Tech Rap: Halloween Happenings 2019
Posted on October 22 2019
By Peter Skiera
October is a busy month for me because it is full of Halloween happenings. I attended a local horror convention where I met some interesting actors whom I will tell you about. I will also give you the scoop on our Halloween contest (hint- the prize is very special). I begin with a list of the most lucrative horror films, followed by suggested Halloween-related content to play on your Como Audio music system.
Top 10 Horror Movies
The top 10 highest grossing (no pun intended) horror films (adjusted for inflation) according to Forbes (and they know their money):
- Jaws (1975) ($1.154 billion)
- The Exorcist (1973) ($996.5 million)
- Ghostbusters (1984) ($641.3 million)
- The Sixth Sense (1999) ($518.8 million)
- Gremlins (1984) ($409.8 million)
- It (2017) ($328.9 million)
- Jaws 2 (1978) ($312.8 million)
- The Amityville Horror (1979 ($310.3 million)
- Alien (1979) ($286.4 million)
- Scary Movie (2000) ($262.5 million)
Shockingly, the original Halloween from 1978 failed to make the Top 10 (it ranked #23 at $181 million).
Internet radio, Halloween style
Check out Halloween Radio on your Como Audio music system, if you dare.
If you want to play some spooky hi-fi sounds from your Como Audio music system, there is no shortage of choices. In Internet radio mode, go to Station list > Stations > Search stations > enter “HALLOWEEN”, and select the station you wish. One station not listed is Abnormally Dead Air (128 kbps, MP3). Though not a Halloween station per se, they play Goth bands, which fits right in during Halloween (no offense to Goth devotees). To find this station: Station list > Stations > Search stations > enter “DEAD”, and select this station.
Have a Spotify Halloween
A few Spotify Halloween play list options to entertain the little ghosts and goblins.
If you are Spotify-inclined, launch the Spotify app on your smart device, select “Search”, type in “HALLOWEEN”, and select the Halloween genre. You will have more than 10 playlists to choose from, ranging from Classical Halloween to Fright Fest (soundtracks), to Headbanger Halloween. Wirelessly stream them to your Como Audio system in great sound quality at 320 kbps. There is even Scary Stories (spoken word), which includes The Raven, Frankenstein, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow among many others.
Como Audio’s 2019 Halloween Contest
The rare Como Audio Halloween Solo is not a trick, but a treat.
Playing Halloween-themed music is fun thanks to Internet radio and Spotify, but playing it on a limited edition Halloween Solo is the ultimate. The Como Audio Halloween Solo features a multi-layered, piano gloss black cabinet with custom orange-salmon colored grilles and knobs. We only made one of these, so our winner will be the only person in the world with this very special edition. All you need do is complete an entry slip and the winner will be picked at random on Halloween. The entry form also includes space for you to tell us whom you think is the scariest horror movie character of all time (just for fun). Most of the entries so far include the usual suspects…Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Jason, Frankenstein, Pennywise, etc., though we did receive one vote for “Kevin McCallister”, the young boy in Home Alone!
Well, I love that dirty Waters: Peter Skiera with John Waters.
Earlier this month, I took a long drive up to the Peabody Essex Museum to attend a John Waters appearance as part of this year’s Salem Horror Fest. Waters is not really known as a horror film Director, although some might call his films horrible. “The Prince of Puke” wore a skull and flowers jacket and spoke about his films and books, and as one would expect from Waters, sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. It was an entertaining and strange evening to say the least. I got to meet John after the show and found him very pleasant to chat with. He gladly signed my 45 RPM record of the 2015 commencement speech he gave at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. “Is this the red vinyl version?” he asked with a slight smile. I replied that I was not able to find that version, but the honest reason was I did not want to pay the $30+ it commands on eBay! I asked him about his animated appearance on The Simpsons in 1997. He said he did not write the episode and credits it for exposing him, in a manner of speaking, to children.
A couple of weeks ago, Worcester, MA played host to “Rock And Shock” as they do each October. Although it is a long hike for me, I enjoy this convention because it is on a much smaller scale than Comic Cons. That translates into smaller crowds, shorter lines, and more reasonable prices.
Adrienne King, aka “Alice”, from Friday the 13th: What about the boy?”
This year I was very excited to meet Adrienne King, who played “Alice” in the first two original Friday the 13th films. Alice had the rare distinction of surviving long enough to briefly appear in the sequel before she was killed by Jason with an ice pick to the temple. Adrienne was as nice as a person could be. She asked me if I had seen the film when it first came out, or later on. I remember the massive publicity it received when it debuted because of the violence and the surprise ending, but I did not see it until years later. In the first film, Alice shows off a sketch pad with some nice pencil drawings to the (older) Camp Manager. “You’re very talented, and very pretty”, he tells her. Today, that would have gotten him fired. Since she is an oil painter in real life, I asked her whether she did the drawings shown in the film. She told me the drawings were actually done by the film’s art director, not her. I later emailed her and asked her for a comment to include in this article: “It was 40 years exactly the day we met at Rock and Shock…. that I was pulled into the Lake as Alice by my dream Jason for that iconic scare in Friday the 13th! I think that’s a fantastic bit of trivia… when I (we) left that Camp No Be BosCo (North Bergen Boy Scouts) that morning after we prayed we got the perfect shot…it was the last bit of filming we did at Camp & since it was shot on film with 3 cameras, we really didn’t know whether we had captured the “scare”! And now, 40 years later, I would say we sure did! The scare that keeps on scaring all this time later, Peter.”
Adrienne sells some of her paintings along with Friday the 13th-themed wines (“Voorhees Vengeance”, “Camp Blush”, “Cabin A”, etc.) on her website. I am not much of an alcohol drinker, but I bought a few bottles anyway, which she was very kind enough to autograph. All of the labels feature her own paintings and the wine is made by the award winning Valley View Winery in southern Oregon.
Adrienne’s Crystal Lake Wines…raise a glass in memory of innocent Alice.
No one, but no one, wields a chain saw like “Ash Williams”.
I also met Bruce Campbell, otherwise known as “Ash” from The Evil Dead franchise, along with two of the three women from The Evil Dead (Betsy was unable to attend, but pre-autographed photos for fans). Bruce was looking quite dapper in his aviator sunglasses and sports coat, but unfortunately, he did not allow selfies, so you will have to use your imagination. However, I was still able to get his autograph. The gentleman in line in front of me brought with him several items for Bruce to sign which cost him over $300. Bruce was by far the main attraction and had the longest lines each day.
From left to right: “Linda”, “Cheryl”, and “Shelly”…the three ladies from The Evil Dead.
Help me Rhonda: Rhonda Shear kept many a young man up all night.
During the 1990’s, my Friday evenings were reserved for USA Network’s Up All Night, hosted by Rhonda Shear (there also was a Saturday night version hosted by Gilbert Gottfried). The show featured B horror movies interspersed with comedy skits and amusing commentary by the host. The only thing lower than the films’ budgets was the cut of Rhonda’s blouses (hence the show starting at midnight). For anyone who thought Rhonda was an air head, boy were they wrong. She has since gone on to become a multi-millionaire thanks to her line of intimate apparel (mostly sold on the Home Shopping Network) and her “Ahh Bra”, which quickly became the best-selling bra in the USA. I mailed her an autograph request and included a photo. About two weeks later I received the above in the mail. Thank you, Rhonda.
Hot off the press: The Child’s Play soundtrack in “blood-spatter” colored vinyl with a Chucky label.
One final noteworthy item: Waxwork recently released a 180 gram, two record, colored vinyl set of the Child’s Play soundtrack (the original 1988 movie, not the remake) just in time for Halloween. Despite the hefty $36 price tag, this release will probably sell out within a few weeks like many of their others. The record company did a very nice job with the art work and deluxe gatefold packaging. The “blood splattered” colored vinyl would look lovely spinning on your Como Audio Turntable this Halloween.
All in all, it has been a very busy but exciting month. Please be sure to enter our Halloween Solo contest before October 31 (no purchase necessary) for your chance to win this one-of-a-kind piece. The special edition Solo will be a unique way to enjoy the music, Halloween or otherwise.
Peter Skiera joined Como Audio as Vice President of Product Development in 2016 and previously worked for Tivoli Audio, Cambridge SoundWorks, B&W loudspeakers/Rotel, and also spent nearly seven years in the radio broadcast industry in New England. He makes his home in southern MA and can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org