Sunday, August 16, 2015


You can argue with all you want about which Maiden album is the best, I mean, we all have our favorites and few aren't very good, but the first album is still the one I listen to more than any other. From the opener, Prowler, to the closer, Iron Maiden, the self titled debut is a near perfect heavy metal album and the epitome of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
I snagged the cassette for four dollars I'd saved from skipping lunch in middle school. Maiden was one of the groups banned by my mother, so I had to buy it on the sly and sneak it into the house. I kept the cassette in either my stereo or walkman, with case hidden with a small stash of (ahem) illicit reading material. That's how serious a problem heavy metal was seen by my mom. She'd already banned Alice Cooper (a devout Christian) for being a sick Satanist and was convinced that I'd wind up on drugs and worshipping the Devil myself if I listened to the garbage. But like with my impending obsession with horror, I found ways around the rules and dived head long into head banging music. I mean, for all the rules I had to live by I was fairly unsupervised and I only got caught when I was careless.
My cousin had Iron Maiden posters on his wall, including the long, uncensored version of Killers, so the image of Eddie had been seared into my brain for years and after hearing a snippet of Running Free in 6th grade I knew I had to get some Maiden.
Maiden came out of Britain right at the start of punk rock and their debut has a very raw, punk feel to it, but the band disowned any notion of there being an influence. They recorded the album in thirteen days, mostly by themselves after parting ways with their producer. Debuting at Number 4 in the UK, it didn't take long for Maiden to become a world wide phenomena. (Look at some video of Maiden playing in Brazil in the last few years if you have any doubt about how huge this band is.) There's really nothing I dislike about this album, although it took me a while to really warm up to the slower, prog-like Remember Tomorrow and Strange World, but once those songs had their hooks in me, I really got into those heady sci-fi moments. Phantom of the Opera is even more proggy and the longest track on the album, but I dug the horror influence and it was a much faster song. The rest of the tracks are pure rockers; Running Free, Charlotte The Harlot, Sanctuary, Prowler, Transylvania, and Iron Maiden put to shame most rock bands' whole catalogues...and this was their debut! Never mind Piece of Mind, Number of the Beast, or Powerslave (or the rest of their stellar albums!).
There really aren't other bands out there you can compare to Maiden, even the other NWOBHM bands. Maiden are unique and irreplaceable and everything from the songs, to the album covers and t-shirts to the "face" of the band, mascot Eddie, to their longevity put them head and shoulders above their peers in nearly every respect. I saw them in Charlotte a couple of years ago with Alice Cooper and they still put on an amazing show and despite the fact that you still won't be hearing them on FM radio they played in front of a larger audience that time around than they did when they had an album in the charts. Maiden fans still care, they're still devoted, even they don't like a particular song (or singer), and it all started with a bad ass eight track (nine in the US) album with a strange zombie head banger on the cover.
Running Free
Charlotte The Harlot
The Prowler
(bonus non-album single released around Killers) Women In Uniform

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Throw up your hands and say "Hot damn!", fiends! Friday The 13th the series is now streaming on Amazon and it's free for Prime users.
The show follows Micki, Ryan, and Jack as they search for cursed objects to lock away in the vault inside their antique store. I haven't seen the show since it aired, but I stayed up to watch it premiere on October 3, 1987 and stuck with the series until its unceremonious cancellation in 1990. I was, at first, very disappointed that it had nothing to do with Jason and/or the Friday films, but I got over it pretty quick.
The show was excellent. Scary, cool, well made. Tonight I'll be sitting down to rewatch the series, which couldn't come at a better time, since I just finished binging on Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me.
Friday fans will recognize Ryan (played by John D LeMay) as the hero of Jason Goes To Hell. Jason X cameo actor and my favorite director, David Cronenberg, directed the episode Faith Healer (which sounds an awful lot like certain episodes of Supernatural and Constantine, hmmm). Long time Friday producer, Frank Mancuso Jr, also produced the series and made the decision to name the show after the films even though there's no connection.
Going through the episode list on Wikipedia is exciting, because I remember some of the episodes particularly well. If you're new to the show it was a lot of fun to watch and came at a particularly good time for basic cable TV; we had other series like War of the Worlds, Alienation, Freddy's Nightmares, Monsters, new Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and a little later, X-Files, Swamp Thing, and Twin Peaks. Add that to the late night movies and amazing programming on USA and it was a fabulous time to grow up.
Here's an episode called Wedding In Black that I recall with some fondness. Listening to that opening score brings me straight back to 11 years old, with a bowl of potato chips and a huge glass of soda, hunched over, glued to the screen. I hope you like(d) it too!

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Great news for writer/creator Jordan McCloskey's upcoming film Ghostpuncher; Gabriel Napora has come on as producer and Trevor Cornish has come on as director!

"Gabriel is the owner of Triton Films Inc. and Indian VFX company Tiyabella Visual Effect.Mr. Napora has recently produced the Martin Sheen film "Badge of Honor" and the Danny Trejo film "Juarez 2045". "Chappie", a Sony feature, was based on a short film Gabriel produced with Neill Blomkamp (Director of "District 9"). He currently has projects in progress with Paramount, Warner Brothers and Lions Gate Entertainment. Gabriel's work is known for visually striking, heavy visual effects films."

"Trevor Cornish has been a world class commercial/ short film director for the last 15 years. He has garnered international awards for his commercial work including awards at One Show, New York Advertising Awards, London International Advertising Awards, Art Directors Club France, ADCC Award Show, Bessies, Marketing Awards, Eurobestlive Awards, Art & Design Show, and he has been nominated six times for a Cannes Lions Award. Trevor has also directed two video games for EA Sports, and TV episodes for “Mayday” for National Geographic UK/Discovery Channel, and HBO/Cinemax TV series “Lingerie”.

Trevor’s short film “Roland” premiered at TIFF 2013 and has since been screened at a dozen other film festivals around the world." 

"Ghostpuncher is the story of a single father and his son who move into a house that is EXTREMELY haunted by three spirits known as The Collombelles (a mother and her two daughters who were serial killers in 1897.)
At first the ghosts are playful and harmless, but when the spirits become menacing, eventually possessing dad, the son turns to the ONLY place he can think of for help... THE INTERNET.

There he finds a desperate, down and out exorcist calling himself the "Ghostpuncher" who claims to have a gift that allows him to PUNCH ghosts and send them BACK to the netherworld. He is willing to perform this exorcism, for a price of course, but quickly discovers the ghosts in the house won't go down without a bloody fight."

Sunday, July 19, 2015


In case you missed it, this slab of horror rock from The Mangled Dead and Stranger faves Wolfmen of Mars is now available in glorious 12" vinyl and it roooocks!

Hit up Wolfmen's Bandcamp page HERE to purchase.

Check out a track from each band, if you don't already know them...
Mouth Like a Pirahana
Frankenstein Pays The Rent


Although there's no footage to see yet, the forthcoming Ghostpuncher (in preproduction) from writer/creator Jordan McCloskey, sounds super fun! A fusion of Evil Dead 2, Poltergeist, and The Frighteners.

"Ghostpuncher is the story of a single father and his son who move into a house that is EXTREMELY haunted by three spirits known as The Collombelles (a mother and her two daughters who were serial killers in 1897.)
At first the ghosts are playful and harmless, but when the spirits become menacing, eventually possessing dad, the son turns to the ONLY place he can think of for help... THE INTERNET.

There he finds a desperate, down and out exorcist calling himself the "Ghostpuncher" who claims to have a gift that allows him to PUNCH ghosts and send them BACK to the netherworld. He is willing to perform this exorcism, for a price of course, but quickly discovers the ghosts in the house won't go down without a bloody fight."

That flat out sounds like a good time! I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie. I mean, look at that poster above! And check out the theme music below;

Keep an eye out for this one, fiends and follow the movie's twitter account @GhostpuncherXL. And I'll post news and trailers as they come in!


My relationship with Lou Reed's music goes back to my freshmen year of high school with The Best of the Velvet Underground; The Words and Music of Lou Reed. Since then, Reed's music has been a longtime and important companion, up there with Alice Cooper and Black Flag.
I thought it would be hard to choose my favorite of Reed's solo albums, after all, New York, Magic and Loss, Set The Twilight Reeling, Street Hassle, and Coney Island Baby are all "essential" albums that everyone should have in their collections, but it's Berlin that I suppose I have the strongest emotional connection to. Not only do I believe it's probably Reed's strongest album (with or without the Velvets), but I discovered the album during a time that straddled two awful and destructive relationships and Berlin got me through some very long nights.
Reed's lyrics were always very influenced by literature, particularly by the works of his old college professor, Delmore Schwartz (who seems to have a heavy influence on Berlin especially), Hubert Selby Jr, and William Burroughs. Berlin is Reed's strongest literary statement, particularly since it's a rock opera. Although, a few of songs were Velvets songs and Caroline Says is a rewrite of their Stephanie Says, so it's more like a collection of songs that fit together thematically and suggest a story, but it works.
Berlin is about a doomed marriage full of drug addiction, domestic abuse, and eventually suicide. Reed had said he was also inspired by the city of Berlin (Cold War era, before the Wall came down), he loved the idea of a divided city. According to Victor Bockris's book Transformer; The Lou Reed Story, Reed had told former-Velvet Nico that he'd written Berlin for her and let her come live with him, only to treat her horribly. (To me that book is pretty suspect, I'm sure a lot of it is true, but Bockris comes across so catty and vindictive for most of the story, not even trying to hide his open hatred for Reed-fun read regardless, mostly for how nasty it is.) Berlin, seems to be set in an earlier era, which is sometimes suggested by the music more than the lyrics, but none of the songs really scream 1970s; like the opening/title track-full of disconnected voices that begin to sing Happy Birthday accompanied by a big band before fading into the actual song Berlin, a piano ballad, seems to suggest the 1930s or 40s. The closest to 70s glam rock (for which he'd been gaining new found stardom with a connection to David Bowie) Berlin ever approaches is the song How Do You Think It Feels, a song about the lows of shooting speed. The orchestral arrangements also make Berlin stand out from the rest of Reed's discography; it's the biggest, lushest, album he ever recorded. (But as a fan of his guitar playing, I can't help but wonder if Berlin wouldn't have been better served if Reed had approached it as more of a rock album.)  
I think it being an album out of time has helped Berlin age better than Transformer, which feels trapped by it's era. It was certainly panned on release and didn't sell well, only to be embraced three decades later by the same rock magazines that shat on it. It's been called the most depressing album ever recorded, which is pure hyperbole. It's also the closest Reed ever came to fulfilling his desire to write albums that were like Dosteovsky novels.
For me personally, when I found the album I was trying to break away from one girl while pursuing another that would just lead me down another path of heartbreak. Sad Song, the album closer, seemed to especially speak to directly to my situation with the first; "I'm going to stop wasting my time, someone else would have broken both of her arms..." It didn't help that I had fallen into deep depression at this time and started abusing alcohol and over the counter stimulants and hit the beginning of a six year period where I couldn't write, either. Through the next several years I found comfort in Reed's music and Berlin especially was very close to my heart. As a writer Reed probably influenced me as much as any novelist and his music was certainly a good drinking buddy.
How Do You Think It Feels
Caroline Says II
The Kids
Men of Good Fortune

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Some of you may be wondering if there's a point to all these essential album posts that have been popping up here recently and yes there is; This world sucks. I mean really, what a bunch of selfish, self-destructive, sociopaths we've got stomping around out there. Just a roving shit storm of ugly, right? So why not focus on the little things that bring us happiness and/or distraction from those assholes? At Stranger With Friction this is the summer of the essential album. Those gorgeous aural gems that raise our spirits when we just want to set things on fire.
Yesterday we saw the first guest post (ever?) from Chris Cavoretto, the mastermind behind Stranger favorite Werewolves In Siberia (check out his music HERE), as he tackled Misfits Collection I. It's funny, I had a very similar reaction the first time I heard the rawness of that album. After listening to The Damned, The Sex Pistols, and The Clash, Misfits sounded kinda awful, until the third song when my ears started to acclimate and from then on there was no looking back.
There are more guests coming over the summer and I'm going to keep posting a few more from own schizo collection, but I've got some new horror movie pieces coming too. Yea, I haven't been posting a ton lately, because I've been busy with a couple of books and I've been writing for Pop Shifter on the side.
I hope you fiends enjoy our summer series and you find some new music to love or at least get inspired to back to something you haven't listened to in a while!  
Werewolves In Siberia...Night Of The Flesheaters