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October 2009 - Chris Schuette

Scary At The Time

October 26, 2009 | By | 6 Comments

I love the month of October, mainly because I love Halloween and the accompanying sugar rush.  I was thinking about some of the scariest movies I saw as a kid.  Since I was born in 1970, most of these movies are from roughly 1975-1980. This begs the obvious question: where were my parents when I was watching these??  If my memory is accurate, I’m pretty sure Mom and Dad were out disco dancing with Antonio Fargas and Shelly Hack.  Admittedly, I saw some of these films several years after they were released, but you get the idea.

The following ten films are listed in no particular order and I’ve avoided spoilers. Of course, I posess only a vague awareness of what a “spoiler” is, so this oughtta be good.

10. The Sentinel (1977):  A young fashion model (hey, it was the 1970s) learns that her New York City apartment building is harboring a terrible non-plumbing-related secret.  Hilarity ensues, of course. 

 

9. Burnt Offerings (1976):  Oh Man.  This is probably the scariest haunted house movie I have ever seen.  Perfectly cast with the über-creepy Karen Black and an equally frightening Oliver Reed (his character wasn’t scary; I’m just very frightened of Oliver Reed.)  Oh, and don’t forget that grinning evil chauffeur.  And get this, Bette Davis is in this movie!  THE Bette Davis!  This is a great movie to watch with the lights off and it has held up surprisingly well.

8. The Changeling (1980):  This film starred George C. Scott, but surprisingly was NOT a comedy!  I don’t remember much about the plot, but I recall a scary old-timey wheelchair and a creepy kid.  That’s good enough for me.

7. The Shining (1980):  I know everyone cites this movie with Jack Nicholson playing the role of axe aficionado, Jack Torrance, but I first became aware of this movie via the film trailer while sitting in a darkened theater.  You know, the simple shot of the elevator doors with the eerie music.  All of a sudden a literal torrent of blood comes pouring from the elevators and toward the camera.  Pretty freaky, especially for a little kid.  Wait a minute, “torrent of blood”…”Jack Torrance.”  Hey, that’s weird.

 

6. Suspiria (1977):  OK, I actually saw this film several years after it was released, but seriously, there is absolutely no reason that a kid should watch this movie.  It is a brutal, moody, suspenseful and incredibly disturbing film about a coven of witches who run a ballet school in Germany.  Known for it’s use of very bright colors (yes, they used a LOT of red,) but if you ask me, the striking soundtrack by Goblin totally made the film.  Oh, and the US trailer for this film is incredibly lame, but here you go.

 

5. The Spell (1977):  I didn’t actually see this made-for-TV movie which aired on ABC in its entirety.  It is probably best remembered for starring a very young Helen Hunt. Apparently, she’s an actress, or something.  Oh, and Lee Grant was in it!  You kids loves the Lee Grant!  The one scene I remember seeing was with this woman walking down the stairs when all of a sudden she starts shaking, her eyes start bulging and smoke comes out of her ears.  Yeah, I didn’t sleep for two weeks after seeing this.  I don’t have a clip, but special thanks to Kindertrauma.com for the freaky pic.

spell1

4. Phantasm (1979):  This is the one with the spooky undertaker known only as “The Tall Man,” who was played very effectively by Angus Scrimm.  It also had these deadly flying silver balls.  There were also scary little jawa-looking guys who would just as soon kill you as sell you an R2 unit with a bad motivator.  The plot of the movie didn’t make any sense to me, but that didn’t matter.  I actually saw this film recently, but it wasn’t nearly as scary as I remembered.

 

3. Race With The Devil (1975):  In hindsight, not all that scary, but it spooked me back in the day.  This film is about two couples in a large RV who stumble upon a Satanic ritual and wind up being chased across the Southwestern US by the cultists. Geez, what was with all of the Satanic cult movies back then?

 

2. Tourist Trap (1979):  At the time, this movie was overshadowed by films like Halloween and Friday the 13th.  But is you ask me this film is scarier for one simple reason:  creepy mannequins.  Oh and the movie also features (gasp!) Chuck Connors!  Chhhuuuuccckkk Connnnneeeeerrrrs!  (Sorry, that sounded scarier in my head.)

 

1. Friday The 13th:  This is the original slasher flick…as long as you don’t count all the ones that came before it.  OK, maybe it wasn’t that original, but it was still the prototypical scary movie to us pasty suburban kids for years.  Well, to those of us who used words like “prototypical” anyway.

 

How about you guys?  No matter when you were born; what were the earliest scary movies you all remember?  Anyone?

Piano In The Corner 2

October 14, 2009 | By | No Comments

PianoHere is another bit of “Piano In The Corner” music for your dining and dancing pleasure.  As I said before, I occasionally like to just sit down at the piano, hit the record button and see what happens.  Usually what happens is in the key of G, however, this one is is E minor.  I know,  I know; you’re probably thinking that all the cool kids record their spontaneous solo piano compositions in E minor, so why did I feel the need to follow the crowd.  Well, you got me.  I don’t have an answer for you.  Maybe, I was just showing off for the dogs.  They love that stuff.

Man, where was going with this?

Oh yeah, so it’s a little  piece (2:36m) I recorded the other night after Wifey turned in a little early.  It’s pretty mellow, ’cause I’m such a mellow guy.

It contains no banjos…repeat: NO banjos.

Wink Woolery

October 7, 2009 | By | No Comments

Chuck WooleryWink MartindaleEvery so often, I am hired to write a piece of music that requires, shall we say, “extra cheese.”  In this case, I was hired to write some “game show” music for a local radio show.  Well, since my history of rotting my childhood brain with the help of television is a matter of public record, I was very willing to take on the challenge.

The first thing I knew is that the piece needed bongos…FRANTIC bongos.  They wound up a little buried in the mix, but they are there, believe you me!  I also knew it needed trumpet hits and a tuba, mainly because every musician will tell you that “Tuba = Funny.”  (Also, the square root of trumpets is piano…wait, that can’t be right.)  The melody is carried by vibes and a very poor quality digital piano patch. Remember, whenever something sounds bad, it’s “deliberately cheesy!” Or something.

After I got it sounding like a 70s Game Show, I needed to give it a name.  I decided to call the piece “Wink Woolery,” after famous game show hosts and plastic hair aficionados Wink Martindale and Chuck Woolery.  It’s a short piece, only 57 seconds, but it’s supposed to be.  It is also written to be loopable, in case you don’t ever want it to stop.

But at some point, please, for the love of God, make it stop.  Enjoy!

Red Wing-ing It

October 5, 2009 | By | No Comments

MehPatty & I went to Red Wing, MN over the weekend.  No, we weren’t there to look at all the vintage photos of Charles Nelson Reilly.  We actually went down to load up on small town charm and to look at antiques.  Trust me, if you ever dreamed of getting into a slap-fight with a cranky octogenarian over an early-20th century Victrola, Red Wing is the place for you!  (I’ll wait while you Google that entire sentence.)

I’m not really that into antiques, but Patty is looking for a new Dining Room table, and I am totally trying to impress her with my vast knowledge of tables, TV trays and certain ledges.  Truthfully, the only thing I know about antique tables is that napping on them is strictly and abruptly frowned-upon…with actual frowning…plus some glowering  (although, I think that clerk was just showing off. )  We didn’t find a table, but Patty found some sweet picture frames and a really boss old camera.  Check it out:

Perhaps the most disturbing thing that I found, other than the racy pictures of Ernest Borgnine,

WWEBD?

WWEBD?

was this old action figure carrying case (made of genuine plastic, so don’t settle for imitations.)
*cough* Rip-off! *cough*

*cough* Rip-off! *cough*

Damn Dirty Ape, I guess.Pardon my casual, socially-acceptable swearing, but what the hell is “Star World??”  I’ll let all of the hardcore Star Wars fans out there check out this particular bit of lawsuit-fodder, but I have to ask, “What’s with the Fabio Space Monkey?”
All in all, it was nice quick little trip out of town.  The weather was lousy, but we didn’t care; because the most important thing is that…
…I’m sorry, but is  “Darth Vader” wearing an evil skating outfit??

Whatthe?

Never mind, I’d better go sleep this off.

Piano In The Corner

October 1, 2009 | By | One Comment

Photo Taken by Tom Dunn

Photo Taken by Tom Dunn

Every once in awhile, I’ll just sit down at the piano in our Family Room and start playing.  And sometimes, I’ll start recording in the hopes of capturing something amazingly awesome.  No such event occurred last night, but I still like the little two minute piece I’m posting today.  It’s just me improvising through a simple progression in the key of G.  Nothing fancy, but still a nice way to end the day.

I plan on posting more of this kind of extemporaneous stuff if the mood strikes me…or if people seem to like it!

I also have an accordion around here somewhere, but I’ll warn you before I start playing that.[powerpress]