Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Repost: Thriller

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller 

-Vincent Price, off of an '80s classic, 
Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

The videos a classic too!!

Happy Halloween !!!

This is a re-post of a post originally appearing October 28, 2011. Happay Halloween to all my readers!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Freddy Krueger

Halloween is approaching, and thoughts turn to things scary and spooky. . . and horror.

Those of us who grew up in the 1980s and were into horror movies remember Freddy Krueger. The ghoulish star of the horror flick Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Freddy followed in the wake of slasher era flicks like Friday the 13th (1980) and Halloween (1978).  During the late ‘70s and the ‘80s, these three movies produced numerous sequels which thrived among horror loving young people.

I first became acquainted with Freddy at an informal video-watching party among several members of my high school drama club, of which I was a member. We clustered together around a couch, munching on popcorn, and watching the first Nightmare on Elm Street.  I always thought that, behind the blood and gore aspects of the Freddy movies, there was actually some psychological insight into all those dark thoughts and fears that young people live with. 

Freddy represented the dark and scary stuff that lurked in all of our nightmares.  Things that bother us. Things we run away from.  The kind of stuff that we all are relieved to know doesn’t follow us into our waking lives. . . but in all of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, they did.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Signs of the Times: Karras, Love Boat, Newsweek

Alex Karras passed away on October 10, 2012.  Previously a football player and actor in such films as Mel Brook's classic Blazing Saddles, most '80s audiences will remember him for his presence on the '80s sitcom Webster.

The same day that the passing of Alex Karras was announced, I was listening to a radio talk show, where they mentioned that the cruise ship which was featured in the '70s and '80s television show The Love Boat, known to all who watched that show as the Pacific Princess, was being sold to a company to tear apart for scrap metal. Of course, the talk show hosts having been at the right age to have seen the show originally, were all waxing nostalgic about it. 

They were chatting up about all the characters . .. .Captain Stubing, Isaac the bartender, Julie the cruise director, Gopher, and the doc. And about how the show was part of an escapist Saturday night TV schedule that also included Fantasy IslandOne of the hosts mentioned how the the Love Boat came from a much gentler time for television. 

Indeed, all the shows mentioned in this post so far seem from a totally different era which was much less hard-edged, and frankly nicer: Webster, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island

And more recently, the news came out that Newsweek, the classic news magazine, was ceasing print publication, relegating all future work to the internet.

So many changes... reminds me of just how old I'm getting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When Crue Were Glam

The 1980s was a great time for music, in part because there was just so much of it. So much variety... music of all kinds, and usually with a quirky and fun twist: New Wave, classic rock, Springsteen and Mellencamp roots rock, dance music, synth-pop, ballads, etc. etc. 

Heavy Metal was one of the main aspects of '80s music, a kind-of mutant genre that created loud, aggressive, rebellious music. At a time when boundaries of all sorts had already been broken, and audiences had already been thrown everything except the kitchen sink, '80s metal groups were there to break that final barrier and throw you that kitchen sink. 

Motley Crue first broke into '80s popularity with a gruesome leather-clad appearance, and an album with a black cover and an ominous theme, Shout at the Devil (1983). Although a case could be made that the concept was as much as anything against the devil (after all, the albums' intro exhorted its listeners to "rise up . . . and shout at the devil"), Motley Crue were at the time the group that parents and censors loved to hate.

Then, in 1985, a change. At the time, Crue adopted a more glam (but I'm sure they would tell you, a still rockin) image, with their album Theatre of Pain (1985). Crue during this time were among a growing number of spandex clad, makeup wearing groups into what was known as glam metal, a genre that adopted the colorful, eye-popping glitter/glam rock styles which hearkened back to the early '70s, but added the ear-bursting heavy metal of the '80s.

It was during this time that Motley Crue's audience grew to include teens that may not have gotten what they were about during their earlier period. And they were capable of adding a soft ballad alongside their heavy rock. Here's Crue doing "Home Sweet Home," off of Theatre of Pain.

Glam Metal spread far and wide... I always thought it fit well with the fun-loving, color-filled atmosphere of the '80s. 

Heres Poison, another of '80s big glam metal bands.

It shows how interesting a decade the '80s were, that such an overtly "macho" style as metal adopted such clearly androgynous styles without anyone even commenting. It was macho with makeup and eyeshadow. And it was perfectly and un-ironically accepted as such.

And, of course, this metal ball would not be complete without another big glam metal group, Cinderella.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rick Springfield

I've got some more posts in the works, so stay tuned. 

Meanwhile, let me direct your attention to fellow retro blogger Trapped in the 80s Mom, who is having a series posts devoted to 80s rocker Rick Springfield. This includes an interesting advanced preview of the upcoming Rick Springfield docu-film An Affair of the Heart.  Its a series of '80s related posts about one of the most important and well remembered performers of that era, and sure to be of interest to those of us who remember that era so fondly. Check it out.