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  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and House of 1000 Corpses for Mod Movie Monday!

    Posted on September 21st, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 4 comments

    house-chainsaw-postersContinuing our Creature Double Feature series from now until Halloween…Here’s two of the most horrific films ever made:

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974

    and

    House of 1000 Corpses, 2003

    The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was done on a shoestring budget by a group of mostly inexperienced film makers who wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before 1974: A truly gruesome horror film. Because of the low budget and other factors…like the type of film they got cheap, the fact that the couldn’t afford plastic prop bones and were trying to get a PG rating…the film turned out to be an extremely realistic, disturbing movie with visuals that will stick in your brain for years.

    Texast Chainsaw Massacre

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    House of 1000 Corpses is Rob Zombie’s ode to Chainsaw. Using digital technology and an additional 25 years of film-making expertise, he recreated the style right down to the over-exposed daylight scenes and realistically insane characters…just  not with a low budget. Chainsaw was over-the-top and disturbing in 1974…Corpses blows by it without any stops, quintupling the gore, blood, insanity and fantasy in such a realistic way you’ll be believing in monsters by the end.

    House of 1000 Corpses

    House of 1000 Corpses

    There are more similarities between these two movies than just the style. Chainsaw is about a group of young friends traveling through Texas that get unintentionally drawn into world of a family of insane, inbred wackadoos that torture, kill, etc etc. Corpses is about a group of young friends traveling to discover the truth behind the legend of famed murderer, who unintentionally get drawn into…ok, you get the picture. The main difference between the two is how Zombie went all out, with dead cheerleaders, carnival freaks, intense violence and gallons of blood, whereas Chainsaw is more focused, more direct and down to earth about the horrors.

    Texast Chainsaw Massacre

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    Some interesting notes on Chainsaw: Because of the low budge the film makers couldn’t afford plastic prop skeletons. Instead, they bought real human skeletons and bones from India. There are also a lot of animal bones, feathers, etc. in the film. These are real. They acquired remains from animal shelters and burned the carcasses in the back yard where they were filming. The black cloud of smoke and the stench caused the sheriff to close off the highway near the filming location, and almost got the film closed down with it. Oh, and by the way…the money used to make this film was basically laundered from the profits of Deep Throat. Ain’t life crazy?

    thetexaschainsawbench

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    My take: I didn’t get to see chainsaw until I was in my 20s. I’m glad I didn’t see it sooner. I’m pretty sure I would have had nightmares for years. I was actually afraid…yes, afraid…to see Corpses in the movies when it came out. I had to psych myself up for months to watch it on DVD, and it still disturbed the hell out of me. The imagery is so intense, so out there that unless you’re a seasoned horror film addict it will probably blow your mind.

    A funny note: I actually saw Texas Chainsaw II on HBO not long after it came out in the early 1980s. It was nothing like the original. The fact that they had a decent budget worked against them, and it just turned out to be another run-of-the-mill 80s slasher flick. HOWEVER…I just happened to be watching while making a pot of my famous Texas Chili for an upcoming Halloween party. Here’s the funny part: Chainsaw II is about the nuts using human meat to make Chili for a Chili contest, and as I was mixing up my Chili, they were mixing up theirs. Needless to say, I’ve served Texas Chainsaw Chili at every Halloween party since.

    House of 1000 Corpses

    House of 1000 Corpses

    Food & Booze: Well, what else…Chili. Made with people, if you can murder yourself some young chicks. For drinks I’d recommend a nice Chianti. As for Corpses…you’re not going to want to eat anything while watching this flick. If anything, you’ll want to have a bucket handy.

    -Spooky Tiki Chris reporting from the barbecue pit behind the smokeshack at Tiki Lounge Talk, the hep & happenin’ joint for Halloween-lovin’ kats and kittens.

  • Coffee at the Diner: Living the Retro Life

    Posted on January 21st, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 7 comments

    diner-hat-coffeeMan, it’s been way too long since I parked it in a diner booth. All day long I had a brain pain for a Bamburger and grease rings. So when I hit the door, I grabbed the ole Lady and we swung the Caddy down to Lester’s Diner on 136th Avenue.

    Not the least bit disappointed in my grub. A big old Cheeseburger with bacon and fries, rings, slaw and a cup’a Joe. A shake would have topped it off, but it would have broke the bank so I quit early.

    Joints like this used to be my hang out, back in the days before I had my own little Tiki Bar, back before the Mai Kai was a short drive away. Diners, all kinds of diners when I swung back in Jersey. Jersey is, after all, the diner capital of the world. You couldn’t swing a bat without hitting a neon sign that said “open 24 hours”. Not so much down here in the land of Mai Tais and Palm trees. There’s one diner in 8 miles, and it shuts down at midnight. Thank God the Tiki bars are open late…

    point-dinerThere were a few haunts I made my mark at. The Point Diner in Somers Point, NJ is where I spent many a night and many a paycheck. Coffee and a burger at 2 am? Why the hell not? All my gang hung out there too…in fact, I remember one particularly kool New Year’s Eve that we wound up there around 3 am…and who was there, but this really hot swingin’ chick that I went around with in high school. It was a very groovy meeting, that night. Never forget it.

    blue-dinerThen there was the Blue Diamond Diner in Pomona, NJ. This was a 1950’s rail-car style stainless steel masterpiece, with the original guts still intact. They had the old 70’s style jukeboxes filled with stuff from Sinatra and Elvis. And one of my favorite songs to play at a diner, just before leaving, Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny. Yeah, those were the days. 50¢ cup of strong Greek coffee and I was good for hours.

    Back when I had my Dinner Theater Company, Stardust Productions, after every show I’d take the cast to a diner and buy them all dinner. We’d wind down and talk about the show, how much fun it was, how to make it better. It was around then I picked up the nickname Mack, after a gangster character I played in a show.

    Me during a performance of "The Mysterious Presto" with StarDust Theater. The beautiful blonde is my wife, Colleen

    Me during a performance of "The Mysterious Presto" with StarDust Theater. The beautiful blonde is my wife, Colleen

    I miss those old diners. I miss the smell of grilled onions in the middle of the night, the taste of good diner coffee and breakfast at 4 am. I miss the feel of those old places, the scratchy records in the jukebox, the neon lights. The diner we hit tonight was good but not quite right. There’s something unhip about a diner that has a 34″ plasma TV mounted on the wall, that plays nothing but commercials. There’s something un-groovy about a CD jukebox that’s filled with riffs by Jenny Lopez and Matchbox-20, but doesn’t have a single Elvis tune. Sure, the burger was good, the java was good, and the company was great…even motoring there in the old Cadillac was fun. But these new joints just don’t have the same feel, the same atmosphere, as those old stainless steel diners held together with apron strings and grease that I grew up with.

    -Mack (aka Tiki Chris)