Blog Series: Triple Movie Mini-Reviews #1 - Fade to Black / Angst / Forbidden World

I'm very pleased to bring you another new blog series: Triple Movie Mini-Reviews! As is with everything else I do, this is a trial run to see how it goes. I realize there are about a zillion places you can go to get reviews of various films, but I thought it would be fun to do mini-reviews of films I am currently watching, or have just watched, or revisited. Needless to say the majority of these will be Horror based, previously unearthed gems that I've come across, or well-known titles that I have somehow missed. Why triple? Well I watch a lot of movies and I like the idea of mixing up genres to give you a well-rounded flavor. Let us begin...


FADE TO BLACK - 1980 


I don't know HOW this one managed to escape me for so long. I remember when it came out. I remember when it was running on the newly-established cable, and I remember being enthralled at the cover art of the VHS box at the video store. Alas, somehow it still managed to escape my eyes for 38 years. Well no more.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable character study of an accidental killer, set in the cusp between Punk, New Wave and Disco. Those with an appreciation of the barely-there 80's will rejoice at the look and tone of the film, and make no mistake, everyone is dead serious. I couldn't help being reminded of the original Willard (1971), with the similarly boyish Bruce Davison. Dennis Christopher (highly underrated) plays our resident film geek with as much authenticity and honesty as DeNiro in Taxi Driver. OK, so it's not an award-winning film, but a highly respectable little flick from my beloved era.

Ooh, and be on the lookout for a very fresh faced Mickey Rourke, decades before the loss of his magnetically handsome visage. R.I.P. Still a great actor, and a pleasure to find him here in the early part of his career.

WHERE TO WATCH: DVD, AMAZON PRIME


ANGST - 1983 (AUSTRIAN - SUBTITLED)


Wow. Ok, what can I say about this? Batshit insanity comes to mind...but like any good train wreck, you cannot look away. Googly-eyed Erwin Leder just happens to fall into my sick & twisted infatuation box, and he hardly says a word...

You'll want to pay attention to the beginning which is a series of text, photos, quick shots and narration. It is our demented hero's backstory, and you will do well to remember it as the film moves along. After the lead character begins his journey, the outstanding soundtrack becomes a character unto itself. Tangerine Dream's Klaus Schulz is the master behind the music, and definitely hooked me right in to the film. If you're a fellow synth fan, (or a Tangerine Dream fan) you'll love this. The soundtrack is available on Vinyl and CD and is worth the price of admission alone for the track 'Silent Survivor' which clocks in at over 30 minutes! Sooooo gooooood.

Not for the weak of heart or stomach, but a really interesting POV look through a serial killer's eyes and mind.

WHERE TO WATCH: DVD, BLU-RAY, SHUDDER


FORBIDDEN WORLD - 1982


Ok so I love Roger Corman films just as much as the next horror fan, but wowie was this a stinker. Basically an Alien ripoff, but you know, with more sex and nudity. Which is fine, it just didn't translate very well, and the acting is pretty bad. But there are three reasons to watch it if you haven't seen it yet;
1. Our leading sexpot is June Chadwick, whom I adore in Spinal Tap as Jeanine.
2. A brief part for Michael Bowen, our beloved bad boy in Valley Girl, Jackie Brown and countless other favorites.
3. The soundtrack/score. Albeit brief, it's a delicious synthy romp and worth a listen on it's own merit. As I'm sure you know, the soundtrack is available on Vinyl, CD and digital download.
Perhaps if the creature looked anything like what is in the wonderful cover art, this would be a better Sci-Fi/Horror flick.

WHERE TO WATCH: DVD, BLU-RAY, AMAZON PRIME

I hope you've enjoyed the first installment of this new blog series. If so, lemme know! Got a film suggestion? Get in touch! Stay tuned for another installment coming soon...

Interview Series: 5 Questions with Christian James Hand - DJ / Producer / Music Excavator

Christian James Hand Photo Courtesy thesessiononair.com

Ok I can't even begin to contain my excitement about this interview. Christian graciously agreed to being questioned by a complete stranger, and one gushing like a fangirl at that. See, what Christian does with individual songs, is something I have been doing in my head with only the music and a pair of headphones (and a healthy rewind button) since I was a small child. This may come as something of a surprise to some of you, being that my brief foray into podcasting was so short-lived. Well, that's because I lack the technical knowledge and equipment to produce such things, but I digress....

Back in the late 90's, I went to school to become a media producer. I was the only female in a sea of male audio nerds, and I didn't possess the coconut sized balls I felt I needed to continue with the classes. Besides, I'm not a traditional musician. My ear is my instrument, and that didn't get you very far back then. Perhaps it still doesn't.

Anywho. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I listened to the ShockWaves Podcast featuring Christian James Hand. He was dissecting Tubular Bells (which most know to be the theme from The Exorcist) and I thought it would be really interesting...



Well interesting doesn't even begin to cover it. I was GLUED to my phone the entire length of the podcast because I SPEAK HIS LANGUAGE. What does that mean? Well the best way to describe it is, he focuses on sometimes the slightest nuance of a part of a song, which makes you hear it completely differently than ever before. And I'm saying that you can have played a song 1000 times, and I guarantee you will never hear it the same way after you've heard Christian piece it out for you.

See? I'm gushing again. I can't help it. I've just never heard another human being do what I have done most all my life and I am THRILLED to, even in some small way, bring any amount of awareness to the magic he creates. So let's hear Christian's part, it's infinitely more interesting than mine....


1. First off, I have to know the history behind what you do. How did you come to this particular place in your career, and more specifically, how did you come to dissect songs? Please correct my verbiage "dissect" if you have a better term for what it is you do, I'm sure that you do.

HA! No, that's as good a word for it as any. The whole thing started when I was on Sirius/XM. I would routinely go in and simply do vocal tracks. One day I tried a full song and my co-host couldn't handle it. Which was fine. Upon leaving SXM I started with Mark Thompson in the mornings on The Sound doing a complete song as is heard today. That was also the launch-pad for the live show. I started by just inviting listeners but after about 3 months, I could sell tickets and now the shows sell-out months in advance, which is pretty friggin' awesome!

2. You are jokingly open and honest about your Asperger's (Didja know Gary Numan has it too?) and OCD diagnoses. Do you feel these afflictions help or hinder your process?

I did know about Gary's diagnosis. Weirdly enough when I was a kid in the U.K. he was one of the first artists that resonated with me deeply. "Are Friends Electric?" was a song that "spoke to me" in a way music hadn't before. He was the first musician that I felt I could "claim" as my own. Kindred spirits perhaps?

Does Asperger's help me? I'm not sure. I'm confident that it has something to do with it. The process of doing a 2 hour long live show that is entirely made-up on the spot is one that has convinced me that my mind works VERY fast and I think that that, along with the OCD of SO much useless music trivia, definitely puts me at an advantage when it comes to "performing" The Sessions and is something that can be pinned on the Asperger's. The places where I really feel the "hindrance" of it, and its liabilities, are in the area of inter-personal relationships and navigating the complexities of a World that appears to run entirely on entropy. THAT shit will wear you the funk out!


Tracks Breakdown Photo Courtesy of sessiononair.com

3. DYING to know your favorite part of your process.

My fave part of the "process"? Two-fold. I love discovering the secrets. Whether it be the cellos in "Jeremy" or the acoustic guitar in "Take On Me", when the little nuances that make such a HUGE difference reveal themselves to me in the quiet of my studio it is entirely thrilling. But, without a doubt, the live show is my fave part. Getting to make people laugh, cry, rejoice, all the while showing them the magic in these songs is an experience unlike any other I have ever had as a music fan OR music creator. It's a beautiful, rewarding, humbling, thing to be allowed to do for a living. I am VERY grateful.

4. What motivates you as an artist? Sub question:  I know that you focus on your own personal favorite songs, but how do you choose which songs you will do?

My motivation as an "artist"? Well, I find it difficult to use that term for what I do. I prefer to consider myself a "teacher", in a way. The motivation is to try and get people to remember that music IS ART!! It has value. It is magic. And spells. And friendship. I want people to re-engage in these incredible songs that have been devalued and forgotten about or, sometimes, with something like "Take On Me", never truly valued to begin with.

I would like the audience to see INTO the songs and feel the process as it reveals itself to them. To get them to fall in love again, or for the first time, with songs and artists that they've stopped LISTENING to because they only now HEAR them. The songs are entirely chosen randomly and on a whim. Unless we are paying our respects to someone who has passed, obviously. And those are VERY difficult. After the Tom Petty one I sat in my car in the parking lot and cried. I feel an immense responsibility to "do right" by those artists, and hope to not let them, their bandmates, family, and/or fans, down.


5. Assuming you have to get clearance for the "stems" (I think you called it) for each song. Is that the most challenging part of the dissection process? ALSO: You've said that after doing 'Rio' by Duran Duran, the band invited you to a performance they were doing. Um, just HOW FREAKING AMAZING WAS THAT???!!

I'll leave this one for the lawyers. And, yeah, it was AWESOME to have John Taylor of DD reach out to us and invite us to the show. They were so very flattered by the attention. And he was STOKED to be highlighted as the friggin' GENIUS bass-player that he is. My hope is that all bands will eventually be wondering why I haven't done a Session with them. And consider it an honour to be chosen for one.

Special Extra Credit Question: What magical piece of machinery is it that you bring into the studios when you do the radio show and/or podcast?

The "magical piece of machinery" in question is a 2011 Mac Book Pro using an ancient version of Pro Tools and covered in stickers. Not that fucking sexy...is it?


Merch Stickers Photo Courtesy of thesessiononair.com

Please tell the readers where they can find/follow you:

@kingtrut on IG

The Session On Air on FB


www.thesessiononair.com

Christian James Hand on FB


Finally, I just have to tell you THANK YOU for not only agreeing to this "interview", but for doing what you do. Music lovers everywhere need to know about the magic that you create, because they will be the better for it. And I for one, will scream it from the rooftops.

I hope you've enjoyed this personal favorite interview, please listen to any of the shows Christian has available, I promise you will be amazed, fascinated and thoroughly HOOKED. Stay tuned for my next victim next week!

Interview Series: 5 Questions With Adam Padilla - Horror & Pop Culture Artist

Photo Courtesy of Adam Padilla
It's been a looooong time comin' for me to sing the praises of my friend Adam Padilla; Horror and Pop Culture artist extraordinaire. Adam not only creates incredibly accurate likenesses of all our favorite Horror Film and Pop Culture characters, he also embellishes vintage Playboy centerfolds, advertisement pages and even VHS boxes with his incredible art. Let's delve into the mind of Adam shall we?

1. Horror and Pop Culture so clearly inspires you and your work, but what motivates you as an artist?

I have been an artist since around 6 years old, and have always loved to create art in several forms. My motivation is in a direct line with my inspirations. It may be as simple as a vintage object, or song that places a picture in my mind. I can instantly set up the composition, and color scheme in seconds. This happens 24/7. Halfway into a painting, and I'm thinking about the next project(s).


"Suffer" by Adam Padilla

2. You were previously a tattoo artist for decades, then got fed up with that world and went into creating art on your own terms. Was that a difficult decision for you to come to, and how was the transition?

I tattooed off and on for nearly 20 years. I always felt like I was in a glass room. You can see where you want to go, but limited by the client's vision. I needed to push forward for my creative sanity. I have never stopped illustrating since childhood. No matter what job I had, I was always making art for myself, businesses, musicians etc. etc. so stepping out of tattooing was just one less thing to do that day! Now I can really focus my visions, my subject matter. No Regrets.

3. You and I frequently commiserate on the Instagram algorithm and sudden drop off of engagement on our posts. What do you think the future of small business-and particularly artists-getting their work out there to be seen will entail?

It's like the suit & tie guys at Instagram don't even use their own product. If they did, they'd clearly see that they are killing small businesses! Giant corporations don't understand the struggle of being seen, and getting their product out. They see dollar signs in advertising. They are disconnected from our reality. All we can do is ride their wave, and hope that our followers old, and new, continue to Search, Seek and Support!


"Frankenstein's Monsters"
by Adam Padilla

4. What is your favorite part of your process?

My favorite part of the process is two fold: The inspiration, and layout of what will become media, colors, composition etc. Then the final touches when the piece is completed. Then I step back and remember all the great scenes, dialogue, or music from what is staring back at me. What started as an idea built in my mind, is now a physical reality. A literal view of my dreams.

5. Any big plans and/or goals for Adam Padilla Art in the works or near future?

More painting videos, with a YouTube Channel. Possibly deal with social anxiety, and selling product from a booth at horror conventions etc. I have placed thousands (hopefully thousands more to come) of art pieces in homes across the globe. That's an amazing feeling, and I have left my mark on this silly world. I'm humble, focused, and content. Next painting coming right up!


"Creature" by Adam Padilla

Please tell the readers where they can find/follow you and purchase your works:

Website: www.adampadilla.bigcartel.com

Instagram: adampadilla13

Email: horrorshow1313@yahoo.com

A thousand thanks to Adam for allowing me to grill him about his business and life. I hope you've enjoyed this interview, and will stay tuned for my next victim in one week!

Book Review: The Story of The Ramones by Everett True ...and More!

  Hey, ho...let's go! Ok now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about The Ramones...
Believe it or not, I never knew much about The Ramones, aside from their music, of course. And I have heard all the rumors about the band, but wanted to find out "the truth" for myself. Well this book does a great job of it...

This book is mostly compiled of the author's interviews with the band (and surrounding friends, family and business partners) directly--so straight from their mouths--with small bits of opinion and reaction sprinkled in. That's exactly what I wanted, to read about the band as close to factual as I could, and I think this book accomplishes that. Of course, we'll never really know now...

There's not really much I could say that would be a "spoiler" for this book, but what I was most surprised to learn about The Ramones--the band as a whole--was how dedicated they were to the business of being a band. I never realized how incessantly they toured, and ultimately, how much they are revered after the fact, instead of while they were all still alive and doing what they did best. Sad, really. But they never let that deter their mission, which is a huge testament to their character and resolve to be true rock-n-roll stars.

I highly recommend this book if you wanna "get to know" The Ramones. It's an enjoyable, fairly quick read, and never dull, I can promise you that much.

So then I found this on the cheap, because I wanted to learn even more about Joey. It's written by his brother Mickey Leigh, and even though I've heard not-great things about it, I want to judge for myself. It's next on the TBR (to be read) list, and I'll update this post when I've finished it.


And finally, there's this hilariousness. DeeDee Ramone, was definitely the most diverse of all the "bruddahs" writing several books, trying RAP on for size, making art, painting and generally being the rebel of the group. I have only read a little of this so far, and it's supposed to be fictional, but so far it doesn't sound like it's too terribly different from the truth...albeit a drug-infused truth.

UPDATE: OK, I've just finished this...insanity. What started off as a mildly amusing/interesting Creative Non-Fiction tale, quickly became a spiraling descent into madness. And at that point, I pretty much lost interest, because he gets really brutal and rather incoherent. Some might say the ending was a foreshadowing of his own death, which was something I wasn't really expecting, nor keen to witness. Proceed at your own discretion.


Oh and P.S. The title below is violently rare, but supposed to be another good account of the past. I'm a little bit skeptical because it's written by their tour manager, who endlessly got the shit end of the stick from the band. But if I'm able to get my grubby mitts on a copy, I will update this post to reflect my thoughts on it. Gabba Gabba Hey!

UPDATE: As I've been unabashedly corrected, On The Road with The Ramones wasn't specifically written by their tour manager, but rather compiled by him, and includes exclusive interviews and over 250 photos. I'll be back when I read it for myself.


Interview Series: 5 Questions with Miranda from SpookyLittleHalloween Blog

Welcome to the first in a new series beginning here on the blog called 5 Questions with... This will be an ongoing series of "interviews" with people I admire in the world. From traditional artists to bloggers, writers, actors and creatives of all types. This series was originally planned for the podcast, but since I have moved on from that, I'm excited to bring it to you here, because I really think you'll enjoy it. So let's get crackin!

Photo Courtesy of Miranda at SpookyLittleHalloween.com

My first guest is Miranda from the delightful blog www.spookylittlehalloween.com who celebrates all-things-Halloween all year long. I first found Miranda on Instagram (@spookylittlehalloween) and have been happily following her Halloween shenanigans for a couple of years now. So let's find out a little more about Miranda...

1. Writing is clearly only one of your many talents, but what motivates you as an artist?

There are a lot of things that motivate me, but I think what it all boils down to is sharing something I love with other people who love it too. I’m an old millennial, but I’m part of this first generation who has learned to share their passions online. I kind of have this sense of childlike wonder about it, but I think it is SO cool we have the ability to connect with people all over the world who share a love for anything, whether it books, music or Halloween through the Internet.


Photo Courtesy of SpookyLittleHalloween.com

2. You so obviously love what you do. What is your favorite part of the process?

I love being in the thick of the creation process. I am in my happy place when I have my Halloween tunes going, I’ve decorated a corner of the Spooky Little Apartment for the backdrop of a blog post and I’m making things happen, whether it’s making a recipe or writing about my favorite Halloween Instagrammers. It automatically makes me feel like it’s Halloween season even if it’s January and I’ve got months to go until October.

I also enjoy brainstorming. I carry my blog notebook with me everywhere I go so I can jot down ideas as I think of them. I think the most fun part of running a year-round Halloween blog is seeing how ingrained in the rest of the year I can get. Nothing makes me happier than, for example, wondering if there’s a Halloween workout playlist (there wasn’t so I made one) or what kind of Halloween school supplies is out there (lots if you know where to look!).


3. We share not only a love of Halloween, but also of writing, literature and music. Your Halloween beginnings and love of the holiday are scarily similar to my own! But what was it that made you decide to do a year-round Halloween blog after previously writing a music blog?

I had fun writing my music blog, but it didn’t excite me. I didn’t rush home from my full-time job every day to work on it. I totally do that now!

Spooky Little Halloween was started on a total whim and was the culmination of a lot of moments that pointed me towards a Halloween blog. About two years before I started it, I became obsessed with building the perfect Halloween playlist for the music blog, but my readers’ reaction was underwhelming. They weren’t obsessed with Halloween like me, and that was okay. I’d also been hosting my annual party for five years, and I kept thinking it would be fun to have a creative outlet to explore party themes and share my own parties since I was getting more serious about them.

The real-life moment that made me pull the trigger, though, was one night when I was organizing my Halloween board on Pinterest. I had hundreds of pins and was trying to sort them by topic – recipes, costume, parties. When I got to the point of having 12 separate boards just for Halloween I realized I had a problem…and that I was probably crazy enough to start a Halloween blog. Three weeks after that moment, I launched Spooky Little Halloween and never looked back.



Photo Courtesy of SpookyLittleHalloween.com

4. Having recently passed 10,000 followers on Instagram (congratulations!) What are your plans for SpookyLittleHalloween? Do you have any big goals for the future?

Thank you! I am still baffled by that number – 10,000 is a LOT of people! Halloween season is just around the corner, and I will be reopening my Killer Halloween Party e-course where I teach my students how to plan an amazing Halloween party by following just a few simple guidelines. I’m also teaching my course in person at Halloween & HauntFest Show in Dallas Aug. 18-19 which I’m excited about.

My Halloween season will include a lot of the same features my readers have come to love – my Halloween card exchange will be back, and I’ll be doing my 31 Days of Halloween emails again where I send one way to celebrate Halloween every day in October. And, of course, there will be some other surprises in there too!

I’m also hoping to release at least one Halloween party guide in time for Halloween. More of those will be coming in 2019, and I’m also hoping to start offering a print version of my quarterly Halloween zine next year.


5. The Halloween/Horror community is crazily welcoming and supportive, has there been a specific incident that most surprised you after embarking on this journey?

There have been so many things that have shocked and surprised me along this journey, but my favorite has to be the moment I realized this exact thing – how welcoming and supportive the Halloween and horror community is towards everyone.

When I was writing the music blog, I felt like I was in a rat race competing with a ton of people for the title of cool. That will discourage you and burn you out faster than anything. I have never once felt that with the online Halloween/horror community. Everyone is just unbelievably cool and kind and cheers everyone else on. It is truly incredible, and I’m honored to be a tiny part of that.



Photo Courtesy of SpookyLittleHalloween.com

Extra credit bonus question!
Being the introvert that I am, I am insanely inspired by your Instagram Stories, and how you are so natural, confident and engaging in front of the camera. How the bloody hell do you do it??

You just jump in and go for it! It gets easier, and no matter how stellar your brand is…people are always going to connect with other people better than a product. I think there is a LOT of value in showing your followers the person behind the account.

Growing up I was totally that girl who hated having to give presentations. I’d get up in front of the class and shake like a leaf because I’d have so much anxiety about not being perfect. I’d listen to my voice quiver as I spoke, and on the inside, I’d be SO mad at myself for feeling nervous. I’ve also been plagued by my fair share of self-esteem issues over the years which led to me getting hung up on things like how I looked or how I said certain things. I was always SO worried about being judged unfairly or not being understood.

But then I had a therapist who asked me, “So what?” and those two words changed my life. She challenged me to think about the worst-case scenario in situations where my anxiety got the better of me, and bit by bit I realized it wasn’t going to be the end of the world if I didn’t do things perfectly on the first try.

If I’m honest, I still feel like I’m terrible on camera. I rush through what I’m saying. I forget to breathe (esp. in person!). I say “um” a lot. I’m naturally soft spoken, and being “live” takes a LOT out of this fellow introvert. But…I also get a little better every time I do it, and it genuinely feels like I’m hanging out with my friends when I go live. And if I don’t get it perfect or someone judges me…what’s the worst that will actually happen? I stumble and show I’m human or I lose a couple followers – I can live with both of those things.
😃


Please let my readers know where they can find/follow you:

Find the blog at spookylittlehalloween.com

Instagram: @spookylittlehalloween

Facebook: facebook.com/spookylittlehalloween

Twitter: @spkyhalloween

Pinterest: pinterest.com/spkyhalloween


Thanks so much to Miranda for being my first "interview". Stay tuned in two weeks for my next guest...who will it be?!