Oct
8

Afterhell Goes to the Bazaar!

Portland Halloween BazaarWe will be vending at the third annual Portland Hallowe’en Bazaar this Sunday, October 10, from noon to 6pm.  This grand celebration of all things delightfully spooky will be at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland.  It’s in a giant tent, so you don’t have to worry about rain!

Crafters and entertainers from all over the region will be there, giving you the opportunity buy handcrafted Halloween goodies you won’t find anywhere else and definitely not at the chain stores!  All ages are welcome.

We will have “Afterhell” CDs for sale, as well as discs from our friends at the Willamette Radio Workshop and Transdimensional Media (including a brand new release!)  We’ll also have Mexican-style sugar skulls to help you celebrate Dia de los Muertos, and spooky jewelry from the House of Sailbourne!

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Written: Oct 8, 2010
Oct
31

Hometown Halloween History

Busy as all get-out on this trick-or-treat-a-geddon, but I wanted to pass this on to my two best pals, all and sundry.

75 years ago tonight, in my hometown of San Jose, a couple of merry pranksters pulled off a Halloween prank that made local history.  They loaded a charge into an old howitzer in St James Park, fired it, and blew out the windows of the old county courthouse across the street.  Their identities have been a mystery.

Until now:  Halloween prankster outed 75 years later

Ironically San Jose and much of the Bay Area is recovering from the first major earthquake (and aftershocks) since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake.

Halloween karma is a funky thing.  Everyone have fun… and come home safe.

Update:  Since the Murky News is being a stick in the mud about registration….

Halloween prankster outed 75 years later
By Scott Herhold
Mercury News
Article Launched: 10/31/2007 06:13:27 AM PDT

Beneath the statue of William McKinley in San Jose’s St. James Park, aimed at the old Santa Clara County courthouse, sits a 12-pound bronze cannon, a U.S. Navy howitzer cast in 1870.

To ensure it won’t be fired, the barrel of the cannon was filled long ago with concrete. And thereby hangs one of the more intriguing Halloween stories in San Jose history.

On Halloween 1932, a trio of youths exploded a charge in the cannon, breaking the windows of the courthouse across First Street and toppling the gun from its mounts.

For three-quarters of a century, the identities of the Halloween artillerymen have been closely guarded secrets. But thanks to a revelation from a San Jose historian, as well as some sleuthing, I can identify one and point to another.

The story really begins more than a century ago, on May 13, 1901, when then-President McKinley visited San Jose, four months before his assassination in Buffalo, N.Y.

After the Republican president was killed, San Joseans built a granite-and-bronze statue in his honor at a cost of $13,000, the equivalent of almost $300,000 today. Presumably to emphasize McKinley’s muscular foreign policy, the side facing the courthouse featured the 12-pound cannon.

Three decades later, the Halloween pranksters weren’t thinking of the record of the nation’s 25th president. If the story is right, it all had to do with a bet.

My source on the matter was historian and Superior Court Judge Paul Bernal, who during a recent courthouse tour identified one conspirator as Larry Zetterquist (1914-71), a San Jose bartender who had a reputation as a raconteur and ladies’ man.

To check it out, I called Zetterquist’s nephew, Jim Zetterquist, a member of the Preservation Action Council and a San Jose history buff, too. He filled in some of the blanks.

Larry Zetterquist came from a large San Jose family that lived on Anita Street, a long-gone street near the Guadalupe River. His father was a Swedish immigrant and his mother was distantly related to Tiburcio Vasquez, the famous bandit who was hanged in San Jose in 1875.

In the fall of 1932, Zetterquist was an 18-year-old high school dropout. As the story goes, he and his friends had a job blowing up tree stumps. Somehow, they fell to speculating about whether the explosive they used could fracture the then-unplugged McKinley cannon.

The story goes that the youths decided to test the matter. On Halloween night, the three stuffed explosives into the cannon and lit the charge. Shocked when it blew out windows in the courthouse, some 35 yards away, they “hightailed it out of there,” Jim Zetterquist said.

Exactly how many windows were broken has been lost to history. (The courthouse, deftly remodeled after a 1931 fire, has 20 that face the park.) A newspaper story the next day said there were “several.” The windows were made of expensive French plate glass, framed by cast iron.

Meanwhile, the force of the blast hurled the cannon from its bronze mounts. While police briefly held two men at the scene, they never found the real culprits.

Jim says he got the story from his father, Herman, a straight-arrow who was close to his older, more renegade brother. Both were superb athletes, although Larry suffered a teenage hip injury that effectively ended his athletic ambitions. “He was definitely a character,” Jim Zetterquist says.

Who were his co-conspirators? Here I’ll confess to being on soggier ground. Jim Zetterquist told me that one of the teens with Larry on Halloween also allegedly played a role in the Nov. 26, 1933, lynching of Jack Holmes and Harold Thurmond, the two men who had been accused of kidnapping and killing department store heir Brooke Hart.

According to the story Jim Zetterquist heard from his father, this youth contributed to the lynching by returning to his family ranch and grabbing the rope. That description seems to fit one man: Anthony Cataldi, a then-18-year-old who was the only one of the lynching party to boast about it publicly, giving an interview to United Press about how he got the rope.

Cataldi later disavowed that statement, but he was identified as one of the lynchers in Harry Farrell’s book on the case, “Swift Justice.”

I called Cataldi’s 80-year-old sister in Sacramento. She told me she had never heard of Zetterquist or the broken windows. She was only 5 at the time of the courthouse caper. But it’s fair to acknowledge that the identification of Cataldi in the Halloween blast is hearsay upon hearsay.

We know this: Standard justice was shattered on the night when Holmes and Thurmond were lynched. What makes for an intriguing footnote – a clue in concrete – is that the shattering had a more innocent and literal precursor on Halloween a year before. Chalk it up to the ghosts of William McKinley.

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Written: Oct 31, 2007
Oct
29

References in “Shaun of the Dead”

Chattling online with friends a few weeks ago, the topic of horror films came up.   One of the few modern ones that we all agreed on was “Shaun of the Dead.”   People who normally don’t like gore flicks, like everyone else in the chat room that night, glommed onto this one.
Naturally I was the only one to get half of the references to other horror flicks.  Partly for laughs, I offered to write up a list so everyone else didn’t have to watch the other films and risk getting sick.  And then curiosity became growing interest.

Besides, I wanted to do a Halloween kind of blog entry anyway.

Disclaimer a la mode:  This is just a compilation, probably not a complete one at that.  I make no claims on the data beyond my fairly reasonable certainty about accuracy.  I tried to double- and triple-source where I could.   If I couldn’t find something else to support it, I left it out to be safe.

My key sources were the audio commentaries on the Shaun of the Dead DVD, the Internet Movie Database, the Easter Egg Archive, and good ol’ Wikipedia.

I did my best to put this into order of appearance in the film.  I figured fans tend to fall down when you don’t put things in chronological order. (Incidentally, sorry if it’s messy or rushed. I twisted my ankle the other night, so I’m hobbling all over the place trying to get things done.)

* The music playing over the company logos is library music selected for the airport scenes in the original Dawn of the Dead.

* The ska number playing as we first see Shaun (Simon Pegg) is “Ghost Town” by the Specials.

* The title sequence, intentionally or not, touches on a recurring theme in George Romero‘s Living Dead movies, of the working classes reduced to a mindless automated state.

* Shaun’s lumbering, half-awake entrance after the titles is a nod to the final scene in “Day of the Dead.”

* The game that Ed and Shaun are playing is “Timesplitters2.”

* The game voice announcing incoming/outgoing players is actually that of Peter Serafinowicz (Pete).

* Gratutious fanboy trivia (what, like the rest of it isn’t?):  Peter Serafinowicz is more widely known as the voice of Darth Maul.

* The shock-cut montages are reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead movies.

* On his way to the corner shop in the morning, Shaun walks by a road sweeper.  Its radio is tuned to a news bulletin about the Omega-6 space probe exploding in the atmosphere.  This is one of the theories offered in “Night of the Living Dead.”

* Bub’s Pizzas, next door to the corner shop, is named after the trainable zombie in “Day of the Dead.”

* Foree Electronics is named for Ken Foree, one of the actors in the original “Dawn of the Dead” (1978).

* The music heard while Shaun is taking the bus to work is “Kernkraft 400” by Zombie Nation.

* Shaun tells his co-workers that Ash isn’t coming in, a reference to Bruce Campbell‘s role in the Evil Dead movies.

* Director Edgar Wright took inspiration from the 1978 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” especially for strange business going in the background of an otherwise normal scene.

* Fulci’s Restaurant is named for Italian horror director Lucio Fulci, best known for his own zombie movies.

* When Shaun leaves the bloodied corner shop, the news report on the radio is apparently saying in Hindi either “The dead are coming back to life,” or “People are waking up from their graves.”

* Mary, the first zombie to attack Shaun, worked at the Landis Supermarket, a nod to director John Landis.

* A poster for the controversial Japanese film of “Battle Royale” can be seen while Ed and Shaun fend off the one-armed zombie.

* Of course the TV reporter’s advice for would-be zombie slayers is taken from “Night of the Living Dead”.

* Ed’s line “We’re coming to get you, Barbara!” echoes a line from “Night of the Living Dead.”  Ironically George Romero himself didn’t get the reference.

* The music under the montages for Shaun’s plans is “Zombi” by Goblin, composed for the original Dawn of the Dead.

* Shaun tells Ed not to say “the zed word.”  In fact most, if any, zombie movies don’t.  This is also considered a nod to director Danny Boyle, who pointed out “28 Days Later” is not a zombie movie.  (If you say so, Danny boy….)

* Shaun’s muttering of “Join us” touches back on the undead creatures in the Evil Dead movies.

* One of the flower prints in Liz’s apartment was done by Fred Deakin from Airside and Lemon Jelly.  He also designed the “Battle Royale” poster in Shaun’s flat.

* Shaun’s jump from a trampoline is often compared to the final scene of “Army of Darkness.”

* The pool cue battle is often compared to the surreal scenes of gang violence in Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange.”

* David’s death scene closely resembles the death of an antagonist in “Day of the Dead.”

* The characters’ retreat into the basement calls back to “Night of the Living Dead.”

* An elevator platform figures prominently in the film’s climax and that of “Day of the Dead.”

* Co-writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright compared several scenes to “Doctor Who,” especially the soldiers’ charge and attack in the climax.  “Doctor Who” was also shot at Ealing Studios, the same as this film.

* The interrupted news item about infected monkeys is a dig at Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later.”  Director Edgar Wright did the voice work for the segment.

* The music at the very end of the credits is “The Gonk,”  written by Herbert Chappell for the DeWolfe Music Library.  That track was used as Muzak for a zombie-infested mall in the original “Dawn of the Dead.”

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Written: Oct 29, 2005