Tag Archives: Halloween

Back Before We Could Watch a Werewolf Transform. (It wasn’t that long ago.)

For the love of Zombie Choreography! How could I post anything but Thriller on Halloween? This was groundbreaking stuff. Dancing Zombies, moving make-up, Vincent Price saying “y’alls”. It all started when The King of Pop went to see an American Werewolf in London and decided that he liked it  and wanted his next video to resemble it. So he called up the director, John Landis, and asked him what he was doing.

He’s not like other guys.

 

AWiL was groundbreaking itself because before 1981 movies did not actually show the werewolf transformation. You would see a guy acting like red hot hair follicles were about to burst out of his face, then he stepped behind a curtain or something and when stepped out, he was much hairier. Then he covered his face and screamed. This scared a passing squirrel so completely that the camera guy just had to cut away from the werewolf action to get a close-up of the horrified look on the little nut-nibbler’s furry little face. By the time he cut back, the terrifyingly hirsute transformation was complete, and the man-beast was celebrating with an arched-backed howl straight at the moon that started all this trouble to begin with.

Landis saw this whole hide-and-seek werewolf thing as a big problemwhen it came to suspension of disbelief, so he created a new kind of Werewolf transformation make-up. If you know how a squib works…you’ve got a basic idea. I know what you kids are thinking…why didn’t they just use CGI? Because, youngster, there was no CGI in 1981. That’s right. And before Landis came along, we had to pretend that werewolf transformations didn’t look stupid, but they really did…especially what with the frightened squirrel thing…and we liked it. No. Wait. We didn’t like it.

Speaking of not liking things…now that you can have real-time, non-squirrel-assisted werewolf transformations, where the heck are all your werewolf movies? And no, Wolverine does not count. Bah! Ungrateful kids! Just watch this video, and maybe I’ll tell you how Ola Ray got her pants so tight. (Hint–squibs were also used.)

Friday Morning Videos Almost Halloween Edition

The guy in the baby Stewie costume has been waiting for his Butterfinger for like 20 minutes.

Halloween is almost here, and what could be a more perfect Friday Morning Video than Rockwell’s Somebody’s Watching Me? It has zombies, haunted paintings, dogs in masks, a dude who showers while wearing a towel and enough old-school Halloween decorations to make that one guy on your block who goes over-board every year and end up scaring the crap out of a bunch of small children super jealous. Not enough? Oh come on. This song is a classic…and just so weird in a Scooby-Doo Halloween special kind of way. At one point Rockwell sings in an affected accent that is surely meant to be Bela Lugosi. Or possibly Lou Costello. He blames his paranoia on Alfred Hitchcock*, and the IRS. What? Michael Jackson’s Thriller? A bit on the nose, don’t you think? Besides, who do you think that golden throated soulster singing to-the-front back-up on this track? Which leads me to the best part of this song. The story. I used to think that Rockwell was able to get Michael Jackson because his father was Berry Gordy, but then I read this from the song’s Wikipedia page:

At the time of the recording Rockwell was estranged from his father and living with Ray Singleton, his father’s ex-wife. Singleton served as executive producer on the project and would occasionally play some demo tracks to Berry Gordy. The elder Gordy was less than enthusiastic about Rockwell’s music until he heard the single with a familiar voice featured prominently on background vocals

Holy crap! If that story is true, I feel so bad for Rockwell. And that is why I say, “Back off with your Michael Jackson talk. It’s Rockwell’s turn to shine.”

 

* Rockwell included several nods to The Master. Can you spot them…before it’s too lat?! Mwa ha ha! Just kidding. Take your time.