography, I’m just going to make one up: Ash Code live in an abandoned villa high in the mountains of that part of Italy where most missing persons cases are not mob-related (that should narrow it a bit). Ash Code have never toured in America because they have to rest on their native soil.
Remember those Halloween sound effects cassettes and records from when you were a kid? I loved those things. Probably because my family would often blast them on random days thought the year just to keep our neighbors on their toes. To be fair, the only other form of audio entertainment we possessed was a CCR 8-track.
My desire to reconnect with noises that can lower the property values in a 15 mile radius brings us to entry number five on our list: Heilung’s live performance of “Alfadhirhaiti”. This song seems to exist for the sole purpose of convincing the Neighborhood Watch that a werewolf walks among them.
My favorite horror move has always been 1963’s “The Haunting” (although “Hereditary” is running a close second). To people who were raised on Freddy, Pinhead, or Chucky, The Haunting might seem to be very dull as the film is 100% free of jump scares. But this is why I love it. The makers of The Haunting understood that true horror is created by a tense, unnerving atmosphere. That’s why the “Give him the camera” scene in “Ordinary People” is much more frightening than anything in “Friday the 13th”. It’s something the people behind the people behind the 1999 remake of The Haunting (people totally undeserving of love) never understood. And that’s Liam Neeson and I have never spoken (that and the fact we’ve never met…and if we did, I’d most likely be VERY polite to him as he has a certain set of skill which include being able to beat the shit out me).
Much like a good horror movie, a song doesn’t need to be loaded with monsters and murder to be scary. It just needs the right atmosphere. Which brings us to our fourth entry – Echo and the Bunnymen with “The Killing Moon”. Nobody gets decapitated; no ghostly lovers haunt their former paramours, yet this song remains one of the creepiest tunes ever recorded. So much so that, years after its release, “The Killing Moon” would inspiration the creation of Donnie Darko.
“I’d mentioned somewhere that The Killing Moon was about pre-destiny, and he wrote the whole fuckin’ film about it. Cheeky bastard! He gave us this pittance one-off fee for the use of the song, saying it was just a little indie film, but forgot to mention that Drew Barrymore was behind it, who had more money than Howard Hughes. Great as it is, he should at least have given us a credit for the idea.”
– Ian McCulloch
There are only three holidays which involve candy and a possible encounter with someone in a bunny costume: Halloween, Easter, and Valentine’s Day. Of the three of these, only one stirs up images of flesh-eating, blood-drinking corpses rising from their graves.
Maybe it’s because Vienna & I were married in the middle of the month, but Halloween will always be the real Valentine’s Day for me. And it should be for you as well. Just take a minute to think off all the great love stories which revolve around Halloween. There’s The Bride of Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera. and hundreds of slasher flicks in which camp councilors total get it on before being impaled by a rototiller.
In the recognition of the amorous side of Halloween, I give you today’s song – “Corpses (A Zombie Love Song)” by those gleeful purveyors of romantic ballads God Module.
Oh, and here’s 40 goddamn minutes of Halloween commercials from the 70’s & 80’s because that’s the way Crazy Eddie would’ve wanted it.
There’s a good chance that, at some point this month, you, having grown tired of smashing your neighbors’ pumpkins, will find yourself consumed with an eerie wanderlust and a strong desire to smash the pumpkins of complete strangers. At this point, you will make plans to depart depart upon a spooky road trip.
It might be drive down New Jersey’s highly overrated Clinton Road, or Buck’s County’s genuinely creepy Crossart Road, or the elusive search for each of the Seven Gates of Hell (I’ve only ever managed to rack up a trip to the one in Downingtown, PA). For those of us, here in Stocksbridge, a quick jaunt down the A616 will do the trick.
And while you won’t encounter any ghosts (for the same reason you won’t encounter any leprechauns), you are very likely to encounter something far more frightening in the form of drunken teenagers, meth-fueled rednecks, dickheaded ghost hunters, or a combination of all three.
I can’t talk you out of your creepy road trip, but I can give you some advice: take along some appropriately creepy music. And by “appropriately creepy music”, I mean all seven minutes and eleven seconds of Numb’s “Stalker”.
This is some of the straight-up spookiest music you could possible hope to fill your ears with while cruising down a dark country road.After all, the gawddamn song is called STALKER, for Christ’s sake! And it’ll be the perfect score to your inevitable dismemberment by a coven of toothless Norwegian Black Metal enthusiasts who are pitching a “paranormal encounters” show to the Travel Channel.
It’s October! I’m hoping you knew that already, but – in case you don’t own one of those calendar thingies that all of the kids seem to be agog about these days – it’s October!. Last October, on Facebook, I recommend a different horror movie every day for the entire month. Then Facebook sold our data to Nazi pricks Steve Bannon and Bob Mercer, so screw them and the shitty cartoon frog they road in on. Anyhooooo, this year I’ll be using this very site which you are currently gazing upon to provide a different Halloween-appropriate song every gawddamn day from now until November (October’s less popular kid brother).
And, boy howdy, let me tell you fer sure by gum that this will not be your typical parade of Halloween-themed songs either. Every year some lazy music critic tells you to go listen to “The Monster Mash”, a randomly chosen & certifiably crappy Rob Zombie tune, and the Ramones'”Pet Sematary”. Then they turn that shit over to an editor at Slate who adds a few Beyonce songs to the list because…well…Slate. This happens EVERY DAMN YEAR!
So, just to show you that I’m on the level, here’s our first track. It’s the perfectly creepy “No More Nightmares” by Dead When I Found Her off of their brilliant 2012 “Rag Doll Blues” album. Damn. 2012 was a great year for music. Dim the lights and enjoy! I’ll be back tomorrow with another disturbing song.
Teufelskreis – Die Robo Sapiens This Is Gonna Hurt [Explicit] – Synapsyche The Truth – Stoppenberg Dots, Circles and Lines (Rob Dust Big Beatz Remix) – Lederman / De Meyer Satanic Aesthetic (Mr.Kitty Remix) – Angelspit Here We Are Again! (1992) – Forma Tadre Who Do You Love? (Barbacue Remix For Claus & Kurt) – Birmingham 6 It Only Takes a Minute (Radio Mix) – Tavares Bite Down Hard – Street Sects New Jersey Devil [Explicit] – Ho99o9 Time’s Up [Explicit] – 3TEETH & HO99O9 There Will Be Blood – X-RX Whites of Your EyesDancing Plague Seven Nation Army – Obscenity Trial Wolves at the Door – Avarice in Audio Fucked (I Found Heaven) [Explicit] – Hide Unwilling – Lana Del Rabies Soylent [Explicit] – Wire Spine The New Day – Project Pitchfork Hexxxed [Explicit] – Strvngers Community Collapse – Cardinal Noire Dancing in the Moonlight – King Harvest Back to Psychoburbia – Darkness on Demand Hollow – Ashbury Heights Heavy Hands – Animal Bodies Snow and Joy – Null Device
There’s no need to be confused! Go here and read the preface to the first experiment.
Experiment Three: Home
Since the first two experiments resulted in very few actual scares (I should admit that neither Vienna nor I frighten easily. So, if you’re the type of person who has nightmares after re-runs of Friends, your results for this experiments will differ greatly from ours) I decided to fall back on something that I remembered as being scary as Hell – A 1996 episode of The X-Files called “Home“.
For many people, Vienna & myself included, Friday night in the early to mid-90’s was synonymous with the X-Files. No matter what was going on in your life, come 9 PM, you stopped whatever you were doing and watched the X-Files. If your home burned to the ground at 8:30 in the evening, killing your entire family, by 9 PM you were sitting on your neighbor’s sofa listening to the show’s intro music. That’s just how we all rolled back in the 90’s, folks.
Looking back, The X-Files was not a really great show. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad; it’s just that the few episodes I’ve stumbled upon in the past couple of years didn’t hold up very well. I guess the real reason that we were all glued to our TV on Friday night at 9 PM was because the X-Files, for all of its flaws, was at least better than all of the shit that was on TV in the early 90’s. And when I say “shit”, I’m being kind. I could devote thirty paragraphs to hurling insults at televised feces like Home Improvement or Everybody Loves Raymond. The fact is that TV in the early 90’s just plain sucked.
Maybe that’s why “Home” had such an impact on me when I first watched it. This might be hard for people who’ve come of age in the era of American Horror Story to grasp, but “Home” was like nothing that had ever appeared on TV previously.
If you’ve never seen the episode (it’s available on Netflix), you’ll be impressed by home much black humor and mind-blowing what-the-fuck-isms the writers managed to cram into just the opening 15 minutes alone. Yes, that dead baby sure does get around!
Unfortunately, the producers of the X-Files didn’t dig all of the dead baby humor; they felt that the episode “had gone too far”, and Fox banned it from ever being re-aired on their network. Yes, the very same network that would later give us The Littlest Groom.
For a piece of horror to be really effective it has to contain That Scene. A scene so scary that you never forget it. It’s the one scene your mind instantly goes to when you think of the piece. In The Haunting, That Scene is the one wherein Eleanor thinks she’s holding Theodora’s hand, but…well, you know. Here’s That Scene in “Home“. It does for “Wonderful, Wonderful” what A Clockwork Orange did for “Singing in the Rain” and what The Littlest Groom did for Humanity.
So, now it’s time to apply our highly scientific scoring method to the episode.
Vienna gave “Home” 5 Barnabi and 8 Ormsbys. I gave it 6 Barnabi (That “Wonderful, Wonderful” part is the stuff of nightmares) and a whopping 9 Ormsbys for a final total of:
I’m going to leave you with one disturbing bit of trivia about “Home“. Writer Glen Morgan ‘s inspiration for the episode came, partially, from an incident which Charlie Chaplin documented in his autobiography. A young Chaplin had been staying at a miner’s house. Following dinner, the miner said he had something to show Charlie. That something was a man with no arms or legs who had been sleeping in the kitchen cupboard.
A half man with no legs, an oversized, blond, flat-shaped head, a sickening white face, a sunken nose, a large mouth and powerful muscular shoulders and arms, crawled from underneath the dresser … “Hey, Gilbert, jump!” said the father and the wretched man lowered himself slowly, then shot up by his arms almost to the height of my head.
“How do you think he’d fit in with a circus? The human frog!”
I was so horrified I could hardly answer. However, I suggested the names of several circuses that he might write to.
Next time: The once mighty nation of Brittan collectively loses its shit.