Monday, October 12, 2015

everyday is halloween

me,  anna and a couple of friends took off for the haunted house saturday night.  the previous saturday night we brought nick to the haunted house, but it proved to scary for nick, and so we didn't enter any of the mazes.  anna asked me if i would take her back, and also have me ask our two friends.  so i did.  our friends said yes.  we met at a local restaurant, the old spaghetti factory, of which your town probably has a version because pasta is cheap and the decor is a bit flowzy and it is large and loud enough to drown out the noises of your small children.  the old spaghetti factory is, you guessed it, a family friendly kind of place.

we got to the eatery a few minutes early.  the place is usually pretty crowded on the weekends.  this night it was jammed with teens gussied up for homecoming dinner.  fucking bananas.  our friends were already inside waiting for us with a table in the bar.  no waiting for service.

this is my third year at the western themed haunted attraction.  last year i took my friend p.  the year before i brought my father.  this year the haunt, heartstoppers, is located at an old teen dance club called the mineshaft.  perfect, right!  anyhow, anna and i used to go to the mineshaft 30 years ago.  we didn't know each other then but we were kids and there were not a lot of places for sacramento kids to go in the early to mid-80s.  anna went to dance to duran duran et al. and i went to hang with my friends and look at all the girls.  i can't dance and was too bashful to even try working up the nerve to ask a girl to dance anyway.

so but then it is thirty years later.  the place is perfect for a western-themed haunt.  four mazes.  two in the basement where the dance floor was.  one upstairs.  one outside where the old miniature golf course used to live.  call me a cornball but i love the ambiance of the place.  the decor.  a player piano with blood-spattered keys.  a blackened christmas-like tree decorated with jack o'lanterns, skeletons and skulls.  a big TV screen that broadcast an ancient western, not a horror movie, but an exploitation western with a cast of only little people.  i don't know what the fuck movie that was.

now, our friends, both women [i was the only dude in our group], were novices to public spectacles of fright.  i'm not sure if anna had ever been to a professional haunt either.  who cares!  the place was packed.  the lines were crazy long.  even with those long lines the wait felt pretty short.  besides standing line waiting to get the shit scared out of you only heightened the tension.  it was magic.

the mazes were good to pretty damn good.  the one called malice in underland used the old miniature golf course.  it was the first maze of the evening.  we got grouped with a twenty-something couple.  the couple led.  but when we got to the portion that had two rows of children dressed in white bunny suits and masks, each of the bunnies carried a weapon like a baseball bat, the girl in front stopped, looked at me, and said, you go first!

okay.  i did.  i led our group thru the gauntlet of bat-wielding crazed bunny-kids.  only to land in the red queen's lair.  she asked if we had seen alice.  she was perched on her throne surrounded by lopped-off heads.  she held one of those heads.  the red queen hurled the head at us!  it was like a sponge and drenched two of our companions with water.

i forgot to tell you about the vaginal birth canal.  see, to get to the start of the malice in underland maze we had to squeeze thru a very tight opening made of some kind of black fabric.  the haunt had used this opening before for a couple of other mazes.  i knew what to expect.  but anna and friends had no idea.  when you are in this black fabric you are tightly squeezed.  you can't see.  and it feels like it is long so a tinge of claustrophobia develops.  it feels like forever getting thru this thing.  anna called it the birth canal.

the other freaky maze was the second one in the basement called the tomb of shadows.  a maze black as pitch.  you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.  you feel your way thru it.  we saw several people back out of the maze.  they couldn't do it.  one teen had a full-blown panic attack.  he was hyperventilating as the staff and his companions ushered him outside.  you ask, was it that scary?  yes, being lost in the dark can be that scary.  last year i lost my friend, p. in that maze.  i remember hearing my name way off in the distance.  i was on the surface of the moon.  i got turned around several times.  i was lost.  panic almost set in as i realized i was all alone.

but not this year.  we held hands.  we got turned around a couple of times.  bashed into a couple of walls too.  anna pointed out that the maze had some lighting above our heads.  we followed those faint lights.  when we could.  because the lights were not always above.  and the haunt had speakers with voices whispering to you.  what did they say?  i don't know.  because i was doing my best not to panic.

then great relief when we saw light literally at the end of the tunnel.  an exit sign and some stairs leading up and out.  we had bragging rights because we made it.

then so we laughed our way to the parking lot.  we hugged our friends goodbye.  we survived.  we got into our car and drove our way back to the living, and to nick, who was staying at grandma's house while anna and i celebrated the scary season with a night of the living dead.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

everyday is halloween

movies that scared the pee out of me: prince of darkness [1987]

i'm a huge fan of filmmaker john carpenter.  he's made some killer flicks that expand the range of exploitation and horror films.  but this one, i dunno.  not carpenter's greatest effort.  it's about a group of people who get these transmissions via their dreams that the father of satan, anti-god, is about to be let loose from the basement of a church in downtown l.a.  goofy, yeah.  the transmissions take the form of what is later called 'found footage'.  these transmissions are scary.  i recall watching this flick that features shock rocker alice cooper as a homeless man on videotape way back when.  ho-hum.  then we have these bits of film where a group is broadcasting from the future, but after the world has been set fire by anti-god.  the group is expected to make sense of these messages and act before evil can be released upon the world.  see for yourself.  but before you watch this clip do yourself a favor.  put on headphones, get a beer or glass of wine, turn down the lights, and prepare for a spooky experience.

i can't embed this clip so click here to watch.


Friday, October 09, 2015

from the notebooks

in our hyper-competitive world where everyone strives to be noticed, to be unique, and different, would it not be radical to insist on our ordinariness, and trust in plainness, because if everyone is seeking to be number one, to be on top, should we not then evidence an inward draw from hyperbolic intensity and proclaim our radiant simplicity

everyday is halloween

you want proof of halloween everyday?  how about this christian group who predicted the world would end in fire last wednesdayevidently this group took the calculations made by another leader, harold camping, who said the world would end in 2011.  well, add 1600 days and the end of time would be 10/7/11.

i don't know what is scarier.  the end of days by fire from an angry god or our need to predict the end of time.  we are living in interesting times, brothers and sisters.  but then again when hasn't the times been interesting.  groups of all kinds have awaited the destruction of earth since we have been organized creatures.

plus our popular landscape is saturated with stories about the apocalypse.  why?  hard to give a firm explanation.  our epoch is changing.  change is scary.  we want things to stay as they are, or were, if only by the stories we tell ourselves.

the world didn't end on wednesday.  obviously.  and when the world ends there will be no one to record it.  as the character elijah, played by robert duval in the film the road [2009], said about being the last man on earth, you wouldn't know it,  you will be it.


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

everyday is halloween

movies that scared the pee out of me: the sentinel [1977]

i really don't remember seeing this flick.  only the shadows of fear, of being scared shitless, shroud my memories of this movie.  a young model moves into an apartment building that is occupied by a blind priest played by john carradine on the top floor.  turns out this building is the gateway to hell.  carradine is keeping the demons at bay.

but an image of the actor burgess meredith and the stairwell and the demons and the girl is seared into my memory.  i may even be remembering a bit from the trailer played on TV.  i don't know.  demons and the gate of hell gave me the cold sweats.  anything suggesting the devil and hell had me jumping out of my skin when i was a kid.

that image of demons and the girl and burgess meredith and the stairwell haunted my dreams.  the image followed me to my bedroom.  it was around the corners and a little beyond my field of vision.  and yet i know they were somehow present and  waiting for me.  i was haunted.  i was scared out of my wits.

perhaps that fear, vistigial, has kept me from seeking out this movie and watching it again.  i know it got middling reviews.  i don't believe in hell, or heaven.  and yet i remember my fear and how physical it was caused by images from this film.

 i know the boogeyman ain't real, okay.  and still. . .and yet. . .


Sunday, October 04, 2015

everyday is halloween

another zombie movie?  hell yeah!  particularly this one.  feels like i have a line on this pic because nick and i are active in scouting.  nick is a cub scout.  he will bridge over to the boy scouts this spring.  this flick is titled scouts guide to the zombie apocalypse.  it is a horror comedy about three scouts who team up with a young woman to kick zombie ass.  looks great!


Friday, October 02, 2015

everyday is halloween

horror and halloween have their own sounds.  sometimes the sounds are autumnal fitting for cooler breezes, lengthening nights, and falling leaves.  more often halloween sounds like surf and punk rock.  below is a video by the jeano roid experience.  roid is the guitarist for the nashville, tennessee based horror punk band the creeping crudsgood guitar rock with some whip-ass cool images taken from horror/exploitation films, TV horror hosts, punk rock bands like X and the cramps, and assorted stuff.  boils and ghouls i present to you 'theme from an imaginary spookshow'.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

everyday is halloween

full tilt into the scary season.  alors!  i try to live in the present and take each day as a gift but man i am like a kid waiting for christmas when it comes to the ancient traditions of samhain  and here it is, fall, and halloween a few weeks away.  now if i could only get my peeps at MIT to work on a calendar that can expand the month of october and collapse the rest of the 11 months.

but no.  time neither stops nor marches along.  time moves on its own speed that is, for this old punk rocker, going faster each passing year.  still, the present now is october.  and halloween is my favorite holiday.  i shall drink hard the nectar of autumn and savor each drop.

you have seen i have already started my everyday is halloween series with a jump scare scene from a recent horror film and a anti-memoir of a sub-genre i shall call movies that scared the pee out of me detailing movies that frightened me into a near catatonic state.   i'll continue my series to halloween.

in the meantime, nick, anna and i plan on hitting the local haunted house this weekend.  very exciting for this will be nick's first time at a fright house.

last week anna, nick, me, b. and j. took our laggard selves to dixon where we walked in the corn maze at cool patch pumpkins.  i think this is our third or fourth year navigating the world record holding corn maze.  last year was bananas.  we were lost in the maze for about four hours.  we were the last to step out of the corn that night.  crazy.

this year the maze is a little smaller, about 40 plus acres.  the designers also created two routes, advanced and not so advanced.  we chose the not so advanced.  we hit the maze at dusk.  so we can do half the maze in daylight and half at night.  night is better.  a little spookier.  we were well equipped with water, energy bars and flashlights.  but we sure as hell didn't want to get stuck in the maze for half the night. 

b. is a great map reader.  he got us thru the maze in an hour and a quarter.  just the right amount of time.  it was a lovely evening.  the supermoon was set for sunday.  but this was saturday night.  the moon was huge.  the sky was cloudy and the moon peeked out to create the perfect vision of halloween delight.

then suddenly it was over and time to drive home.  that is just the way it is.  just like life.