Morbid melodies: Tune in and terror out

Every October I try to challenge myself to find a few new spooky songs to add to what I lovingly call my “morbid melodies” collection. The great thing is, I usually can but it’s only my cats that end up appreciating my efforts. So this year I thought, “To hell with it, lemme share some my favorites with you folks!”

In classic Ariel-fashion, of course, I also have to share a few of the music videos that I watch repeatedly because OF COURSE.

The first music video that I had wanted to share was DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince’s “Nightmare on My Street.” I usually just listen to the song but thought it’d be cool to put the video on here too. However, try as I might, I could not find the video I remembered from when I was a kid. I kept thinking “did I make this up? Is this one of those Mandela Effect things?” I looked into it and while I was aware that New Line Cinema had not wanted to have the song associated with the Nightmare On Elm Street films, I didn’t know that they had essentially made the video disappear.

Looking for it on the Internet doesn’t yield much. There are tons of fan videos, images put to the song, etc., but the official DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince music video apparently does not exist. On the other hand, it’s easy as pie to locate the music video for the Fat Boys’ “Are You Ready For Freddy?” released around the same time in 1988 since New Line had selected the Fat Boys as the rap group to rep Freddy Krueger in an official music video-context.  Here’s the thing: “Nightmare on My Street” is a waaaay better song, was far more popular and regardless of “official film connection” a music video was actually made.

New Line wasn’t having any of it. A lawsuit followed. New Line pulled “Nightmare” from MTV after just a few weeks of it being in rotation, and the video hasn’t been seen since. There are calls out all over the Internet asking people who might have been recording MTV at home during that period of time in 1988 to scour their VHS collections just in case they might possibly maybe perhaps have any tapes of music videos that might not have been taped over…? Even Jeff Townes (DJ Jazzy Jeff) and Will Smith (Fresh Prince) have admitted that they either don’t have copies or believe it to be lost forever. But many people on these Nightmare on Elm Street and Old School Rap forums are like me: they remember how this amazing music video was and wish they could see it again. For now, here is the audio.

The two music videos I can give you are cheesy but glorious. One is a metal band (Dokken) participating in the Nightmare on Elm Street universe for what is probably the best out of all of the NOES films Nightmare on Elm St 3: Dream Warriors (Chuck Russell, 1987). Accompanying that is one of my favorite songs to do at karaoke (try it! It’s super fun!).)  The video for the Mary Lambert adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary (1989) is a total win and let’s be honest, who can turn down the Ramones in a graveyard?
More after the jump…

Posted by Ariel Schudson
10:29 am
Under the Smogberry Trees: Dr. Demento Documentary on Kickstarter
01:44 pm

The advent of a site like Kickstarter has been a wonderful gift with some flaws. Wonderful because it has given folks the chance to get such viable things released and funded, like the previously lost work of cult filmmaker H.G. Lewis, not to mention a high definition release of the surreal Sominex horror film, Manos, The Hands of Fate. It can be flawed because there are some whose projects got kicked off of Kickstarter and not in a good way, including the HD restoration of The Opening of Misty Beethoven. (Though, the rubber still met the road on that project without Kickstarter, thankfully.)

However, that is not why I am here today. Instead, this is about an outfit called the Meep Morp Studio and their undertaking of a truly worthy project entitled Under the Smogberry Trees: The True Story of Dr. Demento. Anyone like myself who grew up listening to Dr. Demento’s radio show will instantly feel their heart swell knowing about this project. Championing “novelty” music and giving airplay to acts ranging from Spike Jones to Frank Zappa, not to mention the wholly underrated Barnes & Barnes (who warrant their own documentary), Dr. Demento was a breath of fresh air in a radio landscape often dominated by AOR, over-produced country and butt rock as far as the eye can see. Heck, we have the man to thank for basically helping jump start the career of Weird Al Yankovic.

Novelty music has always been the awkward redheaded stepchild of musical genres and often unfairly so, since it takes real talent to be boldly ridiculous, wonderfully weird and steadfastly true to a sound that has a snowball’s chance in Hell of making anyone a millionaire. Formerly a roadie for Spirit, Demento, also known as Barret Hansen, has done more for esoteric music in the past forty years than all the music historians combined. Given his contributions to radio and strange music, on top of featuring interviews with Art & Artie Barnes and Bill Frenzel aka Ogden Edsel (“Dead Puppies,” “Kinko the Clown”) among others, it would be a gift if this documentary gets fully funded.

Posted by Heather Drain
01:44 pm