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Archive for the ‘The Twilight Zone’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: KATE BUSH-“Under Ice/Waking the Witch” (1982).

A lot of the music I listen to is weird and probably creepy to other people, but I don’t necessarily think of songs as appropriate for Halloween or not.  So for this year’s Ghost Box stories, I consulted an “expert”: The Esquire list of Halloween songs you’ll play all year long.  The list has 45 songs–most of which I do not like.  So I picked 11 of them to post about.

Esquire didn’t pick this song, but the inclusion of Kate Bush yesterday reminded me of this pairing of songs which I find incredibly creepy–especially late at night wit headphones.

This comes from side two of the Hounds of Love album.  Side Two is a suite or a story called The Ninth Wave.  Kate makes full use of sound effects and vocal panning so that you can hear the voices all around your head as they whisper, call or threaten.

The side begins with the gentle “And Dream of Sheep” which shows a young woman falling asleep (later we find it’s not as innocent as it seems).  This segues into “Under Ice” which begins with slow string notes that sound like someone skating.

Kate’s voice is deep, slow and echoey as she sings about skating on the ice.  You can hear a voices calling, but she doesn’t heed them:

I’m speeding past trees
Leaving little lines in the ice
Cutting out, little lines in the ice
Splitting, splitting sound
Silver heels spitting, spitting snow

and then in a more tremulous voice (with great watery sound effects) followed by a chorus of voices:

There’s something moving under
Under the ice moving
Under ice through water
Trying to
It’s me
Get out of the cold water
It’s me
Something
It’s me
Someone, help them

The two minute song segues into “Waking the Witch” which opens with a whispered “Wake up!” and an early morning wake up call while voices from all over the headphones try to get you to wake up–some more gently than others.

After a minute or so of this the song becomes an intensely scary four minutes.  A voice of someone, pleading, but garbled and cut up–perhaps under water? It is a nightmarish attempt at communication when a deep scary male voice states (with Kate singing the parenthetical)

You won’t burn (red, red roses)
You won’t bleed (pinks and posies)
Confess to me, girl (red, red roses, go down)

With a pretty melody, a voice whispers Spiritus Sanctus in nomine.  It cuts to another chopped up and manipulated voice praying “Bless me, father, bless me father, for I have sinned.”

The deep voice returns in accusation:

I question your innocence
She’s a witch
(Help this blackbird, there’s a stone around my leg)
Ha, damn you, woman
(Help this blackbird, there’s a stone around my leg)
What say you, good people
(Guilty, guilty, guilty)
Well, are you responsible for your actions?
(This blackbird)
Not guilty (help this blackbird)
Wake up the witch

As the four minutes fades off, we hear a helicopter flying through the air and a man shouting

Get out of the waves!
Get out of the water!

The story continues from there and gets a bit more positive, but man, the cinematic detail of this is staggering. Apparently she was finally able to stage this suite when in 2014, she performed her first concerts since 1979.  I would have loved to have seen that.

[READ: October 23, 2019] “The Distributor”

Just in time for Halloween, from the people who brought me The Short Story Advent Calendar and The Ghost Box. and Ghost Box II. comes Ghost Box III.

This is once again a nifty little box (with a magnetic opening and a ribbon) which contains 11 stories for Halloween.  It is lovingly described thusly:

Oh god, it’s right behind me, isn’t it? There’s no use trying to run from Ghost Box III, the terrifying conclusion to our series of limited-edition horror box sets edited and introduced by Patton Oswalt.

There is no explicit “order” to these books; however, I’m going to read in the order they were stacked.

This has been quite possibly my favorite story in any of the Ghost Boxes.

Richard Matheson wrote I am Legend and many episodes of The Twilight Zone and this story was the epitome of dark suburban paranoia come to life.  It is also scarily timeless and, aside from some of the words used in the story, could easily have been written today. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: GOBLIN-“Suspiria” (1977).

A lot of the music I listen to is weird and probably creepy to other people, but I don’t necessarily think of songs as appropriate for Halloween or not.  So for this year’s Ghost Box stories, I consulted an “expert”: The Esquire list of Halloween songs you’ll play all year long.  The list has 45 songs–most of which I do not like.  So I picked 11 of them to post about.

I had never heard of Goblin, an Italian prog rock band.  They are primarily known for their soundtrack work.

This song is from the 1977 Italian supernatural horror film Suspiria directed by Dario Argento, which served as the inspiration for the 2018 film Suspiria, directed by Luca Guadagnino.

The song starts out quietly with bells and a twinkling piano–signalling either a children’s song or a demonic score.  The song reveals it full demonic side with some eerily strummed mandolin and then, creepiest of all a whispered voice singing “La La La La La La La” along with the melody.

This continues for about 2 and a half minutes before a spacey synth and a rumbling bass and drum jolt the song forward.  There’s more whispered words and some keyboard stabs.  This resolves into a fast keyboard version of the initial bells motif.

After two minutes of this the original music returns now with an echoing drum and a much clearer somehow creepier “La La La.”

I have never seen this movie, but if the soundtrack is an indication, it’s must be super creepy.

[READ: October 18, 2019] “The Vanishing American”

Just in time for Halloween, from the people who brought me The Short Story Advent Calendar and The Ghost Box. and Ghost Box II. comes Ghost Box III.

This is once again a nifty little box (with a magnetic opening and a ribbon) which contains 11 stories for Halloween.  It is lovingly described thusly:

Oh god, it’s right behind me, isn’t it? There’s no use trying to run from Ghost Box III, the terrifying conclusion to our series of limited-edition horror box sets edited and introduced by Patton Oswalt.

There is no explicit “order” to these books; however, I’m going to read in the order they were stacked.

This story isn’t scary.  It’s more thought provoking.  And, in fact, it has one of the most positive endings in a story that I’ve read in a long time. (more…)

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tpk2SOUNDTRACK: SYLVANSHINE (2014).

sylvanOne of the fun things about doing these summer posts is finding appropriate music to each week’s write up. I like to find something related to what’s down below.  Last week it was an artist named Pale King.  This week it’s a band called Sylvanshine.

Sylvanshine is a cover band from Texas.  According to their web site, they play covers of Collective Soul, Van Halen, The Black Crowes and Stevie Ray Vaughn. I didn’t listen to any of their live tracks, but the excerpt of their version of The Toadies’ “Possum  Kingdom” is pretty spot on.

Learn all about them (or book them) at their website.

[READ: July 21, 2014] Pale Summer Week 2 (§10-§21)

Week two continues some of the characters’ lives and introduces us to them at the Service.  It also has a couple of very lengthy passages in which people spout their opinions about aspects of the country and the Service which are thoughtful and, frankly, very interesting and would work as good meme quotes, if you liked that sort of thing.

§10

This is a two-paragraph chapter about bureaucracy “the only known parasite larger than the organism on which is subsists.”

§11

A list of syndromes/symptoms associated with Examination Postings in excess of 36 months (ending with “unexplained bleeding”).

§12

Leonard Stecyk is back in this short chapter.  He is an adult now. He is walking door to door to introduce himself to his presumably new neighbors, and to offer to the neighbors the Post Office’s 1979 National Zip Code Directory–“his smile so wide it almost looked like it hurt.”

§13

An unnamed character is inflicted with nervous profuse sweating.  (This character will be identified later).  This chapter also has footnotes (as did the Author’s Foreword), although these footnotes are in the third person (as is the chapter).  Does this mean it is written by Dave Wallace too?  It is another thoroughly detailed chapter that I find very enjoyable to read even if it doesn’t advance the “story” much. (more…)

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