I apologize for the lack of updates. But I’m trying to make up for it with different ‘haunting’ moments for each day. I hope you enjoy.
Marc Tiesen was one of Han’s best friends in and after high school. They were in bands together, wrote songs, got into trouble. Sadly, Marc died 20 years ago from heart failure. As long as I’ve known Han, I’ve known Marc’s name. Over the years, I’ve met his mother and his sister. One of Han’s songs was inspired by Marc. It was actually the melody and some minimal lyrics that Marc came up that Han then finished after Marc’s death. The Rock Band actually recorded the song on their CD.
With the advent of Facebook and its scary way of bringing people out of the woodwork, many of Han’s old friends have re-surfaced, some with the intention of putting together a tribute show to Marc. One of these friends, Eric, came over last weekend. He had also been in the bands along the way. With him, he brought some old recordings, including one of the song that Marc improvised during a live show that became the complete song that Han recorded with Rock Band. Han & Eric were in the other room, talking and reminiscing, then suddenly I heard the song, but it was really just the chorus that I recognized, the lilt and inflection of the melody. And it was Marc. I had never heard his voice before and the sensation that I felt was amazing, so I can only imagine how intense it was for Han to relive the moment and contemplate the years that have since passed. Han explained that it was a live performance in front of a huge crowd and they were improvising and Marc just came up with this melody and these vague words. I could tell it was really moving for Han to hear it. Sometimes haunting is not scary, but beautiful.
Thirteen great Halloween movies
I tried to make this list be just scary kind of haunting movies, but I couldn’t help throwing in a few funny ones. These are all great flicks to get in the Halloween spirit.
1. The Others – One of Nicole Kidman’s best, and directed by a Chilean-born but raised in Spain director, his only English-speaking movie. It is a classic suspense movie and I was not ready for the twist at the end. Love this movie.
2. The Skeleton Key – I happened upon this one on cable one morning and was intrigued right away. Old New Orleans, voodoo tales, and another nice twist. I like Kate Hudson and she does a good job with this one.
3. Poltergeist – Still one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, and one of the major reasons that clowns scare the crap out of me. A true classic.
4. The Exorcist – I remember trying to watch this as a kid and just couldn’t get through it. When I got older, I got through it, and it is scary. As time has gone on, the effects may not be so magical, but it is the atmosphere and the mood of it all that heightens the fear for me. I also think Exorcist 3 could be in the list.
5. What Lies Beneath – A suburban tale with Harrison Ford & Michele Pfeifer with that scary bathroom scene. I will always watch this one when I find it on cable.
6. The Shining – Between scary Jack Nicholson, weird Shelly Duvall, and the haunted hotel, this movie, another classic, mixes the insane with the terrifying.
7. The Omen – I still can’t watch this movie after seeing it just the one time when I was younger. This movie has always set the bar for me as a story of pure evil. Bad Damien.
8. 1408 – I saw this one recently. It’s not super scary, but it’s a good story and an interesting concept. I thought John Cusack was good in it.
9. (now the fun ones): Practical Magic – I adore this movie. Between Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman (again!), you’ve also got Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing, plus ghosts, magic and rituals. Always a great one for Halloween.
10. Hocus Pocus – Another one that I will always watch if it’s on. The threesome of Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as three witchy sisters who come back to Salem after 300 years is just a good time.
11. The Witches of Eastwick – More Jack Nicholson and another Michelle Pfeifer film. Well, plus Cher & Susan Sarandon. These ladies conjure ol’ Jack and represent the ideal females, but their wiles work even on the devil. Who can get over that cherry scene?
12. Beetlejuice – Poor ghosts Geena Davis & Alec Baldwin can’t scare away the family who’s moving into their house. Winona Ryder can see them, but it takes Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice to make things happen. Catherine O’ Hara is classic in this one and the “Day-O” scene in the dining room still makes me giggle.
13. Scrooged – A double whammy since this one’s also good for Christmas. I just saw this one again recently. All the ghosts of Christmas are great and Bill Murray is great as the mean Frank X. Cross.
The Haunted Mansion
I’m pretty sure I’ve confessed my love for this classic Disneyland ride more than once, but it truly is my favorite ride there. It’s a complete experience even from the line. I love how you don’t see the people getting off the ride and everything in between. And I still hold that sometimes, there’s a knock on my doom buggy.
Because we share the same name, I’ve been curious about this story for a while. Last year, I did some research about it as I thought I might be her for Halloween. We all know the rhyme, but as it turns out Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the crimes of killing her father and stepmother, though it was 1892 and the forensic evidence at the time wasn’t the greatest. She went on to live a quiet life, supporting the arts and allegedly having an affair with an actress. Her story, though, is still intriguing because the case was never solved and the story is still a mystery. The house where the murders took place is now a bed and breakfast. Is it haunted?
If you want music for your Halloween party, just throw on “Dead Man’s Party” or really any of the soundtracks Danny Elfman has created, mostly with Tim Burton (who should probably have his own category in my haunted theme).
In 1985, my family moved from Idaho to California. I began to listen to KROQ and discover my affection for new wave music, including OB. When I started high school, I met a guy who also liked them. Oingo Boingo did annual Halloween shows and sometimes New Year’s Eve shows. I think I saw one of each. The one I remember was in Long Beach and the Untouchables opened the show. What a great time, what a great band. Twisted and loud, horns and angst, soul and ska. I always think of them and their music around this time of year because their style (t-shirt designs, album artwork) generally had a lot of skulls and Dia de los Muertos kinds of motifs. They rocked.
The Great Pumpkin
Though not a true “haunted” thing, the Great Pumpkin is irrevocably tied to Halloween thanks to the Peanuts gang. You gotta love Linus.
(p.s. I realize that Jack Skellington or “The Nightmare Before Christmas” should be included somewhere this month, but I’m afraid to admit that I have never seen it, so I don’t feel I have any authority to reference it).