Thursday, October 27, 2011

Frightmare on Thrash Street

Halloween has, and always will be, my favorite holiday. From when I first demanded a hockey mask  to my college days dressed in a full suit of armor made from beer cans (that's right), there hasn't been a Halloween that hasn't gotten me into movie marathons and music to match. No music, however,  has fit the bill as well as Frightmare.

I've decided to dissect each track from their debut, Midnight Murder Mania, and watch each film referred to and let you guys know what I think 'bout 'dem.

Without further adieu, here's...

Midnight Movie Mania

Need a hand? hahahahahahahaha
It doesn't take much more than decent characters and good special effects/violent deaths to make a slasher work; this, without a doubt, is what The Burning's (1981) all about. "Cropsy" kicks Midnight Murder Mania with a clip that tells you all you need to know; kids burned a man beyond recognition and he shouldn't hold it against them. Yeah right. "This man's cooked. A fuckin' Big Mac." Scariest part is seeing a young Jason Alexander's ass; yikes.

As the second track kicks in, we take cue from Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974).One of the more well executed low budget horror movies I've seen, Deranged, is loosely based upon the story of Ed Gein and follows this killer as he tries to find solace after his mother's death. Scenes of him carrying around decaying corpses and having dinner with them a'la Texas Chainsaw Massacre are an odd mix of disturbing and silly. Main actor, Roberts Blossom does a great job of being that creepy, isolated weirdo who secretly talks to the corpse of his mother and others.

As promised, these chicks get 'drilled'
Slumber Party Massacre (1982) makes a lot more sense when you find out that the writer intended it to be slasher parody; but the producers turned it into a serious slasher (as serious as it could be) and it sucks. There really isn't much here for anyone that's not a boy and twelve years old, and, oh, not in the 80's. Massacre is outdated and one of the few completely trite movies Frightmare picks to pay homage too. Every action the stupid teens take is illogical and against any sense of self-preservation. I wish this was taken as a joke because then it could have been very aware for its time (and funny too; I guess...).

That's right, take that Bacon!
Possibly the best slasher ever made, Friday the 13th(1980), is also one of the best tracks on the record. A name everyone knows, the combination of a genuinely good twist, effective music, and excellent pacing make this not only a must see for horror fans, but for everyone. If you watch the previously mentioned The Burning, or probably half the slashers out there, you'll see Friday the 13th's influence.

"Slasher Holocaust" is a thrashy track that doesn't relate to any particular movie that I know of. Given the title, as well as the other songs, I assume it's a general homage to the slashers found on this list. We'll just move on.

It's been awhile since I've seen The Prowler (1981), and it hasn't been the easiest to find. What I do remember are some excellent effects/sequences by a name I'm tired of typing by now. Much like The Burning, The Prowler's mostly just a slasher money shot of well done death sequences.

"Be My Bloody Valentine" is not only the best track on the album, but maybe my favorite of the films here. My Bloody Valentine (1981) has an outstanding setting (an old mine shaft) and some of the best killings on film. Choice clip, choice riffs; this is probably the catchiest and thrashiest track on the album.

Black Christmas (1974) was one of the better surprises here as it actually is frightening and creepy at times and does a good job to build suspense. A sorority house terrorized by unsettling phone calls and a maniac killer, sounds like fun right? Thankfully it doesn't submit itself to just boobs and blood like some others might. Really awesome trashy song to go with it that has quite the buildup.

While"The Ripper" opens up with a clip, I can't make out what it's from. I'm sorry to disappoint. But I can tell you it's a 'ripping' (get it?) track that continues this album's amazing fluidity and riff catalog and has this awesome moment that I can only explain by equating its momentum to that of someone in mid-swing pulling back and swinging again (an axe of course).


"Frank Zito, The Maniac" takes its name from another Savini project,  The Maniac (1980), which features the best shotgun death ever. The film does do a good job of making you feel uneasy and catching the dirty 70's New York that no one wants to remember.Alright overall, but nothing to it besides the phenomenal effects by Mr. Savini and lead man Spinelli's performance as yet another creepy serial killer with mommy issues.

"Devilock" takes cue from The Misfits, a band much like Frightmare in the respect that they had to show their love for their favorite childhood/adolescent horror movies by writing songs about them. The cover itself is okay, a bit one dimensional, but fun nonetheless (especially for a Misfit fan like myself). While the other songs pay homage to movies, this does the same thing to an important band.

In the end, this album, as well as this list, becomes a pretty good collection of important early slashers, none later than 1982. For people who have never appreciated slasher films, then I say give a few of these a try. These films are best watched with a group of friends and a beer or two in hand. There's a real art to the pacing, dipiction, and suspense of death in film, and some of these are a perfect example.

Beyond the films themselves, this album is an amazing combination of thrash and death metal not without a touch of grind. Melodic leads, gutturally to raspy vocals, blasting drums and plenty of riffs make this a very well rounded release. For fans of any of Maniac Neil's other projects, Ghoul, and old deaththrash like Sadus and Cancer. This was a lot of fun, and it's gotten me in the mood to watch millions of slashers and horror movies.


Shanetera said...

I have the LP version of this record and it's gorgeous in every aspect. I however haven't listened to it :(
I'm a fan of Frightmare's earlier record though, that shit rips.

Perpetual Strife said...

This is their first record. Bringing Back The Bloodshed is their second.

I just got the lp off interpunk for 8 bucks, what a steal!

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