As a gothy pagan type, Hallowe’en is my favourite time of year. Mainly because I can buy things like skull-shaped pint glasses and the kind of black spooky stuff that I like to have around the house all year ’round. Sadly this year has kicked my ass so I’m staying in with friends and watching scary movies.
But one year I went as Siouxsie Sioux circa this era – and I must be the only person on the planet who is getting tips on her costume from a member of the actual Banshees.
My best friend Martin was in Siouxsie and the Banshees for eight years. He asked me if I wanted him to send over her broom, and recommended lots of black eyeliner “and a sharp tongue”. Which isn’t a problem for me – I used to draw spiderwebs on my face when I was 15 and my Gene Simmons-long tongue is pretty slicey.
One of the first record reviews I did was when I was 15. It was for Skinny Puppy. My nom-de-plume? Vampira. Check out the pic of me in 2008 rocking the Morticia Addams look. This pic actually so delighted Duncan Jones (director of the Sam Rockwell film Moon, and David Bowie’s son) in a comp that he sent me an enormous autographed Moon poster. Yeah, pretty goth I’d say.
And while it’d be amazingly PREDICTABLE for me to recommend a bunch of goth tracks like “Everyday is Halloween” by Ministry, “Grimly Fiendish” by the Damned or “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (my signed poster of Peter Murphy watches over me as a I type. At a gig in London, once, he performed half a song with his hand resting on top of my head) and do a Halloween playlist featuring “Thriller“, everybody and his Frankenstein monster is doing that.
(Although I do love this version of Oingo Boingo/Danny Elfman doing “Dead Man’s Party” from Weird Science, and this clip is synched to Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride, which makes it doubly spooktastic. I also adore Mike Doughty’s cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Casper The Friendly Ghost“. Hated Casper though – such a wimp.
But Hallowe’en is about having fun. Dressing up. Overdosing on chemicals and sugars. Drinking Witch’s Brew and remembering what it was like to be a kid. So, in true Backstage Rider-y spirit (see what I did there?), let’s harken back to MY childhood, shall we? I was a weird kid.
WELCOME TO MIKALA’S HALLOWE’EN PICKS:
1. …and welcome to my nightmare. Alice Cooper doing “Welcome to My Nightmare” on the Muppet Show is probably one of my favourite childhood memories. And when I met Alice Cooper in the ’90s, I shook his gloved hand and told him so. “Awww, that was a gas,” Cooper said, “Kermit was so great to work with.” Alice Cooper on The Muppet Show
2. My favourite kids book – I shit ye not – was a horrible, creepy, existentialist book by Raymond Briggs called “Fungus the Bogeyman”. It involved the plight of a Bogeyman who ate Grape Nits for breakfast, debated his entire existence in the dreariest underground world and who crawled above ground with the sole purpose – which caused him quite a bit of angst, because he was bored – of giving humans boils. It is an AMAZING book. And they adapted it into some CG kids thing. It’s not nearly as dreary as the book, but have a watch: Fungus the Bogeyman
3. In Toronto in the 70s there was an amazing lower-than-low budget “kid’s” show called Hilarious House of Frightenstein. Its opening was voiced by Vincent Price and I can still do the whole monologue verbatim. I ADORED THIS SHOW. It was by a guy called Billy Van and he starred as almost ALL the characters in short sketches. One of my faves was The Wolfman – based on the actual amazing US DJ Wolfman Jack. The Wolfman would take requests, introduce a song and then dance to some crazy psychedelic wall of graphics. Check it: here’s “Momma Told Me Not to Come” - The Wolfman on Hilarious House of Frightenstein
4. The best and in my opinion – ONLY – Hallowe’en song needed around this time o’ year is Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kicker Five’s “Monster Mash”. This version screams “Mikala’s Childhood” because it’s a cartoon version of the Groovy Goolies set to the song. It’s pure jack o’ lantern genius: Groovy Goolies doing Monster Mash
5. You guys had The Grinch at Christmas, I had Witch’s Night Out at Hallowe’en. This 1978 show made by a US company and recorded in Toronto and featuring the voices of Gilda Radner and Catherine O’Hara was a bizarre kid’s Hallowe’en special about two kids – Small and Tender – who have their wishes to become monsters granted by a Witch. It also features an amazingly named babysitter called “Bazooey” and the MOST INCREDIBLE DISCO-CREEPY SYNTH OPENING SONG ON PLANET EARTH. I still sing this walking down the street. It used to be impossible to find online so I was chuffed to dig it up. Enjoy and happy Hallowe’en kids. \m/
PS! Send in your Costumed Rockhands for the Rockhands Gallery! If you can’t do the Devil’s Horns on Hallowe’en, when can you do ‘em?
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