Posted on October 30th, 2013 No comments
The crispness of fall is in the air…the trees are turning gold and red…and you can’t pass a pumpkin patch without getting a chill. Yes, Halloween is here! And even though there are no gold and red trees here in South Florida, and the temperature today is in the 80s, it’s still the spookiest time of year.
It’s amazing how different things are during the holidays in the tropics. There are no trucks selling dried cornstalks and bailed hay road-side. Very few people even decorate outside for Halloween, usually because it’s too hot (or been raining too much, as we come to the tail end of the rainy season). On Halloween night, kids trick or treat wearing shorts and generally “light” costumes – no coat necessary.
And since South Florida is party central, 95% of the ladies dress in skimpy, sexy costumes…the one night of the year they can “get away with it”. The other nights, they just blame it on the booze. Halloween night they blame it on the Boooooos. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)
Of course I, being of unsound mind, go bananas with Halloween decorating. This year we turned the house into “Maniac Mansion”, and had our annual Halloween party in a retro-Maniac theme (I was disappointed no one came dressed as Ed Gein, the 1950’s serial killer). Still it was a blast, with tons of vintage-style decor, including two Black-Light rooms reminiscent of the early 70s. Along with Spider Cider, Texas Chain Saw Chili, and Rob Zombie Wieners, we served such perfect exotic cocktails as Zombies, Banana Banshees and Dead 77’s (French 77’s with a few drops of red food coloring), served in old-school angry Tiki mugs.
After Halloween winds down, it will be full steam ahead into Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve! Cheers!
-Tiki Chris, reporting from the graveyard at Tiki Lounge Talk.
Looking for a fast, fun read for the Halloween season? Check out my book, “How to Kill Vampires because they are unnatural jerks” available for instant download at Amazon.com!
Posted on October 15th, 2013 No comments
There are some vintage horror movies that are so obviously a “must see” that it seems silly to write about them on a retro blounge, but I will make an exception for The Exorcist. Why? Because it’s THAT GOOD, and if you haven’t seen it, you…well, you must see it.
(Don’t worry…No spoilers, just some references to the things you’ve already seen in pop culture even if you’ve never seen the movie.)
What: The Exorcist is a psychological horror movie centered around a young girl who becomes possessed by a demon. A priest – one who has recently questioned his faith, is asked to help the girl. At first he believes her outbursts and episodes are psychotic. Then he sees her head twist all the way around and it’s full steam ahead from their.
That’s the story in a nutshell, but not the reason to watch this flick. Reasons to watch it include the fact that it was the first mainstream horror movie to realistically show a child possessed by a demon, cursing, convulsing, spewing green vomit in the face of a priest. Where most horror movies of the time (or before) relied on monsters, ghosts, or murderers for effect, this movie took an entirely realistic approach to horror, capitalizing on an evil you never really even see (as it is manifested in the girl). Remember, movie-goers in 1973 weren’t used to much cursing, blood or psychological horror. They were used to Hammer films with Christopher Lee as Dracula (although great, not on the same level as this) and had just recently been exposed to Night of the Living Dead, which was shot in black and white. Now audiences were seeing a child turn into a demon, in full color, cursing like the devil himself, acting out in horrific ways (I don’t want to give them away) with brutality and absolute…well, horror. To this day, this movie remains one of the most difficult to watch because of its realism.
Why: Where as movies like The Woman in Black are creepy, Paranormal Activity is jump-out-of-your-skin scary, and House of 1000 Corpses is grossly bloody and nerve-shredding, The Exorcist is all of those combined. The cinematography is impeccable, creating an atmosphere of mental anguish and unease that sucks you in and keeps you there. The acting is, of course, incredible, and some of the reactions were real – including the reaction by Father Karras when he gets pelted in the face with vomit (it was supposed to hit his chest!). The movie is a masterpiece of suspense and horror, period.
Beyond that, it’s hailed as one of (and often the) best movies of all time. Adjusted for inflation, it is Warner Bros’ highest grossing movie of all time.
My Take: I’ve seen this move at least two dozen times. I first saw it when I was around 12, edited for TV, and even with the cursing and the more explicit scenes cut it still left a last impression. When I saw it uncut as a teenager, I found myself twinging during the scene with the girl and the cross (won’t spoil it here) and still do today. The “version you’ve never seen” that was re-released a few years ago adds a few scenes that make the movie even sicker.
Food and Booze: I usually give recommendations for dinner with your movie, but for this one, forget it. You won’t be able to keep anything down. If anything, have some pea soup.
Warning: Clip is R rated.
-Tiki Chris P. reporting from the screaming room – I mean the screening room – at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar
Posted on October 8th, 2013 2 comments
Ok, that’s a bold statement and of course, a matter of this cat’s opinion. But if you want some truly spooky, scary, screw-with-your-head for weeks horror movies, here are 10 of the best from the pre-Slasher flick era.
Let’s start off by not including some of the obvious: The original Dracula, Frankenstein, The Werewolf, The Blob, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. These (and many others like them) are in a class by themselves, and would fill up the top 10 list easily. This list is for some of the not-so-obvious selections that are sure to please.
10. Mad House, Vincent Price, 1975 – Filmed in the 60’s Hammer style, this film is great on two levels: It’s a maniac killer horror flick, and it’s making fun of the genre without you even knowing it. It’s not a comedy…but the in jokes are a’plenty. For instance: Using elaborate, Victorian candelabras in a house that obviously has electricity; Peter Cushing showing up at a costume party as Dracula; and Price basically playing “himself” in the role of the actor who plays Dr. Death. A real treat.
9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (The original, 1974) – Low-budget horror at its best. Truly scary, because the low budget made it look so real. From the over-exposed film to the dark shots inside the house, this film cinematically gets under your skin and into your head. There is very little blood, yet you feel as though you are the one being chased and ripped to shreds with a chainsaw. The creepiness of the characters is realistic and absurd at the same time…qualities that are lost on higher-budget, slickly made films that rely on special effects and lots of blood. By the way…some of the stuff looks so real, because it is real…the low budget didn’t allow for the producers to rent plastic bones, so they used real ones. Yep. Look it up.
8. The Haunting (the original, 1963) Shot in black and white for that old, Noir style to show through, this film is possibly one of the greatest ghost stories ever put on film. Simple tactics like unintelligible voices in the night and mysterious visions of face in the wall will seep into your nightmares and make your skin crawl. Line that delivers the biggest chill: “If you’re over there…who’s hand was I holding??”
7. The Exorcist (the first one, 1973) – I had considered leaving this off the list and grouping it with Dracula, et al; but knowing that younger generations have not been exposed to this 2-hour torture session made me change my mind. The Exorcist has been hailed as one of, if not the best horror movie of time, a ground-breaking movie in both its raw horror and special effects. And for good reason: Imagine yourself in 1973, in a time when curse words weren’t allowed on ANY TV, and most horror films were still being made in the same 1950’s and 60’s classic format. Here comes a movie that shows a little girl possessed by the devil, cursing, screaming sexually-explicit comments to a priest, spewing green vomit and stabbing herself with a crucifix in…well, just see the movie. It’s shocking even today, and what’s more, it’s well written and very well acted. The movie has a great rhythm too, where the horror scenes ebb and flow perfectly to keep you surprised and in suspense.
6. The Others, 2001 (Nichole Kidman) – A newer movie, yes, but certainly made in the classic style of ghost movies. Perfect lighting and creepy characters add to the atmosphere of this flick. Kidman’s acting is perfect for the role, and the movie keeps you guessing until the last few minutes. It is obvious that the director was inspired by the number one movie on this list, as he has borrowed some elements and ambiance from that flick, down to a very near…but somewhat reversed seance (you’ll have to watch both movies to know what I’m talking about).
5. Night of the Living Dead (the original, 1968) Another that may have made the “In its own category” list, but I decided to add it here because there have been so many remakes and sequels. The newer versions may be bloodier and have better effects, but for pure creepy factor (from both the dead and the living), the original is the one. Shot in black and white, it somehow seems more real than the color versions. Add to that, this movie was shot during the height of the civil rights struggle, and has a black man as the lead character, interacting with a young white girl, and older white man, and of course, zombies. The interactions and the courage of the man are classic.
4. The House on Haunted Hill, 1959 (Vincent Price) – I should probably list all Vincent Price movies as “must see”, but I’m sticking to 10 here. This is one of the creepiest horror movies ever, and just when you think it’s turned into something corny and poorly made, it comes back at you with a fantastic twist. Black and white and cool all over.
3. The Uninvited, 1944 – The scariest and saddest classic haunted house/ghost story, on par with number one on this list. To have a truly scary movie, you need a truly spooky haunted house (how about a gothic mansion on the English coast?) and a sad, depressing story for the ghost (I won’t give that away). Add to it great acting, cool effects and a tall cliff, and you’ve got a winner.
2. The Shining, Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, 1980 – Stanley Kubrick’s mind-screwing masterpiece. When you watch this movie for the first time, you think, “wow, that was scary, and a little confusing. I wonder what … meant,” and you go about your business. Days, months, even years later your nightmares are filled with bloody twins and REDRUM and you go back and watch the movie over and over to find out just what it is that makes it so incredibly haunting, mystifying, and downright terrifying. Well, I won’t give it away here. You’ll have to learn for yourself. Suffice to say, Kubrick knew exactly what he was doing, spent over a year editing the movie himself, and snuck in zillions of little bits in the sets, dialog and soundtrack that are made to totally screw with your head. For me, it meant 25 years of watching the movie over and over again, slow mo, fast forward, until I started catching some of the things that make it so surreal. Googling the movie reveals that hundreds of others have done the same thing, and have gone as far as publishing books on it. Crazy stuff. Watch the movie first, if you’ve never seen it, then look it up online. Your mind will by fully blown.
1. The Changeling, George C. Scott, 1980 – The other nine movies in this list can go in any order, but for me and millions of other, The Changeling is the quintessential ghost story. Like The Exorcist, the plot centers around a young child – one who has been dead for over 70 years, and haunts his old home in Seattle, WA. A Gothic style house with many secrets, strange banging every morning at exactly six a.m., visions in the tub and the absolutely creepiest, scariest, rip your heart out and your mind to shreds spirit voice ever recorded on tape set up a ghost story like no other. The iconic scene where the red ball bounces down the stairs has been copied or hailed to in a dozen other films. The seance scene is so freaky, so real, that it inspired two generations of film makers and ghost hunters. In fact, it is this seance scene that is nearly duplicated (although not quite) in The Others. The film also features Scott’s wife, Trish Van Devere, conjuring chemistry which adds to the realism. This was also one of Melvin Douglass’ last films.
Well kids, that’s the list. Plenty of time to watch them all before Halloween. As a bonus, I’ll rattle off a list of must sees in addition to the ten.
Mark of the DevilChristine
House of Wax
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Friday The 13th
The Haunting of Hill House
House of 1000 Corpses
My Bloody Valentine
Bucket of Blood
Any Dracula movie with Christopher Lee
The Vampire Lovers
The Woman in Black
-Boo, from Tiki Chris!
Posted on August 30th, 2013 No comments
If you dig cool stuff from the past, then you probably dig Dracula movies, BW vampire flicks and other assorted old Horror stuff. Something that has always been a favorite vintage “oddity” of mine has been the turn of the century Vampire Killing Kit.
I first saw one in the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in St. Augustine, FL about 30 years ago. I thought it was crazy fantabulous, and always wanted one for myself.
What is a Vampire Killing Kit?
A box or satchel filled with the tools necessary to kill a vampire. They were originally made (according to Ripley’s) in the late 19th Century, for American tourists traveling to Transylvania (after the book “DRACULA” became an international hit). They usually contained a pistol, vials of holy water and garlic oil, a crucifix, and of course a wooden stake. Some were a little more elaborate with dental tools for removing the vampire’s fangs, a dagger, and something called “secret serum” which was supposed to heal vampire bites.
This new site showcases the new, vintage-style Vampire Killing Kits created by CRYSTOBAL, self-proclaimed vampire hunter and Gothic artist. CRYSTOBAL and I go back a long way…in fact, I have a few of his kits that he’s made over the years as part of my collection of pop culture junk!
CRYSTOBAL has been making these kits for years, and has created his own style – “modern primitive” – for his kits. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals have attempted to copy his style and take credit for resurrecting the vampire killing kit craze. But dig, he is the real deal.
Check out the site. It’s filled with photos of his work, and information on the history of the kits. Our book, “How to Kill Vampires because they are unnatural jerks” is also available through the site. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you…I wrote another book, with CRYSTOBAL as the source, called “How to Kill Vampires because they are unnatural jerks”. It’s pretty cool, a little funny and very artistic. Check it out!
-Tiki Chris P. reporting from the Halloween shop down the street from Tiki Lounge Talk
Posted on March 9th, 2012 2 comments
As most of you mix-o-matic kats and shaker shakin’ kittens know, there’s a biz-zillion ways to combo rums, fruit juices and ice to make a groovy Tropical Cocktail. Some take time, skill and a bankroll to create, some are easy and cheap, and if done right, all are really good.
The Voodoo Cooler
is a drink that you can probably whip together with stuff you usually have laying around the bar, so you can have a tropical cocktail without taking a trip to the liquor store.
Shake everything up in a shaker with ice, and pour into the coolest looking Tiki mug you can find. Garnish with fresh orange and pineapple, a cherry, and an umbrella. This drink is a little sweeter than most, but it’s refreshing and has a real “islandy” taste.
If you wanna go nutz…
Put this all in a blender with ice and do a frozen job, then top with a jigger of 151. Woo hoo! Key West style, baby!
-Tiki Chris reporting from the outdoor bar on the lanai, in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida