Samhain’s November Coming Fire Is My Favorite Album…Ever

Yes folks, this album is my favorite ever. Seriously, I can listen to it over and over again and not be bored out of my mind. You know how you liked¬† a band when you were younger but don’t listen to them any longer for various reasons? This album defies that curse!

For those of you who don’t know Samhain was Glenn Danzig’s second band after The Misfits broke up, and I consider this period to be his best musically. Sure, I love old school Misfits songs, and the first four Danzig albums, but there is something perfect about Samhain, and particularly November Coming Fire, that makes it stand above anything else that Glenn has done. The first time I ever heard of them was when I was in high school on a trip to an amusement park with some friends when a girl wearing a November Coming Fire shirt gave me shit for wearing a Sex Pistols shirt. Go figure, there was elitism even back in the 80’s! It wasn’t until 1990 that I cold bought November Coming Fire and instantly fell in love with it. That’s right, I bought the album without even listening to it. These were the days before the internet kids so you had to do things like that to discover new bands. I was a huge fan of The Misfits and like the first two Danzig albums that were out at the time so it seemed like a natural step.

The beautiful thing about Samhain is that Danzig incorporated goth, punk and some metal all into one neat package that didn’t sound like anything else. People still try to imitate the sound but nobody has gotten it so spot on in my opinion. I would dare to even call November Coming Fire a deathrock album. After all the songs are about spooky shit, are very morbid sounding and sung by a guy who knows how to fucking sing!. Seriously, listen to the link above in a candlelit room in the middle of the night and don’t tell me that it doesn’t sound in turns otherworldly and beyond macabre.

My favorite song off the album has got to be Halloween II, which is a remake of The Misfits song. Instead of being fast, like the original, it is slow and deliberate, and what makes it spooky as shit is the fact that just like the original it is sung in Latin. When I saw Danzig perform in 1992 they played it as an encore and I almost cried I was so happy! Back then he didn’t like to play old material as much so it was kind of a shock.¬† I don’t dislike ANY of the songs on the album and find some of the placement of them in the order in which they appear to be brilliant. Let The Day Begins, which is a faster paced song, follows To Walk The Night, which is slower in tempo. In some ways November Coming Fire could be seen as a concept album of sorts because all of the album centers about overcoming obstacles. Yeah, that may be stretch, but what the hell?

I remember trying to get goth clubs to play songs off this album back in the day, and it was considered too ‘punk’ even though it sounded more full of dirge than a lot of the stuff they spun. Philistines! November Coming Fire brings back so many fuzzy warm memories! It reminds me specifically of the times that I used to drive around San Jose and Santa Clara with my friend Sheri. I would blast it in my car with the windows rolled down and sing along at the top of my lungs. Awww….memories!

I Love The Video For Thriller And I Am Not Ashamed!

Most spooky music video ever!

Most spooky music video ever!

Thriller is my favorite music video ever made. There, I said it. In 1983 I was twelve years old and running home from junior high every day to watch it on MTV. Remember when MTV used to actually air creatively made music videos? Yes, they actually used to do that! Shocking, I know! They would play it once every single hour and I would watch it again and again totally engrossed with its zombies and other spooky visuals.

As everybody knows Thriller was directed by John Landis and is filmed in a style that recalls the horror films of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Not only does it contain an elongated version of the song itself, it also has a detailed plot which is in turns fun, spooky, then fun and spooky! Nothing exactly like it had been done before and who the hell knew that Michael Jackson was heavily into old school horror films? Perhaps this is the first sign that we got to see of him being a bit unusual.

I grew up watching horror films. I saw Xtro, Dawn Of The Dead, Galaxy Of Terror and many others all in movie theaters during mostly double billed shows. On TV I watched a lot of Vincent Price and Hammer horror films and loved them to death! So, when Michael Jackson came along and not only made a spooky song but a spooky video to go along with it I was happy beyond belief! I was the kind of kid who made haunted houses in her closet and who dug in the sand at the local playground hoping to find the foundations of a burnt down Victorian house that used to be there. Yep, I’ve been pretty much morbid since birth!

It was cool to like the video and you weren’t seen as a complete freak if you did. If you said that you ran home to catch the video nobody thought you were an insane geek. Then again we’re talking about my junior high years, so perhaps if you were in high school at the time things were different. I would have liked nothing better at the time than to have been able to enter that spooky world and run through the cemetery where the zombies were rising from their graves. No, seriously, I’ve always been a bit into being chased by evil creatures, hiding from them and surviving. Yes, I’m strange.

To this day I can still watch the video and be highly entertained! There is just something about it that is not only spooky but highly nostalgic. I can look back at when it first came out and smile knowing that it helped shape me into being the person that I am today. Thriller has definitely been a part of my spooky journey through life.

Morbid History – The Moving Of San Francisco’s Cemeteries

Photo of workmen removing bodies in 1933.

Photo of workmen removing bodies in 1933.

San Francisco is a small city where land has always been valuable. To deal with a growing population, and a lack of space to build new housing, it was decided that all of the cemeteries located in San Francisco would be moved south to the town of Colma. Only three places of burial in San Francisco were left intact and are still available to visit; the burial ground at the Mission Delores, the military cemetery at The Presidio and the Neptune Society Columbarium.

Big Four cemetery map located in what is now the inner Richmond district.

Big Four cemetery map located in what is now the inner Richmond district.

There used to be many cemeteries in San Francisco, however the most famous of them were collectively known as the ‘Big Four’. These were the Masonic in the south, Calvary in the east, Odd Fellows’ in the west and Laurel Hill in the north. They were all grouped together on the edge of what is now the Inner Richmond district. In 1902 Inner Richmond property owners began to complain about the cemeteries driving down their property values so they started a campaign to move the cemeteries out of the area. Personally, I think they were greedy bastards because the cemeteries were there before they bought their properties. I mean, it’s like buying a house near an airport then wanting the airport closed because it’s making too much noise.

After years of litigation the bodies started to be removed in 1929 down to Colma. The gravestones were more often than not dealt with as scrap because in order for a family to have it moved with the body they would have to pay for it themselves. That’s awfully unfair considering that they aren’t the ones who wanted the bodies removed in the first place! Many of the gravestones were just dumped into the ocean while others were broken up and used for the construction of gutters in Buena Vista Park. It took until after WWII to supposedly move all of the bodies out of San Francisco’s cemeteries. But this wouldn’t be a Morbid History post without something gruesome to add would it?

Grave found at Legion Of Honor during renovations.

Grave found at Legion Of Honor during renovations.

Not all of the bodies were removed! That’s right, there are people right now living on the top of thousands of corpses. It’s like something directly out of Poltergeist! After the 1989 earthquake renovations were being done to the Legion Of Honor in Golden Gate Park when builders discovered hundreds of bodies in the foundations! Golden Gate Cemetery used to be located there and the I suppose that removing the bodies wasn’t done as thoroughly as thought! How morbidly cool is that! Also, when the old main city library building was being converted into the new Asian Art Museum workers found 19 bodies! I used to go to that library all the time when I was growing up so to think that I was treading above a bunch of old graves! Neat!

Besides all of the official cemeteries that were located in San Francisco people were also just buried in simple wooden coffins in the sand dunes that once covered the entire west end of the city. So, all of the houses in the Sunset and Richmond districts could be sitting on top of unmarked graves. That makes me shiver in delight! On an interesting note my grandmother, who was born and raised there, remembers the hearses that drove the bodies out of the city. So, the next time you are in San Francisco remember all of the people still buried there whom you may be walking over!

That Time I Saw A Ghost

Booooooo!!!!!

Booooooo!!!!!

This is a true story of the time I, and a group of people, saw a ghost. No really, we all saw one at exactly the same time. Spooky!

It all started when two friends and I went to a club in Santa Clara called One Step Beyond. I haven’t spoken to either of these women in twenty-five years so they could be dead as far as I know. Anyway! We went to this club one night and discovered that nobody had really shown up. We were about to leave when we heard some loud music being blasted in the back area of the parking lot. We discovered three guys just hanging out in a truck bed and listening to music. They were pretty cute so we decided to hang out. Then one of them came up with the brilliant idea of driving to a burnt out monastery to hang out for the night.

To this day I have no idea where this place is located. Trust me, I’ve tried searching for it on the internet and I can’t find it anywhere. All I remember is that it was in the hills in the southern area of the Peninsula. We followed them in my car and we parked at the foot of a dirt road. There was a full moon that night so it wasn’t that difficult walking the quarter-mile up the dirt road to the buildings. Actually, they weren’t buildings as much as they were empty burnt out shells. There were walls standing three stories unsupported by anything and a large multi-storied burning that was totally burnt out. We decided to hang out in the later.

Now, all of us were actually sitting on a large balcony that formed part of one of the still standing walls. We were all facing the same direction, which was looking directly at a three-story wall that stood alone covered in ivy. There were no trees directly around it that could cause spooky shapes on top of the wall to appear. For some reason we were all looking at the top of this wall at the same time at one point and saw the outline of a man appear with its arms outstretched. I don’t remember who said anything first, all I remember is everybody yelling to get out of there! We literally ran out of there and down the dirt road until we got back to our cars.

Was it a ghost? It had to have been because there was nothing on top of that wall before and there was no way anybody could have climbed to the top of it. Literally, there was no way for anybody to scale it without killing themselves in the process. Like I said before I have searched online over the years for the location of this place but have been unable to find it. Shades of the Twilight Zone, right?

I Want To Be A Scary Old Woman

Yes, I want to be THAT woman!

Yes, I want to be THAT woman!

The other night the husband and I watched the horror film Dolls. Now, I had never watched the film before. So, there I was laughing my ass off at the scenes of dolls murdering people with little knives when I was entranced by the character of Hilary Hartwicke, an old woman with a penchant for dolls. For a while I couldn’t figure out why I was attracted to a character dressed like a Edwardian headmistress and then it finally occurred to me; I want to be a crazy old woman who lives in an old Victorian house.

I think it would be awesome being a scary old woman living in a crumbling Victorian. Here are the fun things I could do!

-Keep toys that children throw into my yard.
-Own as many cats as I damn well please!
-Sit out on my poach in a rocking chair and just look into space with a menacing look upon my face.
-Bring spider shaped cookies to my new neighbors, making sure to blacken my teeth to up the scare affect.
-Start a chainsaw in the middle of the night in my basement.
-Dig a hole in my backyard, also in the middle of the night.

What’s cool about being a scary old woman is that you will be considered eccentric by many and you can get away with almost anything. For instance, when you are out grocery shopping you can give children being pushed around in carts by their mothers evil looks and make them cry. Fun times! The best time of year would be Halloween! My scary house would be the one in town that kids would dare their friends to go up to. My front door would automatically be a gateway into the evil unknown! Neat!

Fashion is important if you’re a scary old woman, so I could dress like Miss Havisham from Great Expectations and practice my walk so that it looks like I’m gliding over the pavement. Once in a while I would even dress in garish colors just to up my scary level a bit. Most of my hair is naturally white already, so all I would have to do is not dye my hair for a while and I have instant scary old lady hair!

Yep, she's dead!

Yep, she’s dead!

Decorating is important so I would put Victorian momento mori photos all over my walls. Nothing says scary old woman more than photos of dead people! The furniture would be heavy and dark and there would be various tacky and frightening knickknacks covering all surfaces. The outside of the house, would of course, be unkempt. I wouldn’t paint the house, instead I would allow the natural patina of the old wood to shine through. The grass outside would never be mowed and bushes and trees would be allowed to go wild.

I would make a great scary old woman, wouldn’t I?