Fright Night

106_fright-nightTRACK #106:

Fright Night by The J. Geils Band

Good evening, horror fans. Did you know that all Title Tracks were not created equal? The J. Geils Band did.

Let’s face it, while all Title Tracks are great, some (Fall Break, Don’t Go Into The Woods…Alone) are less awesome than others (The Devil’s Men, Leatherface.)

Hell, there’s even a hierarchy of applicability. The Maniac Cop Rap is less a Title Track than say Scream and Scream Again. Shocker is  a truer Title Track than a by-liner like Dream Warriors. And then some Title Tracks simply define the category. Fright Night is just that type of Title Track.

A popular band at the time of release, almost inexplicably tapped by the producers to cut a song so unlike the rest of their catalog you wonder just how the hell it even works. But work it does. Fuck, it works a 70 hour week under the table with no overtime.

It works on Labor Day.

Or more appropriately, and perhaps more criminally,…

It works on Halloween.

And thank God for that, cause your Halloween playlist needs it. You’re Halloween needs in. Hell, you’re life needs It. Listen to it now, and then go watch Fright Night. I just did. It was a great decision.

From that 80’s realm of self aware horror (somewhere between The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys) where characters versed in fictionalized horror find themselves face to face with that horror in the real world, Fright Night follows horror nerd Charlie Brewster as he attempts to prove the new next door neighbor is a terrifying creature of the night.

You got Chris (Prince Humperdink) Sarandon creeping up the joint as 80’s vampire benchmark Jerry Dandrige, Steven Geoffreys being his typical spazzy self as (you’re so cool) Brewster’s pal Evil, and Roddy McDowell just knocking it outta the park as the Cushing-modeled celluloid vampire hunter/ TV horror host, Peter Vincent.

Add to that a fantastic script which balances tone so effortlessly, plus some truly memorable visuals from The Entertainment Effects Group. Fresh off their stint on Ghostbusters, these guys provide another barrage of makeup and creature FX wizardry, not the least of which is one hell of a harrowing reverse werewolf transformation.

It all adds up to a genuine high point in 80’s horror that no fan should miss. A loving nod to the horror of yesteryear and that old Hammer feeling right in the midst of the 80’s slasher onslaught. Whats more? It resonated, made a shit ton of money and endured immensely to this very day.

And the kicker? This awesome Title Track. So perfectly 80’s, so perfectly referential and so perfectly fitting. You can’t fuck with this song.

Welcome to Fright Night.



Vampire Hookers

105_vampire-hookersTRACK #105:

Vampire Hookers by Unknown!

Vampire Hookers; honestly I could have used a little more nudity.

Nathan “Unpainted” Arizona and I guy I thought was Michael Rooker for the about the first 20 minutes play a pair of bumbling greenhorn sailors on shore leave in the Philippines. At the local cemetery, they run afoul the pimp-hatted head vampire John Carradine and his titular hoes. Late 70’s porn music and goofball shenanigans ensue.

They’re trying, I’ll give ’em that.

It’s filled to the brim with silly slapstick and toilet humor that’ll probably set both of your eyes on a pivot, but it’s rarely boring, and at 78 minutes it feels pretty brisk and good natured.

Poor John Carradine though stumbles around waiting for a check, spouting Shakespeare and poetry, which could either be interesting or irritating depending on your temperament.

There’s also a fat Filipino familiar who farts a lot for comedic effect. Whether you laugh at his flatulence will also depend on your temperament.

Seen as well is a ladyboy pissing at a urinal, which apparently doesn’t tip off old Nathan Arizona, who proceeds to engage in a sexual transaction. Later Michael Rooker yells “Oh God! Balls!” which is always funny to hear someone shout after grabbing a lady’s crotch.

A few silly fistfights later and where onto the cemetery and our plot.

Though severely deficient in the generalized sleaziness and nudity you’d expect for a film called Vampire Hookers, you’re eventually treated to a 7 minute slow-mo vampire 4-way between Michael Rooker and the 3 sex-starved immortals. Thankfully, John Carradine bows out of that one, but the fat familiar watches and farts a bit. Probably jerks off too, couldn’t really tell and thank god for cinematic ambiguity. It’s pretty awesome though, complete with its numerous and repetitious cutaways to the lascivious murals painted around the room of beasts and Devils fornicating. Who’s turn is it?

And that’s not even the best part of the movie.

That would be our next Shindigger at #105, the Title Track Vampire Hookers, played to rousing appreciation during the picture credits at the end of the films. I love picture credits! And Title Tracks! And hookers! What an ending. If only we knew who the hell was performing this tune. It’s a Shindig first; an Unknown Artist! I searched endlessly to no avail as I could not track down the culprits. If anyone happens to know who performed this tune, we’ll gladly update the entry.

“Blood is not all they suck,” informs our unnamed composer. The Skinemax orgy sequence tells a different tale, I’m afraid. However, I think it’s safe to assume some sucking has taken place regardless, one way or the other.

While never terribly funny, it is somewhat fun, particularly in a group setting and there’s plenty of worse ways to spend 78 minutes. Plus, those’ll typically end up sucking an extra 20 minutes from your life and still not have the goddamn common decency to give you the reach around of an awesome Title Track.

So, as far as The Shindig is concerned, Vampire Hookers, you’re all right. As Lord Summerilse might say “you will sit with the Saints, among the elect,” here in our Title Track-heavy center block.




Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)

073_concrete-blonde_bloodlettingTRACK #73:

Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) by Concrete Blood

Impromptu vampire interlude!

I noticed there were a lot of vampire songs in the queue, so coming off the heels of From Dusk Till Dawn, why not just drop a block of blood-suckers right here in the 70’s?

Concrete Blonde had already been around for some time and utilized on some pretty awesome genre soundtracks (Texas Chainsaw 2, The Hidden) by 1990, when they released their best selling album Bloodletting.

The title track is a great Shindig addition about New Orleans and vampires with some serious Anne Rice ambiance about it.

Legend has it (read: the Internet) that the song was indeed inspired by the lady herself, or at least her writings, at any rate.

Though inclusive to many different movies and TV shows, none of them really hit the mark. So, we’re gonna lead this fucker in with an appropriate, Big Easy-style sample from Interview With The Vampire, just for good measure.

Suck it up Weeners!



Dark Knight

072_from-dusk-till-coverTRACK #72:

Dark Night by The Blasters

Before Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez gave the world Grindhouse, they first collaborated on the 1996 mash-up horror flick From Dusk Till Dawn.

Opening the movie most appropriately is this toe-tapper from The Blasters. It not only sets the tone for what is to follow but captures the atmosphere of their western-crime-horror perfectly.

The whole soundtrack is pretty great, for anyone who likes their tunes a little on the tex-mex side, featuring tracks from Tito & Tarantula, ZZ-Top and Stevie Ray Vaughn amongst others.

I won’t assume everyone’s seen this flick, as I don’t catch too much about it on tumblr, it’s almost 20 years old by now and Tarantino and Rodriguez aren’t quite the pop culture icons they were at the time of it’s release.

If you haven’t seen From Dusk Till Dawn, I recommend it to both horror fans and crime fans alike, as the picture starts out as one and becomes the other. Which, while working at several video stores back then, was a complaint I heard a lot from some renters. Renters that apparently didn’t expect the movie to explode into an all out blood-bathed gore-fest in the 3rd act.

Honestly, I think that’s the movie’s greatest strength and I kinda wish more films engaged in this type of genre bending. Characters that finds themselves in horrific situations were leading perfectly non-horrific lives until that point. Why should that lead up always feel like a set-up? The fact that these characters are allowed to live and breath in a world outside the trappings of a horror film, until they are decidedly in one, is refreshing. It makes them real, believable characters and gives more weight to their reactions to the horrific turn of events.

Add to that a solid script from Tarantino, some first rate action staging from Rodriguez, a great big screen leap from George Clooney, some awesome gore and creature FX from the KNB crew, fun cameos from Tom Savini and Fred Williamson, multiple performances from Cheech Marin, one sexy ass vampiric Salma Hayek, a bevy of naked vampire strippers and a great soundtrack and you’ve got yourself one hell of a movie. So fun a movie, in fact, that we can forgive Tarantino and Harvey Keitel for their somewhat labored performances.

So grab a bottle of whiskey, some condoms filled with holy water, and maybe a jackhammer tricked out to be the most bad-ass vampire death machine ever, cause its gonna be a dark night.

And remember, psycho’s do not explode when sunlight hits them, I don’t give a fuck how crazy they are.