This HalloweenRecord of the Week is a split single with Blondie and Brian Setzer's Bloodless Pharoahs. Though neither of the songs is Halloween themed, the saw blade shape of the record certainly fits our criteria as a horror record.
The Bloodless Pharoahs and Blondie connection isn't as random as it seems, the Bloodless Pharoahs record was produced by Blondie's Jimmy Destri.
Blondie X-Offender Picture Sleeve
Blondie X-Offender Picture Sleeve - Inner Sleeve
Brian Setzer Bloodless Pharoahs Picture Sleeve
Brian Setzer Bloodless Pharoahs Picture Sleeve - Inner Sleeve
Blondie X-Offender Saw Blade Record
Bloodless Pharoahs Saw Blade Record - B-Side
'til Blondie and Brian release another saw blade split
The Hex Dispensers are the perfect choice for our Halloween edition. This band out of Texas cranks out melodic punk themed in the horror and cloak and dagger genre. When you mix two of my favorite things (punk/horror) you are bound to catch my attention. Their music has a very Ramones feel to it, think Pet Sematary and you have a pretty good idea of their sound.
From Austin Texas the Hex Dispensers are Alex Cuervo, Rebecca Whitley and Alyse Mervosh.
They are another one of my random Lunchbox Records discoveries. Here's hoping they tour the southeast at some point.
The Pink Spiders are another pop-punk favorite of mine. I discovered them because of the aforementioned Ric Ocasek connection, but have remained a fan ever since.
At this point the Pink Spiders were Matt Friction, Jon Decious and Bob Ferrari. Currently Matt is the only one of the three still active in the band.
I also consider this a Halloween record of the week. If you've ever bought a Pink Spiders CD you may have seen the cool poster art enclosed, which is reminiscent of a fifties "giant insect" horror film.
In that same tradition is the tour poster from the current US jaunt. Unfortunately, the show that was headed to Charlotte was postponed at the last minute. Maybe next time.
Pink Spiders Tour Poster
If you'd like to hear more Pink Spiders click on the above link, they are currently streaming their three full-length albums on their website.
Little Razorblade Video
Pink Spiders Little Razorblade Picture Sleeve - Signed by the band
Pink Spiders Little Razorblade Picture Sleeve Back
Mitch Cooper is another artist that came out of Charlotte's indie scene in the early to mid eighties. Those of us that have fond memories of that time remember the amazing talent that passed through the area touching down in places like Viceroy park, The Pterodactyl and The Milestone.
I'm reminded of Donovan with a little more psychedelic thrown in when I play this record, both by the music in the grooves and the wonderful packaging. You just have to love the amazing label art. Beautiful.
Artwork by DEVO
Recorded at Down the Stairs
Mixed at Centipede Studios
Songs include: Always on the Horizon, The Tower of Life, Mind Connection
Another Record of the Week mid-week bonus, this time featuring Sheena Easton during her Sex Symbol period.
Shortly after her massive(mostly) success collaborating with Prince, Sheena returned with The Lover in Me. This is another single off that album, but far less successful, though I can assure you the picture sleeve turned more than a few heads.
One unique thing about this record is the B-Side. It's an instrumental of the A-Side. No idea why they did that instead of grabbing another track to promote from the album. Did they plan on all the other tracks becoming hits?
The Spongetones are a power-pop band with a heavy Beatles influence. These two songs appeared on the first Spongetones album which was not only reviewed in Rolling Stone, but was given a very favorable writeup.
During the early eighties these guys were huge stars locally. They still are very active in the area and play occasional shows, including an annual appearance at Charlotte's Festival in the Park. The Spongetones are always a blast if you catch them in concert, so if you ever get the chance to see them, take it.
The Spongetones are:
Jamie Hoover (guitars, vocals) Steve Stoeckel (bass, vocals, guitars) Rob Thorne (drums, percussion) Pat Walters (guitars, vocals and keyboards)
The video for Better Take it Easy
The video for You're the One
The Spongetones - Better Take it Easy - You're the One - Picture Sleeve
The Spongetones - Better Take it Easy - You're the One - Picture Sleeve Back
The Spongetones - Better Take it Easy - You're the One - Vinyl Single
The Spongetones - Better Take it Easy, You're the One - Vinyl Single
The Spongetones at the Double Door Inn in Charlotte
A Record of the Week mid-week bonus. This single represents one of Joan Jett's biggest hits and a mystery at the same time.
When Joan's first greatest hits record (Fit to be Tied) was released, this song was replaced by a live version. I thought that was odd at the time, but the mystery deepened when Blackheart released a two disc double album of Greatest Hits in 2010. Despite covering Joan's entire career, Little Liar was nowhere to be found. After being snubbed on two hits collections I'm beginning to think Joan doesn't like this song.
The Video for Little Liar
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Little Liar - Picture Sleeve
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Little Liar - Picture Sleeve Back
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Little Liar - Vinyl Single A-Side
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Little Liar - What Can I Do For You - Vinyl Single B-Side
Netflix streaming makes it easy to watch one horror film a day during Halloween season, it just doesn't make it easy to watch a GOOD horror film.
There is a lot of schlock on Netflix Streaming which is why I find it interesting how they've treated their customers. If you're going to raise the rates, shouldn't you give us the good stuff?
Oh well. Another rant, another time.
We begin this year's Horror 101 with Backwoods, a film that caught my eye because it starred Haylie Duff.
Haylie Duff grabs top billing
I have to admit I had very little hope for this film. The backwoods hillbillies attacking camping teens is probably the most overdone theme in horror. Without even trying, I've already watched three of those films during this years viewings, and they're pretty much all the same.
Right at the start the signs were bad. Haylie Duff looked really bored. She gets better as the film goes on, so apparently she was just in character. I've been to a lot of staff meetings, I get it.
Haylie Duff looking like she wishes she was somewhere else
The basic plot of the film is a group of employees from a tech firm head off into the woods for a little team building by camping and playing paintball. They get lost, of course, and end up getting directions from the worlds creepiest bartender.
Would you take directions from this guy?
In addition to the stopping at the worst bar on the planet, there are missing signs posted everywhere for the last couple that came through this area. Most of us would have already turned back by now, but not the tech geeks. They seem pretty oblivous to their surroundings.
Ignore the signs, nothing to see here
The teams arrive, split into two groups, set up camp, and the fun begins. As soon as they begin the paintball game it's obvious something is wrong. The maps they brought of the national park don't seem to match the area they're in. Hey, did that guy give us the wrong directions?
It gets worse. Before the blue and green teams can meet up to figure out what's going on, there is a lot of screaming and crying from the green team over the radio. Yep, they've met the backwoods boys.
Haylie Duff realizing this isn't going to be as fun as she thought
Up to this point it's pretty much what you'd expect, but I have to admit it takes a turn for the better. First of all the tech geeks fight back. Instead of disappearing one by one, they are rounded up and taken to the headquarters in the woods. Headquarters? Yes, I said headquarters. You see, these aren't the typical inbred monsters that appear in each of these films. These are crazy former military guys who are trying to protect themselves from unknown forces. That little twist makes it slightly more interesting and also explains how our heroes keep making bad decisions. After all, if I guy in a uniform drives up you're going to get in his car, right?
Haylie Duff realizes she's gotten in the wrong car
For those of you who really like these backwoods films, don't fret, there is one crazed old boy and his just as crazy momma. Apparently momma has linked up with the nutty military guys and they are searching for girlfriends for bubba. This doesn't bode well for Haylie.
It's not looking good for Haylie
I won't spoil the ending, but I will say the tech geeks give them quite a battle, and paintball guns can make for an effective weapon.
I love the climactic scene when it appears that our heroes are doomed. Troy Winbush, not phased at all by these losers, screams at them, "We don't give a damn about you backwoods ass people! You can't buy the pain I'll bring down on your crack ass." And he does.
Troy Winbush fights back
Overall, this film is pretty typical of the genre. You've seen most of it before, but I did like the military twist, even if it wasn't explored as well as it could have been.
Overall, probably not a film worth hunting down. Though it had potential exploring the military angle, it quickly veered back into common territory. That's too bad, eventually someone will get creative with one of these films. Too bad it hasn't happened yet.
As for the Haylie Duff fans out there, she gives a pretty good performance, and don't worry that she only makes it halfway through the film, you're going to see her all the way until the credits.