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Archive for September, 2014

Recurring Nightmare

I watched the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy a few months ago, and it made me remember the first time I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was probably about nine years old and spending the night at my friend’s house. My parents had a strict “no rated-R movies” policy, but my friend’s mom was more lenient, so naturally we rented horror flicks every time I stayed over.

And this one was by far the most gory, disturbing thing I’d ever seen.

I was so terrified that I actually went home early. I told my mom I had a stomachache, but in the car she was like, “Hmm. You watched something scary, didn’t you?” And although I hardly slept for the next few nights, I was addicted. In fact, the very next time I spent the night with my friend, we rented it again.

Anyway, here are some things I learned while watching Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy.

1. The original story idea was inspired by an ACTUAL event. Wes Craven read an article about a Southeast Asian man who was terrified of sleeping and refused sleep medication. When the man finally fell asleep, he ended up dead! The autopsy showed no reason for his death, so they had to chalk it up to Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome. Now that’s scary.

2. Freddy had a (dismally awful) “Greatest Hits” album (click here for a track).

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3. The second film in the franchise was (deliberately) riddled with homosexual undertones. (I bet this will be much more clear to me watching it now as an adult.)

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4. Freddy had his own TV show for a short time called Freddy’s Nightmares.

 

The documentary is very well-made, and I highly recommend it even for people who haven’t seen (or didn’t like) all the NOES movies. It is extremely thorough and offers lots of reminiscences by the actors involved, plus behind-the-scenes information about the effect the films’ success had on their production company, New Line Cinema, and on the horror film industry in general.

And let us not underestimate how huge the “Freddy Krueger Phenomenon” was in the 80s. Some merchandise made in honor of the films included children’s pajamas (oh the irony!) and the Chest of Souls (from the fourth sequel), pictured below.

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Coolest snow globe ever.

Written in red at the bottom: "All violators' tires will be slashed."

Written in red at the bottom: “All violators’ tires will be slashed.”

In fact, there’s so much Freddy fare out there, it makes me wonder why they never marketed the “I’m Your Boyfriend Now” phone. Ha.

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Ghostly Shadows

Check out the hauntingly beautiful long-exposure photography of Alexey Titarenko.

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His work captures the “ghosts” of post-Soviet Russia perfectly. But to me these images are striking even devoid of context. Their sublime creepiness stands alone.

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All photography by Alexey Titarenko. 

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A (cruel!) Jimmy Kimmel segment in which he gets parents to tell their kids that all their Halloween candy has been eaten.

 

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Scary-oke Rooms

Speaking of music, the Highball, a private-room karaoke venue in Austin, Texas, recently underwent a redesign that resulted in some seriously cool, spooky theme rooms.

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The Red Room, inspired by the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks.

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The Midnight Manor, for that old-school haunted house vibe.

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The Freak Room.

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“The Inferno, which I think we can all agree is just a fancy way of saying the Satan Room.”  -Meredith Borders (in this article)

And the awesome decor is not just for Halloween; these rooms will be “keepin’ it creepy” year-round. Plus the Highball’s lobby pays homage to The Shining! Check out the rug, tricycle, and mural.

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Photos from the Highball Facebook page.

 

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Halloween Playlist

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 5.45.22 PMI don’t know what it’s like where you are, but as I write this post here in New York, the sky is overcast, there’s some cool 65-degree air seeping in through the window, and I can even see some dead leaves scattered in the street outside. Tuesday the 23rd is the Autumnal Equinox (the first “official” day of the season, astronomically), and it sure feels like it’s coming.

I’ve decided it’s the perfect day to start decorating for Halloween, a seemingly simple task that I treat like a sacred ritual. I give my home a thorough cleaning and clear every surface (shelves, window sills, table tops) in preparation for its incoming holiday display. Then we bring down the boxes in the closet marked “Halloween decor” and lay out their contents on the floor, organizing items into groups until we decide which cluster to put where. We draw out this whole process into a three-hour event involving ceremonial foods, lit candles, and sometimes a silent scary movie playing on DVD.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 5.48.46 PMOne absolutely essential part of this custom is the music. Fall decorating is the perfect time to listen to songs that remind me of cooler weather, of past Halloweens, and of anything creepy. So I make a mix CD every year to set the mood for the season. And this year I have taken the best of those CDs and created an “Ultimate Halloween Playlist” for you, my dear readers. It’s a collection of songs that either loosely or directly reference some aspect of fall and its magic: songs about ghosts and witches, songs that just have an eerie tone, some familiar classics, some obscure weird tracks, and a few creepy instrumentals. Consider it a mixed bag of pure Halloween ear candy.

Here’s the link to your online playlist. Just go there and choose the “Play All” option on the upper left. You don’t have to sign up for Grooveshark to listen to it.

Enjoy! And welcome to fall!

Photos by Photo Amy on Flickr.

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I Like Turtles

A 7-minute compilation of Halloween news bloopers. Parts of it had me rolling. I love all these channels for getting into the spirit.

Highlights, in order of appearance:

  • The Erebus Haunted Attraction looks like a place I need to go.
  • “They do not pay me enough!”
  • Gotta love the newscaster who cracks up at the zombie interview.
  • Indeed, some kids do “want the candy” more than others.
  • “I LIKE TURTLES.”
  • The polar bear segment, with its (literal) “mic drop,” begs the question: Why exactly was he throwing a pumpkin into that pond in the first place?
  • Any news program that airs a middle-aged man wearing a pumpkin mask and black spandex dancing to “Ghostbusters” is a news program I wanna watch. 🙂

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Woodlawn Cemetery

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Woodlawn Cemetery, in the Bronx, New York, is the final resting place for over 300,000 deceased, including Duke Ellington and Herman Melville. It was founded in 1863 and has more mausoleums than any other cemetery in the United States. And it’s about 7 miles north of my apartment.

We took a walking tour there over the weekend. The cemetery is beautiful and grand, in the “garden style” of Mount Auburn. And though it is large, it somehow feels like a hidden gem … a peaceful, Victorian-era haven in the middle of a crowded urban area. Here are some photos I took of the grounds.

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Stephen Rogers, Freemason (apparently).

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Perfect place for a spiderweb.

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The Belmont mausoleum was modeled after a chapel in France.

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Bronze statue of woman with her arms outstretched in grief.

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Mausoleum with R2D2-style architecture.

 

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