Saturday, October 18, 2014

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Rich Dalzotto

We're wrapping up FDTC Network week on the countdown with Rich Dalzotto.  In addition to hosting Horror Realm Radio Fridays on the network, Rich is the promoter of the Horror Realm Con in Pittsburgh. He's also heavily involved in the preservation of the historic Hollywood Theater, and you gotta love anyone who is dedicated to preserving the American movie-going tradition.  So, Rich, what does Halloween mean to you?

What does Halloween mean to me?  This is a great question considering I spend 364 days a year thinking about the Halloween holiday.  When I started to think about this I realized that it's been awhile since I reflected on why this is such an important part of my life.  It's not a simple answer such as "I like to be scared."  Of course I like being scared.  I don't know many fans of Halloween that don't.  For me the scares are just a part of something much bigger.  It's a time of memories of when everything seemed perfect. 
Growing up in Pittsburgh, I have been fortunate to experience the change of the seasons.   Despite the Fall being the decline of living things as we near Winter, I never feel more alive when taking a walk in late September or early October.  That's when you feel that first chill in the air brought in by a strong wind that has a specific smell that I can only describe as "Fall."  At 42 years old I still look forward to this experience and use it as a kick off to celebrate Halloween.
Halloween as a child shaped me as an adult. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom taking me to a local store to pick out my Halloween costume.  When I was very young my parents were working hard to build a business they started.  We weren't poor but we also had to be careful with what we spent.  But my mom recognized how much I loved Halloween and she always let me pick out whatever costume I wanted no matter what the cost and made sure I had all of the accessories needed to make it the best costume ever.  As we got closer to Halloween we would go to a local farm to pick out a pumpkin.  Once back  the house my dad would cut open the top.  My job was to scoop out the guts and separate the seeds.  After this was done my mom would begin roasting the seeds as my dad and I would figure out the design for carving our pumpkin.  Once the decision was made he would add the drawing to his papers with all of the designs we had done in years past.  To this day he still brings out these papers each year and adds new designs when one is created.  On another  night in October my Mom and I would get the Halloween decorations out and put them up.  My favorite part was hanging a cardboard skeleton on the front door.  By the time I was in High School it had been fixed with tape so many times it look more like a mummy than a skeleton.  Another highlight would be a Friday night with my dad at the local haunted house run by the Jaycees.  I was so scared sometimes that I would want to run out of there but I always acted tough because I didn't want my dad to think I was a wimp.   Of course as much fun as all of this was the only thing I could think of was Halloween night.  I had a group of friends that I trick or treated with each year and we had a neighborhood that yielded more candy than a human being should have in a lifetime.  Once the sun went down the streets would fill with hundreds of children.  I loved watching everyone else and seeing their costumes.  The chill in the air and the smell of Fall always seemed to make sure it was part of our night, adding to the pleasure.  Our parents let us run free, no supervision.  We lived in an area where fear was unknown and trust was unquestioned.  Something I miss in the same neighborhoods today.  We didn't have a specific time we had to be home.  My friends and I would usually be the last ones on the streets.  It was a mix of our desire for the night to never end and our greed for more candy that caused us to ignore the fatigue of hours of walking the hills of Pittsburgh. 
 Once home I would hand over my candy to my mom for inspection and to save me from being a total pig. While she put the candy away my dad and I would sit down in front of the TV and bond watching horror films.  Funny thing is he doesn't like these films but he knew they made me happy.  This is where my love of horror began.  My most vivid memory of Halloween movie viewing with my dad was the night we watched "Night of the Living Dead" and "Halloween."  My young mind was blown and I couldn't get enough of horror films. 
 To this day I credit my mom and dad for my love of horror.  Despite it not being their thing they provided an environment of happiness that allowed me to discover horror and as I needed to have it in my life year round they provided me the means to see the films, read the magazines and they never judged me, despite my dad having a problem with the poster of "that burned freak" on my wall.  My mom would go to the video store the morning of a new release of the latest must see film and rent it while my friends and I were at school.  She did this because she knew how devastated we would be if we had to wait even a day after it was released to rent the tape.
 Today I get to live a horror lifestyle for the most part.  I am a co-promoter of a horror convention, I helped re-open an old movie theater and get to often feature horror films, I met my girlfriend because of horror and my best friends are people I've met through horror.  All of this is a result of great Halloween experiences and a great family.  So the short answer to "What does Halloween mean to me" is Family. 

 13 days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  13 days 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock!

Friday, October 17, 2014

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Bill Cesavice

I think we can all agree that there is probably no more important individual to the FDTC Network than Bill Cesavice.  He does all of that technical wizardry that I, and no doubt most of the rest of the on air talent, have not a damn clue about.  He shares my love for a great cover tune, as evidenced by his show Your Covers Blown.  He's a hearse driver, he's one of the minds behind the mayhem of Days of the Dead, and now he can add countdown alumni to his list of hats.  Bill, what does Halloween mean to you?
"Such a good question as it can be approached by many angles, Do I go by what the traditional angle is? Or do I go by what I have created it as to my son? Or do I go by what It means to my whole family meaning my wife, my son and myself? I think I will take it all in steps.
First of all, like most in the horror community (yes YOU reading this), it’s really our Christmas. It’s the time of year where all of “decorations “are smiled at vs gawked at. We are in our element during the month of October. Why do you ask? I say it’s because when we are the ones everyone looks to see what’s cool for Halloween, we are held to a higher standard on decorations and for ideas of haunts, ideas for scares and just general morbidness. In other words the things we really do every day of the year except now we are “Jones. “  I also like the looks my hearse gets when people say I am ready for Halloween… no, son, I drive that bitch daily!
Now on to ME in general. This, like I said, is my Christmas.  The stores are filled with cool things I can bring into my home, the air is filled the smell of pumpkin, and we always put out a pumpkin and treats for “the great pumpkin “ with our son Gavin. The great pumpkin returns the favor with leaving him a present next to his pumpkin (last year was a die cast car), and he looks forward to it every year. He gets to pick what he is every year and he enjoys it as much as we do. My wife and I were married on Halloween and the entire reception area was of course decorated with bats, horror, and basically our living room. While myself and the wife have officially split this year before our 8th anniversary, we will continue to take the boy trick or treating as we have the last 8 years. 
I do have one complaint? As many who love the holiday as much as we do are upset about…it is NOT DRESS LIKE A SLUT day.  Really ? What happened to the scares, the tricks, and the coolness? Look I get it; chicks like to look good, and yes you’re dressing up, but cmonnnnn.   Just cause you’re middle age, it  does not mean you have to dress like that slutty schoolgirl….AGAIN !
I am going to keep this short but I will say this…if you love Halloween, embrace the love and keep the spirit alive for future generations as we have for our son. Long like the scare!!!"

 14 days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  14 Days 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock!

Horror Business Episode 7: The Netherspawn Speak

With Halloween, and therefore haunted attraction, season in full effect, I decided that this episode of Horror Business should be dedicated to the monsters who spend the month freaking you out.  So, I got The Netherspawn (aka the actors at my haunt home, Netherworld in Atlanta) to tell me their tales of terrifying our guests.  Enjoy.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Ed Gonzales

Today we hear from The FDTC Network's voice of the squared circle, Ed Gonzales.  Ed shares my two obsessions, horror movies and wrestling.  When he's not kicking ass in the ring, you can find him hosting Ribbin' On The Square Tuesday nights at 9pm.  So, Ed, what does Halloween mean to you?

When I was asked to write a story about what Halloween means to me, I accepted, not knowing much about what I was going to write. In the Gonzales household there is a clear cut owner of all things Halloween related, and that is my wife. She sets out the beginning of every September decorating the house and planning our annual Halloween party. Myself…as odd as it may sound am actually the “Christmas Guy” in our home. That being said…I have always been a fan of all things horror. Halloween to me as an adult seemed similar to New Year’s Eve. I can (and usually do) drink most nights of the year, why do I need to join all the amateurs on New Year’s Eve to do what I do anyway? I normally approach Halloween in the same mindset. My house seems decorated for Halloween nearly all year round, I spent over a decade dressing in costumes and pretending to be someone else 5 + days a week during my career as a professional wrestler… I was always celebrating Halloween, just on more days than October 31st.

That being said, don’t think I am downplaying Halloween, the holiday itself means quite a bit to me. One story in particular comes to mind when I think of Halloween,  that year, I didn’t have a costume, I didn’t plan on going out and getting treats from my neighbors, and I planned to spend it all alone in my bed room. The year was 1992 and I was 10 years old. Growing up, Halloween was always a big deal in the Gonzales’ house. My mother, my father, and even all of my sisters and brothers all always partook in the festivities. In years prior, I remember dressing up as my favorite pro wrestlers, but this year, it just wasn’t in the cards.

You see, that year I spent a good portion in and out of hospital beds. I spent most of the early part of 1992 getting various surgeries to fix a botched appendix removal. By late October of that year, I was finally sent home for an another attempt to recover. The gruesome detail of my healing process meant that I had to spend most of my days, bed ridden, with a giant open wound in my stomach. When Halloween approached, I had already made peace with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to spend it with my friends gorging on free candy. As my slightly older sisters got ready in their costumes I laid in bed. As my much older brother got in his costume to head to a party…I laid in bed… sulking.

As it got later, my house became more and more quiet as my siblings went out and enjoyed the holiday, every so often I would hear the door bell or knock on the door from various trick or treater’s  as my mother and aunt handed out candy. As it turned to dark, I heard my sisters arrive back home, much earlier than expected. Then there was a knock on my bedroom door. It was my sisters. They had decided, that even in my sickly state, I needed to be able to enjoy the Halloween night. I declined their offer as I didn’t have a costume. My sisters insisted and on the spot and created me a costume out of pieces of their own, a little make up, and a bandanna. What was I? I have no idea…but, I looked different enough from my normal everyday appearance for it to be considered a costume!

My sisters pushed me around the block in a wheel chair, knocking on doors for me and allowing me to be able to actually enjoy Halloween! That night, I got a pillow case full of candy, and, most importantly my first chance to be a normal kid again. I was asked to write a story about what Halloween means to me…and my response to that is, Halloween to me, means family and a chance for all of us, no matter what… a small chance at normalcy.

Happy Halloween everybody!"

15 days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  15 days 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock.

Monday, October 13, 2014

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Adolfo Dorta

Welcome to From Dusk 'Til Con week here on the countdown.  For those who don't know, The FDTC Network brings you the best horror talk, music shows, and all around badassery (including my two shows) on the web, and this week I'll be featuring some of the voices behind the mayhem.  We're gonna start off with Adolfo.  He was the first person in the Days of the Dead/FDTC camp that I met.  I will always have DOTD's back because they treat street level horror media with the most respect of anyone I've dealt with in  the horror business.  Hell, they were the first people to accept SOC as a legitimate press outlet.  Some true for the fans/by the fans shit. Adolfo also has two shows on FDTC, Punk 'N Destroy (a punk rock music show) Wednesdays at 7 and Set The Dial (music talk with him and Scary Carrie) at 9pm on Mondays.  Hey, that's right before my show.  Hey, that's tonight! Quick, Adolfo, tell us what Halloween means to you so we can all head over to the network (LINK for your comp and LINK for your phone) and tune in...

"Growing up in Miami, FL - a region where the yearly cycle of seasons goes something like "Hot," "Hot As Fuck", "Less Hot", and "Managable...For a Week or Two" - my aesthetic concept of Halloween was much different than the one presented in so many horror movies I grew up watching, with palm trees, a sweltering climate, and the smell of a salty ocean breeze taking the place of pumpkins, crisp fall weather, and orange and brown hues. Haddonfield, it wasnt.

Nevertheless, Halloween maintained itself as my favorite holiday growing up if for no other reason than being that one day a year when I could be something more fantastic than I was any other day of the year. Be it a fiend or monster, super hero or villain, fear inducing or awe inspiring, an alter ego could be assumed which was limited only by one's own imagination. For one night a year, it was totally acceptable for me to be someone more than I was, to be as freakish, as bizarre, as downright outside the box as the mundane world told me I couldnt be the other 364 days on the calendar. It was a chance to gleefully embrace all things dark and monstrous without stigma.

As I've grown older, I've learned that I don't require anyone's permission to be exactly as I want to be and now openly represent the monster kid culture I grew up loving, despite my mother's worry that a penchant for all things spooky and macabre would result in her little boy growing up to be some sort of socially maladjusted weirdo (well....some of that may be true, though I certainly wouldn't blame my love for horror on it). Nowadays, Halloween has become the holiday where I curiously observe as everyone else celebrates the kind of marvelously devilish delights I indulge in on a daily basis. For those such as myself, for whom every day is Halloween, October is now the time where we let the rest of you enjoy a taste of what the rest of us appreciate year round. And we're more than happy to let you borrow our subculture for a brief time each year, just please stop it with these ridiculously tacky "sexy" costumes ("sexy Michael Meyers? Really?).

We all have something a little monstrous inside us - some more than others. And while most choose to keep the beast locked away for all but one holiday a year, a few of us were born to dance in the darkness year round. For myself, and those cut from the same cloth, Halloween is who we are down to our blood, marrow, and sinews, and all those October 31sts growing up where dress rehearsals for the fiends we would one day grow to become"

 18 days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  18 days 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What Halloween Means To Me '14: Crypt 24

Crypt 24 (if you don't get the reference, then you're not quite as cool as I thought you were) is the newest band to hit Atlanta's horror rock scene.  Taking good old fashioned blood & guts rock and roll and infusing it with a bit of punk attitude, rockabilly flavor, and a flair for the macabre, they just keep getting better and better every time I see them. They recently went into the studio to record some new tunes, so stay tuned to SOC for the low down on the release.  So guys, what does Halloween mean to you?

"Halloween is one of the last remaining seasons where both young and old have a moment in time to lose all inhibitions and become ‘someone’ else. The child in each of us still remembers the excitement of finding that ‘special’ costume, the magical change in the weather, the treasures we brought home from our neighbors and picturing in our minds the ‘monster in your closet, creature under your bed’ as the night ended all too soon!
CRYPT 24 grew up on classic horror films, Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, Vampira, Elvira, etc. All this, and more, has influenced the direction of our music.
Combining offbeat humor in our lyrics and a passion for the old black and white horror flicks, this unholy trio stirs up visions of zombies, vampire girls, werewolves and all those lovely things that go bump in the night! Playing in a horror/rock band, every day for us is Halloween! What could be better than that?"

19 days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  19 days 'til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock!

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