Wednesday, October 31, 2018

#305 - Angels Have No Thought of Ever Returning You

How much do you really know about Halloween!
   Halloween.  You either love it...or you hate it.  There isn't much middle ground on this holiday.  It's not like Arbor Day for people younger than 96 years old or Diwalli for non-Hindus.  It can't come and go without you having realized that it is already past.  No...this one permeates everything around you for weeks.  It sticks to your life from October 1st through the rest of the month just like the the Butterfingers that will stick to your teeth on October 31st after the kids pass out from the sugar crash.

   If you don't like it...maybe join the war that is apparently raging in parts of the US.

   I was never a big fan of the campy, commercialized version of Halloween until I had children.  But, I have always been a fan of the gloomy and of the macabre.

   I prefer a good horror movie to just about any other genre most days of the week.  I've always had a strong fascination for ghost stories and haunted houses and vampires.  It all began with werewolves a few months after I turned 6 years old.
Click the link.  Or I'm gonna
rip your throat out.  With my teeth.

   Just a few days ago I talked about the life-long influence that a certain Michael J. Fox movie had on me as a child back in 1985.  A couple of months down the road, I would come across another of his films that would leave a mark on me as well.

   Teen Wolf.

   This absolutely laughable movie came out in theaters just shy of two months after Back to The Future released.  It starred Fox as an awkward high school student named Marty McF...I mean, Scott Howard...that learns he is actually a werewolf.

   I sincerely hope you weren't expecting the plot of a mid-80's movie named Teen Wolf to be any deeper than that.

   But, terrible as it was, you can never deny the impact that a strong star presence can have on a film.  Michael J. Fox's Teen Wolf debuted as Number 2 film in America behind...

   ...Michael J. Fox's number 1 film, Back to the Future.

   Throughout the course of the movie, you see how this newfound "fame" changes Marty McF...I mean Scott Howard...and causes him to lose sight of who he really is.  He begins to shun his friends, his love interest, his studies...everything...to fall in line with the IT crowd that, until that point, had nothing to do with him.

   A major contributor to the reputation that the Wolf creates for Scott is that the metamorphosis causes him to attain an NBA caliber basketball ability.  That's the gist of the movie.  Nothing more.  I'm kinda sorry I even brought it up now.

   The terrible music, the terrible acting, the terrible script, the terrible effects...none of it mattered.  Michael P. Keaton, aka Marty McFly, was now also Scott Howard and he could turn into a werewolf.  Sign me up...I'm in.
Nope

   I remember riding in the backseat of some beat up old car one night as a 6 or 7 year old.  I remember gnarling my fingers tightly as if in excruciating pain, baring my teeth and staring wild eyed without blinking at the full moon through the back window.  I could feel the changes rippling through my skin, the fur bursting forth from my cheeks and the fangs descending and sharpening to a razor's edge.

   Sadly, it was all for naught.  I never grew the fur, or the teeth.  I never ate live chickens and howled at the moon.  Never bit into a beer can with the cool kids.  Never dunked a basketball.  I outgrew the silly imaginations of "becoming" and moved on to scarier things.

   Teen Wolf begat "The Twilight Zone" begat "Nightmare on Elm Street" begat "Scream" begat "____ of the Living Dead".  There are innumerable entries omitted from that lineage but...you get the picture.  I can trace my love of all things horror back to that one doltish flick from my childhood.

   And before we move on to the song for today (which, as usual, has NOTHING to do with my rantings thus far), I want to take a second to point out an offshoot of Teen Wolf that probably wouldn't fit anywhere else in this project.  If I don't include it now, for the sake of posterity, I doubt that I ever will otherwise.

   In the spring after Back to the Future and Teen Wolf released a new tv show made its way to the airwaves.  It was a series that would last a handful of years and go through 3 name changes before finally ending without a finale in the early 90's.  And, it was a series that would help to catapult a young 80's heartthrob towards the top (I know...I know...I feel as dirty typing heartthrob it as you do reading it.  I still can't believe that's what we called young, good-looking celebrities back then.....ugghhh).
Is this your idea of a link?
No. this is.

   A couple of years into the series run, that young actor was given the role of Scott Howard's cousin, Todd Howard, in the sequel to Teen Wolf aptly titled, Teen Wolf Too.  I know...I know.

   Todd isn't a high school student like his cousin.  He's a college student.  The differences end there.

   I sincerely hope you weren't expecting the plot of a late 80's sequel named Teen Wolf Too to be any deeper than that.

   But, this movie, along with the Valerie...I mean, Valerie's Family...I mean, The Hogans...I mean, The Hogan Family...led me to be an early fan of Jason Bateman.  He was the B-Team Michael J. Fox.

   It's strange the trajectory that their careers both took.  Micheal J. Fox steamrolled his success into an extensive movie career but then was forced to largely exit the acting arena in the early 2000's due to his Parkinson's diagnosis.  Jason Batemen, on the other hand, disappeared almost entirely in the 90's until his breakout success on one of the funniest tv shows of all time, Arrested Development, in the early 2000's.

   Neither here nor there and I've definitely rambled enough.  I suppose it's time to unveil the only song there will ever be for this project on a Halloween.

   I know little to nothing about this song and only came across it a few years ago.  But it is utterly terrifying to me.

   This song is the auditory equivalent of walking through a dark room in a creepy old house you've never been to before and bumping face first into a curio cabinet full of porcelain dolls that you couldn't see soon enough to avoid.


   This song is Cujo trying to get in the car, bleeding and growling.  It's Jack Nicholson in the old black and white photo at the end of The Shining.  It's Johnny Depp getting sucked into the bed because he made the mistake of having a Nightmare on Elm Street.

   It's every single scary part of the absolutely wonderful new Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House.
Come get your lyrics...if you dare...
   One last thing before moving on...and it might be important to you so please read before proceeding.  I don't personally buy into the lore of this song's history but you might.

   According to Wikipedia, today's song (originally titled in Hungarian as Szomorú vasárnap), and also known as the "Hungarian Suicide Song", is a popular song composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress and published in 1933.  The song went through several iterations before becoming today's entry.


Gloomy Sunday (1941)
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
   According to urban legend, the song is said to have been linked to a plethora of strange suicides, most notably, the song's own composer in 1968.  Interested parties can find quite a bit of consolidated info correlating these claims by checking out the Snopes article here.  According to Snopes, the status of the claim is "Undetermined".  If Snopes isn't your thing, you can try this story from MentalFloss instead.

   The lyrics of the song, as we know it today, vary quite a bit from the original.  And while the history of this song's insidious past might be bunk...you can't shake the eerie feelings that the song imbues.

   Listen at your own risk...


   If you're feeling particularly froggy, you can give this next version a try.  I didn't make it through maybe half of the song before I had to move on.  I'll stick with the Billie Holiday version.


   This next one could literally be the exact same song as the last video I shared above.  I'll never know because I'm not listening to it either.  As the illustrious Michael Scott once said, "I'm not superstitious but...I am...a little stitious."  

   If you think you're somehow familiar with this song but you're not exactly sure how...I'll bet it was from here...


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