Odds are you’re not reading this. It’s not exactly rush hour over here at The Shindig. I’m the site administrator. I see the numbers and I wouldn’t call them encouraging.
If you do happen to be reading this though, odds are you don’t really like Pet Sematary 2. That’s just simple math. The number of people who actually like that movie divided by the number of daily visitors this site gets makes it practically fucking impossible for you to be a fan.
You may use such tempered words as “tolerable,”“serviceable,” or perhaps even “forgettable,” to describe your feelings toward it, but I’ll wager “good” probably won’t be among the ones you choose.
Cause let’s face it, it just wasn’t that great of an idea, at least not artistically. Financially, sure, in that they turned 8 million dollars into 17 million at the box office alone. I doubt anyone involved considered that a failure in any monetary sense.
As a movie to just watch (either then or 25 years after the fact) it just doesn’t do enough of anything particularly well to be all that entertaining or to justify its own existence beyond being a sound financial investment.
There are 3 positive things I can say about Pet Sematary 2 however.
It’s a Halloween movie, complete with costumes and trick-or-treating, a Halloween party at the Pet Sematary and a satisfying autumnal-leafy-vibe.
Clancy Brown is well cast and fun to watch. He’s fittingly menacing as the main antagonist and he definitely does all the heavy lifting here.
Someone thought it would be cool if they had The Ramones provided the end credit track again.
And it was. I hope that person got at least a nice piece of that 17 million domestic gross.
Lead-in by the Friday 2-styled, sequel-requisite “tell the story of the previous installment as a spooky campfire story” move, here’s The Ramones returning to the Micmac cemetery with Poison Heart.
PS: that voice you’re hearing is from young actor Jared Rushton, whom some of you may remember as Tom Hanks’ buddy in Big. However, astute Halloweeners may recognize and even younger Jared from Lady In White, where he locked Frankie Scarlatti in the cloak room on Halloween. Yep, Jared is a 2-time Halloween prick and honorary Shindig All-Star. Good work Jared, your agent was pretty keen. Send him a fruit basket.
From 1985’s made-for-TV Halloween bonanza The Midnight Hour comes this creepy curio with so much mid-80’s budget-pop pizazz it even features a Soundwave-styled vocorder performance. Radical!
Harry Belafonte’s daughter Shari (pops wasn’t big on creativity, I guess) stars in the film and sings this tune, perhaps fashioned after the recent mega-hit Thriller.
In fact, the whole project seems to be an attempt to cash-in on Michael’s occult success; semi-spooky, family friendly, monster-mash madness with a throwback, 50’s drive-in flare. And this tune, an ensemble dance number staged at a Halloween party, appears to be the piece de resistance.
Though clearly made for TV and a little toothless, The Midnight Hour is a pretty enjoyable and festive addition to anyone’s October line-up. It’s even a fair bit more creepy than something you’d imagine was just made for TV.
You’ll get some fun guest appearances too, from the likes of Spaceball’s King Roland, Clarence Boddicker, that one guy from 21 Jumpstreet, UHF’s R.J. Fletcher, Yori from Tron and The Reading Rainbow Dude who wore that bitchin’ visor on Star Trek. Studded.
Plus there’s tons of Halloween ambiance, creepy Thriller-Lite graveyard scenes, a lot of cool make-ups and FX, a bunch of fun Halloween costumes, more monsters than you can shake a stick at and this kickin’ ‘digger. What more could you want from an October evening’s Televison adventure?
A lot of people dislike Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood. I’m not one of them, but they exist and I can’t say I don’t blame them.
Its heavily censored kills feel like highway robbery, it has one most disappointing endings in the series, the teenage fodder on display isn’t particularly interesting and the film just feels tired. Psychic girl unwittingly resurrects Jason? C’mon…
However, 7 has a lot going for it. I think of it as Jason’s last hoorah, for it’s the last time he’s in his element doing what he does best, before he takes off to Manhattan, other peoples bodies, Hell, Space, Elm Street, and ultimately Remakewood. Say what you want about 7, it never gets this good (or as true to itself) again.
But it is stretching its limits, as the whole thing finally succumbs to the Elm Street Effect and goes full-on supernatural.
The psychic angle, while a bit much, offers some interest though. Mainly, it puts a new spin on a formula that had already well worn out its welcome, having seen probably it’s best reworking in Jason Lives. It also finally gives Jason a formidable opponent, something really unseen up to this point in the series, silly as that opponent might be.
However, New Blood’s biggest plus come in the form of Jason himself, namely the addition of literal new blood, Kane Hodder, and the make-up work of John Bulcher.
Jason never looked this good before, or after. This is it. This is the most badass Jason around. With his spine-exposed and masked destroyed, he’s constantly dripping water and stalking around with a menace unmatched. And lets face it, that’s what we’re all here to see.
The soundtrack is coming up pretty short here too, in my opinion. Mostly just handed over to prog-wavers FM out of what feel like laziness, the songs never play much prominence, or hit any high notes. Even the score here feels wrong.
However, I’ve chosen one of those FM tracks for the Shindig, mostly so I can rant a little about 7 and post some gifs. Besides, that opening narration is too cool not too use somewhere.
And as if the psychic wasn’t Elm Street enough for you, this song’s all about dreaming. Sure, it’s a more figurative kind of dreaming, but I still I think it’s safe to say that by 1987, Freddy was winning the fight.
Freddy Krueger: What can be said about the quintessential 80’s man-specter that hasn’t been said a thousands different times by a thousand different nerds? Who am I to pretend like I’ve got some groundbreaking shit to drop on you? I’m no one, and I don’t, so I won’t. I’m simply another nerd with a foolishly myopic blog, so I’ll just stick to the script.
Freddy (whether I’ve said this before or not I can’t recall) is the reigning champ of horror tunes. He owns the 80’s pop-music-via-monster-icon scene. The guy even cut his own album. He’s all over it.
Jason comes close, but the Friday people didn’t fully climb aboard this particular train until part 6, and they never really bought a ticket. Freddy was shoveling coal in it’s boiler room.
And from jump too, as even his first outing got its own little referentially inclusive tune in the form of 213’sNightmare.
Well, who the fuck is 213? Apparently they’re no ones, as no one seems to have any information on these guys. Well, aside from the painfully obviously “they were some local LA band that provided this track” or the goofier and obviously nonsensical “they were Johnny Deep’s band” theory.
Whoever they were, they’ll go down in the Shindig’s book as they guys who churned out that thoroughly apropos end credit song from the original Nightmare On Elm Street, and baby, that’s enough.
So, up yours with a twirling lawnmower,…whatever the hell that even means.
Speaking of Paul Williams, let’s take this moment to segue right into one of Horror’s most beloved rock operas, Brian DePalma’s 1974 pitch-perfect send-up of the entire recording industry, Phantom of the Paradise.
Elements of Faust, Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, Portrait of Dorian Gray and even a little Dr. Phibes are fused together to tell a tale of love, betrayal, fame and revenge set to the backdrop of the doped-out, sinister 70’s music scene.
The Phantom, Winslow Leach, in his awesome modular tomb!
Williams scored the entire film for DePalma, and stars as Swan, the unscrupulous producer who collects talents and souls for his Death Records label.
Phantom is unique, visually arresting, kinetic and humorous all in equal measure. From DePalma’s active camera, to Gerritt Graham’s flamboyant Beef, to Winslow’s killer Phantom disguise, to Swan’s bitchin’ giant record-shaped desk, to the parodic music, to the satire – it’s all just works.
Even getting Rod Serling himself to handle the opening narration is like a stroke of genius.
Here we have the film’s final track, a rocking little number played over the picture credits, that has all the seeming of Satan himself speaking directly to Swan.
If you’ve never seen Phantom of the Paradise, give this pop-rock-horror-satire a spin this October. And if you already love it, watch it again, just for the hell of it!
While fairly understated and never quite as rousing as it seems like it should be, The Devil’s Men is a somewhat worthwhile endeavor, if only to see card-carrying good guy Peter Cushing all cloaked out and evil, raising a 10 foot, fire-breathing Minotaur statue he calls “lord.” Oh yeah, and all the creepy robed Minotaur worshippers. Oh yeah and them all exploding at that end. That shit is pretty awesome.
But it’s mostly worth seeing for the grooviest title track this side of Scream and Sceam Again, which incidentally, Cushing also appears.
Paul Williams, whom many of you may know well from his performance in and musical contributions to, Brian DePalma’s Phantom Of The Paradise, wrote and produced this shindigger. And props all around, cause it’s a doozy.
However, much like the last 2 cuts in this True Title Track block, someone had it out for TheDevil’s Men, someone who sucked at their job.
They took it and retitled it Land Of The Minotaur. Which (while in and of itself isn’t such a bad title) seems pretty unnecessary, particularly during the 70’s satanic panic where one would imagine a film called The Devil’s Men might play just fine.
They also saw fit to removed a bunch of violence and all the nudity. Seriously? What’s next? Did they cut out an awesome Title Track too?
Yes! That’s exactly what they did, and they should be tried and hung for the successive severity of their crimes.
So, if your gonna watch The Devil’s Men, make sure you watch The Devil’s Men, and not Land of the Minotaur, cause it doesn’t have a lot going for it to begin with, and the censored version removes just about every reason there is to watch it at all. For shame.
Here, now returned to its former glory, it’s Paul Williams with The Devil’s Men!
Aerobicide/Woman On Fire by Mary Hylan/Jill Colucci
For a certain type of 80’s horror junkie, Aerobicide might be a wet dream come true.
There’s a formulaic and totally telegraphed whodunit plot. There’s an impractical and ridiculously oversized safety pin for a murder weapon. There’s an awesome hard-boiled detective. There’s even awesomer private investigator played by 80’s cheeseball-badass Ted Prior. There’s cheap karate, a rake fight, nudity and no shortage of 80’s babes in workout gear getting physical.
But above all, there’s absolutely relentless 80’s synth-pop soundtrack.
However, there’s a couple injustices besetting this soundtrack. Namely, it was never officially released. Why? This thing is great. And why hasn’t anyone resurrected it yet? Where’s Death Waltz Records on this forgotten gem of a soundtrack?
There are rumors of promotional copies floating around that were release in ’84. It’s also said that all of the songs were released separately on 7″ vinyls by their various artists. Good luck finding any of those.
Secondly, and most unfortunately, the greatest of all these tracks is featured so briefly in the film it beggars belief. Worst of all, it’s the film’s Title Track. What? This isn’t the song played over the credits? This is the song that gets barely a minute of screen time so as we can’t even steal it properly? What cruel rouse is this?
Perhaps it can be explained by the inexplicable decision to retitle the film Killer Workout. Why would someone do such a thing? Is Aerobicide too high-concept? Too confusing? Similar to Land of the Minotaur, it’s not a bad title on its own. But when you compare it to Aerobicide, it’s no contest.
And because of that, this song should be all over this movie, or at the very least played during the credits. As a people, we need this whole song.
But, beggars can’t be choosers, so well provide what’s available of that track and just lead it into the aptly titled Woman on Fire by Jill Colucci, cause what else can we do?
On a side note, if you happen to find the voice of Jill Colucci sounds a bit familiar to you, it may be because she’s responsible for the theme to America’s Funniest Home Videos. Ok, that’s pretty weird.
For now, take what you can get and try to grab a copy of Aerobicide for yourself, which was finally made a whole lot easier last year when Slasher//Video released both a DVD and Blu-Ray of a video transfer.
Oh, and keep and eye out for this spray paint, which predates the film Death Spa by about 3 years. Coincidence? I dunno, but these 2 would make for one heaving, sweaty double-feature.
There’s an 80’s horror fan reading this right now. Aerobicide is their favorite movie, they just don’t know it yet.
What better place to bring our Haunted House Rockin’ block to an end than here, at the Berber House with Hauntedween, a Haunted House Halloween Title Track?
While not a real haunted house, The Berber House is just a festive Haunted House, or rather a Haunt, which has hitherto but unrepresented in our block.
A staple of the season since well before I was brought to this plane of existence, The Haunted House is as much a part of Halloween as Trick-or-Treating, Jack-O-Lanterns and slutty costumes.
High school kids in rubber masks weave through a thick mist of dangling limbs and fake fog looking for their next mark.
Disorienting lights strobe to the beat of pneumatic pistons firing foam jump scares.
You can hear a chainsaw perpetually chugging, but you can’t see much of anything at all.
Grown adults tip-toe around corners in the dark, weary of things they know aren’t really out to get them.
The nervous shriek, the tough guys almost instictively punch and the weirdos laugh uneasily.
Some are good and some are terrible, but they all have that same smell, that same vibe, the same excitement, and you should always treat yourself to at least one visit a season.
Hauntedween is a low budget affair filled with that same sort of passionate home-town charm and love for the holiday you find in local Haunted Houses, and it features a killer lying in wait at just such a local Haunt. You can read The Shindig’s write-up here!
This Title Track (which it is gracious enough to give us) plays over a montage of the Sigma Phi frat boys rebuilding the old local Haunt in preparation for a holiday fundraiser to save their fraternity!
It may be awkward to say, and it may not make one bit of sense, but here it is all the same…it’s Hauntedween!
Ok, so Ghost Fever‘s a pretty shitty movie, right? Oh, not sure you believe me? Go see for yourself. I’ll meet you back here in 92 minutes.
Alright, so now that we’re all on the same page, we can hash this thing out.
I’m not sure how much Ghost Fever you actually came down with but chances are it wasn’t enough that you’ll be requiring any antibiotics.
That being said, I love Ghost Fever. It has the distinction of being the only movie where Sherman Hemsley plays corner man to Luis Ávalos as he boxes Smoking Joe Fraizer with the assistance of Southern ghosts. Well, the only one that I’ve seen anyway.
It’s also the only movie I’ve ever seen with a break-dancing mummy.
Now, that’s pretty awesome.
All of this however does not make Ghost Fever a good movie, it just makes Ghost Fever a movie I enjoy watching. Admittedly, it is a little more than hard to sit through but if you can get behind a poor idea executed in the poorest possible fashion with the more eye-rolling bafoonery this side of Pandemonium, it’s a certain kind of treat.
James Ross at Badmovienite.com probably puts it best in his humorous review:
“At times it’s like a live action episode of Scooby-Doo meets the Harlem Globetrotters. Except it’s not really fun, or funny, and there are no talking dogs.”
Well, there’s definitely no talking dogs, I’ll give him that. But I’m laughing (kind of), particularly when it decides to get all batshit crazy toward the end. It’s not always the kind of laugh Alan Smithee is intending, but a laughs a laugh, right?
Oh yeah, did I mention Ghost Fever is an Alan Smithee film? That oughta give you an idea of what’s going on here.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Smithee, he’s a pseudonym the Director’s Guild of America allows a filmmaker to use if he feels too embarrassed with the final product and can demonstrate a lack of artistic control.
Yeah, so even the director Lee Madden disavowed this pile. I’m not quite sure it’s exactly so bad it’s good material but it’s definitely bad, that much I can say with confidence. But, dear Weeners, it’s not without its moments and with the right amount of intoxicants and the right amount of friends with the right sensibilities, it could be the right movie.
Of course, here on The Shindig, we don’t talk about this kind of nonsense without merit or a cause célèbre and Ghost Fever (as you might imagine) has a fucking doozy.
Submitted for your Halloween enjoyment, here’s George Jefferson himself spiriting his way through a disco title track of supernatural proportions.